Oxnard, CA beatsmith/MC Oh No may not be quite as insanely prolific as his older brother Madlib, but he is every bit as restlessly inventive. Previous albums have taken their inspiration from Canadian composer Galt MacDermot (Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms), psychedelic rock from Turkey, Lebanon, Greece and Italy (Dr. No’s Oxperiment), and rare funk, jazz, folk and rock from Ethiopia (Dr. No’s Ethiopium).
For Ohnomite – out this week via Five Day Weekend/Brick Records — Oh No was given unprecedented and unfettered access to the audio archives of legendary (and legendarily filthy) comedian/musician/actor/proto-rapper Rudy Ray Moore, best known as the titular character in the 1975 “Blaxploitation” classic Dolemite. Drawing from that film’s classic soundtrack as well as the 1976 sequel The Human Tornado, 1977’s Petey Wheatstraw and much more including a treasure trove of previously unreleased instrumentals and a capellas, Oh No has crafted an album that harkens back to the golden age of sample-based production, full of elastic funk, hard-hitting drums, soulful horns, and hilarious vocal snippets.
This is no mere sonic homage or exercise in nostalgia though. Like the LPs with which Moore made his name in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, Ohnomite is a bonafide party record. Most of the lyrical duties are handled by a bevy of guests including MF Doom, Evidence, Phife Dawg, Erick Sermon, Sticky Fingaz, Rapper Pooh, and Guilty Simpson, and their brainy lyricism and constant passing of the mic gives the proceedings the feel of an old school cypher. It’s a fitting tribute to a man that helped invent the art of rhyme.
Stream the first single “3 Dollars [ft. MF Doom]” via Pitchfork.