Some producers are so exquisitely talented, basically they have to give themselves a handicap to embark on a new endeavor. Such is the case with the brothers Jackson of Oxnard. Madlib and his younger brother Oh No essentially top the pantheon when it comes to underground beatmaking. While Madlib has challenged himself on some projects by locking himself in a particular-record vault–on (Shades Of Blue and Beat Konducta In India)–he generally prefers the alter ego route. Likewise, outside of Oh No’s debut (The Disrupt), all of his solo projects have seen him tie one hand behind his back to attack the boards (Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms was strictly Galt McDermott, Dr. No’s Oxperiment featured music only from select Mediterranean countries and Ethiopium consisted of only Ethiopian samples).
After a few Gangrene/Greneberg projects, Doc No was given the keys to Rudy Ray Moore’s foul-mouthed body of work for his latest limiter. The guestlist is every bit as eclectic as it is impressive; cameos range from the highly-anticipated (DOOM, Evidence, Guilty Simpson) to the unexpected (Phife Dawg, Erick Sermon, Sticky Fingaz).
There are a handful of standout cuts on this offering, but there’s something a bit one-note in the Dolemite catalogue that stunts the album’s overall quality level. The DOOM cut is nice (“3 Dollars”) but we’ve heard more John Blaze from the Villain. “Whoop Ass” featuring Sticky Fingaz may be the most complete cut with the funk-drenched “You Don’t Know Me” (featuring Phil Da Agony & Big Pooh) a close second. Hearing Erick Sermon on a track will give more than one listener a kush flashback and the interludes break up the album well.
Oh No is certainly a capable lyricist but the tracks on Ohnomite tend to work best when he lets his guest artist take the foreground. “Dues N’ Don’ts” is a prime example, as the song basks in Phife Dawg’s glow. A robust tracklist (21, including 2 bonus jawns) generally divides listeners into two schools of thought. The unjaded fan will relish many of the features and overlook the less impressive cuts while the more weathered listener may wish Oh No had chosen the more economic route.
- M.F. DiBella