Hip Hop can be quite a subjective genre. It means a lot of different thing to many different people, and it has a multitude of genres within the catch all of Hip Hop.
For me it’s never been about the money crazy Hip Pop that dominates the charts and mid range clubs. I’ve always veered to the three elements concept and the more independent side of the scene; through the mid 90’s to the early 2000’s, my preference was for artists such as D.I.T.C, Gangstarr, latterly J5 and the whole San Fran scene that dominated hip Hop around 98-2000 – the so called Golden Era of early to late 90's I suppose. As most hip hop people will tell you there was just a sound and attitude in the music that was different. Yes people went on to do other more commercial stuff but that period of time will always for me be the bench mark.
Sadly in these times I find that it’s quite hard to find really good independent hip hop, not impossible, but with the rate music changes and the deluge of self released music out there it’s very difficult for an artist to break through and catch your attention. Occasionally though someone does, and Ohmega Watts is one who really caught my ear back in 2005 with his track “Illuminate” and his “The Find” LP.
As far as I can tell he’s only released a few things as an MC, comparatively speaking, and nothing for a while – last release was 2009 and his webpage doesn’t even work anymore. He’s been a bit more prolific as a producer working for Mars Ill and Listener , he’s also worked as part of the Lightheaded collective (fans of Quannam will recognise). But in 2007 he released his second album “Watts Happening” on the mighty ubiquity records which I think is an album right up there with the best of the best.
It would take too long to go through the whole album track by track as it’s a lengthy piece of work, but essentially it’s classic style MPC based jazzy feeling Hip Hop beats with a nice relaxed MC using positive Lyrics – a real bug bear of mine is MC’s who shout. The track that really jumps out at me though is No Delay feat Surreal of the Sound.
The track in itself is a great example of what i really love about hip hop, it doesn't veer to far from the path, but Ohmegas personality and clean delivery really make the track swing over a lovely melody on the Rhodes. If you take some time to listen to what he's saying it's fantastically positive and a great example of how good MC's can be without swearing. It reminds me a hell of a lot of Mos Def and the Unspoken Heard both of whom if you don't know you should.
It's just got a genuine positive vibe to it, and for that alone i decided i was going to blog it.
And with that I’ll leave you to listen.
Playlist Friday 24 February 2012
Every now and then I get a hankering for a complete change of listening, and followers of the blog will know I’ve mainly covered deep house or electronic. I’ve always been a huge Hip Hop fan, and this morning I decided to change all the music on my player and go the Hip Hop route for my morning listen.
I feel there is only one way to start any hip hop playlist and that is with a track off A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders LP – probably THE greatest Hip Hop album of all time. So I jumped right in at the end and listened to The Chase part II, next Up was Odissee and Claim to Fame followed by KMD's F@!k wit your head. Letting shuffle do its thing it jumped to Gangstarrs “DJ Premier is in Deep Concentration” followed by Pete Rock's "Till I Retire" and Ohmega Watts "No Delay", and to finish things in I jive walked the final few steps in with the sounds of Gangstarrs "Incredible" ringing in my ears.
Now if that isn’t a great playlist I don’t know what is.
Playlist: ATCQ – The Chase pt II,, Odissee – Claim to Fame, KMD – F@!k wit your Head, Gangstarr – DJ premier is in Deep Concentration, Peter Rock – Till I Retire, Ohmega Watts – No Delay feat Surreal of the Sound,