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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Ohmega Watts
The Find
Ubiquity Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


January 3, 2006
Maybe it's easy to feel good about Ohmega Watts because he's hooked up with trendy record label Ubiquity, which boasts all-stars like Breakestra, Quantic, Greyboy, and Platinum Pied Pipers. Maybe Ohmega Watts' style is preconceived as vacuum tight hip-hop because of the fashionable, neat-looking artwork for his new album, The Find. Maybe critics offer up comparisons to Pete Rock, Eric B & Rakim, and Digital Underground because they happened to read his bio and didn't bother to listen much deeper than the first few songs. Maybe, yes, because it's all possible.

As the myriad of hip-hop types increase, it is more likely that styles will bleed into one another and fewer artists will get a fair and objective critical shake. Right now it is possible for some listeners to feel as if rookies like Ohmega Watts are part of one big pile-on effort. To differentiate within such a formula-driven genre it comes down to specifics - what kind of samples were used, what exactly are the MCs saying, has it been said already in any form, do they reinvent their own style...and so on. For the MC/producer Watts it comes down to the striated inner grooves of sophisticate hip-hop and new school, soul-tinged samples. The closest groups that come to mind under these descriptions would be Jurassic 5 and Digable Planets, but, upon closer inspection, even the parallels between those groups and Watts fall away.

Ohmega Watts' beats and melodies are slick, with characteristic instrumentation coming from old Rhodes pianos, tight-lipped breakbeat-style percussion, and wah-wah sustained electric guitar. The sound floats whiffs of lounge, underground indie hip-hop (look out you soul samplers), and an itty bitty bit of dub and Neo Soul here and there. The overall air is energetic, hooky, smart, and self-fulfilling, and Watts plows ahead undeterred, doing his high-powered soulful hip-hop thing whether you are with him or not.

As much as Watt's momentum builds it up, his single-minded battering ram mentality is also a pitfall of The Find. Sometimes the hotness slows down, the beats become run-of-the-mill in relativity to those of earlier tracks, and the vocal melodies and rhymes go stale. As far as song variety goes, the album is not the greatest. Most of the material is situated in a slower tempo bracket, fitting Ohmega's cadence well but not offering the listener much room to explore this MCs other moods. The production is far more sophisticated than average hip-hop albums and the beats are nice and catchy but not overly noticeable.

There isn't a track on this album that will lead a hot bootleg mixtape this winter, but in five years when people are looking for undiscovered good music and recalling the savvy hip-hop of the early 2000s, there's a chance that The Find will be leading the charge.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger

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