Review Summary: Another solid addition to one of the most consistent discographies of the genreOxnard, California producer Oh No has spent most of his career in the shadow of older brother Otis Jackson (aka Madlib), which is unfortunate; his discography has been equally as consistent, if not as profound. Ohnomite is no exception as one of the most impressive pure producer records since Black Milk's 2008 genre statement in Tronic. The younger Jackson takes cues from Black, but also infuses a lot of east coast techniques with his own brand of west coast funk.
The true hip-hop underground can be a prickly place for anyone who doesn't subscribe to the genre in full, so lighthearted “fun” within the genre, while not entirely absent, can be hard to identify for the outsiders. Pull up your hoodie and enjoy your pop-rap and Pack in the darkest of corners seems the attitude, and while Ohnomite is as far from pop-rap as every release that comes from the house of Stones Throw, the underground label's sub-imprint Five Day Weekend might as well be the subtitle to this nasty ball of fun. Make that nasty, nasty, nasty ball of fun as producer/rapper Oh No -- the underground king of chaos, as in he truly is in control of chaos -- was granted access to Rudy Ray Moore's Dolemite soundtracks.
While Oh No hasn’t released a solo project in over two years, by no means has he been abandoning his craft behind the sound board. Instead, he’s quickly whipped up an impressive catalog alongside The Alchemist as Gangrene, and with it has come a new phase for the Oxnard, California producer/rapper. Returning to his dolo roots, Oh No tackles OhNoMite, an album that gives an admiring nod to blaxploitation character Dolemite.
Excellent theme albums (and working with DOOM) seem to run in the family of producer/MC Oh No (AKA Michael Jackson(seriously)). His older brother Otis Jackson Jr. is better known as Madlib, whose 2004 collaboration with DOOM, Madvillainy, is one of the best rap LPs of the last fifteen years. And now it’s Oh No’s turn, the younger Jackson given the opportunity to dig through the archives of Dolemite blaxpoitation mastermind Rudy Ray Moore, creating the beats that wound up becoming Ohnomite.
Rudy Ray Moore died in 2008. For many, that name might not ring a bell. The comedian/musician/actor/producer was best known for his role as a pimp in the 1975 blaxploitation feature film Dolemite, for which he also wrote the funky soundtrack. For those who don’t know of him or the movie, picture Shaft or the more recent blaxploitation spoof Black Dynamite.
While not exactly a concept album, Oxnard beat conductor Oh No's latest long player, Ohnomite, for which the adventurous producer was granted full reign over the Dolemite sound catalogue, is chock-full of the type of imagery you'd likely find in Rudy Ray Moore's classic Blaxploitation pimp tale. Of course, much of hip-hop has long been fixated on pimp tales and cartoonish crime-foolery, and the lyrical contributions of names ranging from Evidence, Guilty Simpson and MED to yesteryear rappers Sticky Fingaz and Erick Sermon are, for the most part, marginally creative and largely forgettable. Fortunately, Oh No's beats run gritty, grainy and hard from start to finish, with tough rhythms and an expansive array of aggressive sonics darting in and out of each cut, adding much expressive flair to the beatsmith's heartbeat-raising, all-business attacks.