Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Michael K. Williams made you an Omar mixtape, sort of

Like many an actor, Michael K. Williams looks for ways to really get inside the heads of his characters, whether that means putting himself in the milieu of drug-fueled Baltimore by actually going on cocaine binges, or, less expensively, compiling a music playlist. As Williams tells Vulture, "Music is always a part of my characters’ make-up," meaning he's constantly putting together a personal soundtrack that he'll listen to on a constant loop between takes to maintain his character's mood. Naturally, Williams shared the tunes that he personally selected to keep him in the mindset of The Wire's Omar, and somehow, it's not just Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" over and over, even though obviously that song says everything. Instead it's a mix of Nas (a constant presence on all of Williams' playlists, he says) and a tense '90s-beefing back-and-forth between 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G., with some Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige, and Meshell Ndegeocello thrown in to evoke Omar's softer side. The entire list is below, and Vulture was even thoughtful enough to put it all up on Spotify, in case you need your own motivation to be an uncompromising robber of drug dealers, or possibly just play one on TV.

  • 2pac, “Unconditional Love”
  • Nas, “Let There be Light”
  • Young Jeezy, “Dreamin’”
  • Mary J. Blige, “My Life”
  • Lauryn Hill, “Oh Jerusalem”
  • Jay-Z, “You Must Love Me”
  • 2pac, “So Many Tears”
  • Biggie Smalls “Suicidal Thoughts”
  • Young Jeezy "Bury me a G"
  • Jay-Z, “Oh My God”
  • Biggie Smalls, “Who Shot Ya”
  • 2pac, “Against All Odds”
  • Biggie Smalls, “Everyday Struggle”
  • Nas, “One Mic”
  • Lauryn Hill, “War in the Mind”
  • Common, “It’s Your World”
  • Lauryn Hill, “Mystery of Iniquity”
  • Meshell Ndegeocello, “Akel Dama (Field of Blood)”
  • Lauryn Hill, “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind”
  • 2pac, “Dear Mama”
  • Sun Tan "Sunscreen"

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