This article is a companion piece of sorts to to yesterdays story about the day I hung out with Rudy Ray Moore a.k.a Dolemite!
Oh No is a producer that I’ve been a fan of for a long time, but that intrigue has been mostly on autopilot. What I mean is that I never actively seek out his work and I have never really read any info about him (interviews, etc…). The process has basically been that he drops a project and when/if I happen across it, I tend to be impressed with his work and think to myself, “This Oh No dude is dope...” I’m not sure why I’ve been a fan at distance, but a listening experience the other day has appropriately changed that. While riding around with the “Dr. No’s Kali Tornado Funk” up as loud as my factory stereo system would allow it to sound enjoyable, something clicked in my brain that told me I needed to up my fan level status. First off, I am planning to dig out my Oh No CDs/LPs this weekend for a follow up listening, as well as make an effort to fill in the blanks in my collection with his other work.
“Dr. No’s Kali Tornado Funk” is an impressive production record. Note that I say “Production” and not “Instrumental” record. Some of the composing on this album, with the creative usage of vocal samples and hooks makes it stand out more than just a set of instrumentals. Truth be told, I didn’t immediately recognize “Tornado Funk” as a musical accompaniment to his “Ohnomite” album released just a few months ago.
“Ohnomite” is 21 tracks of digging deep into the Rudy Ray More a.k.a Dolemite archives and allowing Oh No to work his conceptual production magic. The album features an impressive list of guest artists MF Doom, Evidence, Sticky Fingaz of Onyx, Erick Sermon, Chino XL, Termanology, Frank Nitt, Phife Dawg, Rapper Pooh, Guilty Simpson and many others.
I knew that “Dr No’s Kali Tornado Funk” was also produced based on the same Dolemite archives, but didn’t realize how closely the two records were related. “Tornado Funk” contains instrumental version of some of the best beats on “Ohnomite”, sometimes with tweaks or a twist. However, “Tornado Funk” is far more than that. Chock full with 36 tracks, most clocking in under two minutes, it is overall more effective in driving the Rudy Ray Moore concept home. Oh No proves that even though a star-studded MC roll call on a record might be enticing from a marketing concept, he doesn’t really need it for the end result to be maximized. Listening to “Ohnomite” gives you what you have grown to expect from the chosen MCs, but “Tornado Funk” shines perfectly on its own, even brighter in my opinion.
Oh No has continually proven himself as a master of the production theme album. “Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms” pulls all its sound sources from the Galt MacDermot catalog. “Dr. No’s Oxperiment”, as the press release says, is “inspired-by and sampled-from Turkish, Lebanese, Italian, and Greek psychedelic rock.” “Dr. No’s Ethiopium” explores mutli-genres of 60s and 70s music from Ethiopia. He also has a couple “VS” series projects with Percee P and the Now Again Records catalog. Plus he has recently been focused on his collaborative Production/MC project with Alchemist, Gangrene. The diversity of his source material reflects his musical passion and keeps each project sounding refreshing.
“Dr. No’s Kali Tornado Funk” sat on my desk for a couple weeks, as I waited for the perfect the moment to check it out. I finally decided I was in the appropriate mood for what I expected to hear. I was just three songs in before I was wishing I hadn’t postponed it so long. I could envision all the choice times this would have been perfect riding material. Besides the excellent musicality and sample work, this album also sounds sonically great. Often the drums are tuned to perfection with layered sounds, giving them a unique resonance and substantial knock-power. Oh No’s style, aided by the soulful backbone of Rudy Ray Moore’s work, gives this album some universal listening appeal…mostly. If I had one critique it would be that the scattered skits on the record with Dolemite’s XXX obsessions and profane determination is certain to turn some people off. If it weren’t for those moments I would strongly suggest this as something to ride around with your kids to, play at the next family get together, or any comparable function, but that would not be advisable based on some of the language contained within. Of course, I understand those elements are a proper representation of the Rudy Ray Moore legacy, so it’s not without merit, but it does impose some possible limitations.
“Tornado Funk”, with it short strong songs approach has left me hungry for more Oh No production projects and has convinced me to pay closer attention to his movement. Which musical journey shall the mind of Oh No takes us upon next…
Oh No & MF Doom "3 Dollar" 5" Inch Record (Nope, that isn't a typo...this is a lil 5" record on the limited tip...)
Gangrene (Choose from "Saw Blade" Vinyl, "Gutter Water' LP, Vodka & Ayahuasca CD Or LP, Greneberg Vinyl Picture Disc w/Roc
Marciano, or The Odditorium EP Vinyl Picture Disc!!
Written By Kevin Beacham