Oh No Dr. No's Oxperiment

Oh No Dr. No's Oxperiment

As daunting a feat as it may have seemed from the outset, it’s not entirely surprising that Mike "Oh No” Jackson would eventually fight his way out from brother Madlib’s long shadow of hip-hop innovation to become a monolithic pillar in his own right. With his latest set, the Oxnard, CA native makes the move official, piecing together an intricate, Earth-raw collection of some of his dirtiest productions to date. With fellow audio librarian Egon providing the source recordings, Dr. No’s Oxperiment rattles along to the sounds of deep ’70s Middle Eastern funk and prog rock samples, snatched and dissected with surgical precision, grafted over an unshakable foundation of tough-as-steel beats. Album opener "Heavy” kicks through the wall to jumpstart the show, leading with a sweet vocal melody that quickly gives way to an intoxicating blend of driving yet freeform psychedelic guitar riffage. A thumping backbeat and dipping bass line anchor the scratchy, phased-out licks of "Exp Out The Ox” before giving way to one of the sickest breaks on the record in "Emergency.” While Oh No may be shrugging Oxperiement off as a simple beat tape, there’s no question that this album will definitely send a lot of home studio rats scurrying back to the lab.

With the focus of Dr. No’s Oxperiment being so specifically crafted around this psychedelic European and Middle Eastern rock and folk sound, how were you first drawn to those original records?
Basically, I was in the club in 2005 with my man Egon from Stones Throw and he was just playing a lot of Turkish tunes and a lot of just really sick material. I just hit him up and was like, "what’s up with getting a copy of that?” ’cause I wanted to rap to it. He gave me a copy of some stuff and I took it back and started cutting it up, making all kinds of beats and rapping to them. I turned in the beats and that’s how it started: the Oxperiment. [Later] he started giving me all this other similar stuff and, basically, it started from there.

With that old ’70s funk sound you picked out from the original arrangements, did you see a lot of similarities between those records and the stuff going on in the States, or is what we hear on your album more your own added influence?
I hear similarities and I put my own influences on it. But all that stuff just sounded to me like funk that was going on in the ’70s. Like rap out here, you know? You could have some sick rappers out here and then go to a whole other country and it sounds like they’re using the same music. But [there were] a lot of similarities, from the electric guitar riffs to the funky keyboards on it. Those sounded just like some West coast keyboards, you know? (Stones Throw)