Oh No


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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. Here, he has crafted them into something startlingly new, although that '70s spirit of pimp-hand-up-top, bell-bottoms-down-below is intact the whole way. If his other 2012 project, Gangrene, was the psychedelic side of the era, this one is propelled by a crate crawler's love of that easy yet meaty soundtrack funk, best displayed by its two key cuts. “Whoop Ass” jumps out of some oversized Monte Carlo with Oh No and Sticky Fingaz throwing karate chops at no particular target (“I'm from the spot where the air meets the reefer/Affairs get steeper, and Air Force sneakers”) just because it feels so good. “3 Dollars” is a sharp blast of off-kilter with MF DOOM in top form, mentioning that Oh No's beat is like “go-go and puffed rice/except there ain't no pork and beans up in the buffet” before honoring the album's inspiration with “It don't match the décor, the doody-stained drawers/Give a round of applause for Rudy Rae Moore!” The catch here is that Dolemite really is an inspiration and not the subject of the album, and anyone looking for a brown paper bag mash-up of the man's old party records and soundtracks might be disappointed that Oh No aspired to do much more. This is a worthwhile celebration of -- and hang-out session in -- the underbelly of nostalgia, with choice names like Guilty Simpson, Frank Nitt, Phife Dawg, and Erick Sermon providing the new angles and weird insights. To quote the Mite himself, Ohnomite won't “whoop on yo ass till it sing the Star Spangled Banner,” but it will put you in the mindset where saying something like that seems sensible, and you don't have to trade a lick of credibility to enter this house of abstract ill repute.

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