Talent Is the Star on Watts' Happening

Artist:  Ohmega Watts
Title:  Watts Happening
Label:  Ubiquity

While on hiatus from Portland, Ore., hip-hop trio Lightheaded ,producer/MC Ohmega Watts released his solo debut, The Find, in 2005 to rabid critical response. In the face of weighty comparisons to hip-hop legend DJ Pete Rock, Watts has responded with an adventure in classic New York hip-hop, international music and wild imagination.

Since he is a talented, visionary producer at heart, Watts is as adept at rugged, sing-song boom-bap (“Roc the Bells,” featuring Lightheaded) as he is at hyper-trippy, breakbeat instrumentals (“Freak Out”). With his modern day “Rakimmeets-Kool-Moe-Dee” flow, Watts offers unguarded insights, and godly, everyman wisdom throughout, including the melancholy, Stereolab-flavored track “Gone with the Wind.”

As with his debut, Watts elevates vocalists above glorified chorus-hooksinger status. On “Adaptacao” Watts wraps rising talent Tita Lima’s lovely Portuguese verses in progressive Brazilian jazz and deep street beats. On the Staple Singers-like funk gem, “Are You Satisfied,” Watts features one of James Brown’s favorite female vocalists, the perfectly aged Sugarpie Desanto.

Ultimately, for all the cameos and collaborations, Watts’ talent is still the star. His melodic ability to blend head-nodding, horn-based funk with international percussion and left-field, bass heavy minimalism (a la iconic hip-hop producer J. Dilla) makes Watts Happening a sonic feast for the ears, heart and mind.


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