Published Sep 19, 2007When Portland-based producer/MC Ohmega Watts delivered his debut set The Find two years ago, the fresh combination of intricately woven, golden-era conscious beat work and an effervescent flow rich with sensible lyricism that characterised the disc quickly earned him respect in true-school hip-hop circles the world over, with influential tastemakers like Gilles Peterson readily offering praise. For his second excursion, Watts Happening, Watts reaches deeper into his crate of varied influences to come up with an expansive mix of sounds and styles that spins off into slow-strutting funk decrees, a batch of meaty Brazilian grooves and a healthy base of global percussive rhythms. The crafty beatsmiths aversion to chunky loops makes following the countless moving parts and subtle futuristic sonics of cuts like "No Delay that much more enjoyable, while "Model Citizen and "Few And Far Between drag his insightful reflections on love and life to the forefront. A professed passion for Brazilian rhythms takes the reins on the snappy bossa-meets-hip-hop vibe of "Adaptação before giving way to a funk-ified, rare-groove-inflected jam session helmed by Breakestra crewmembers in "The Platypus Strut. Simply put, these are the musings of an artist that finds diversity as natural as the morning sunrise.
You seem to place more importance on MCing this time around.
I think that there were just a lot of things I wanted to say, [and] the album has a pretty good personal feel for certain things that it raised. Really, I dont sit and write like most MCs do; I only write when I really have something I want to say, or that I feel I have to say. Its funny; I think about it, like people who sing and produce their own music. Its not usually a topic that comes up often, that people do both, not as much as in hip-hop cause there are not many people who do it and can be consistent at both.
Given you classic hip-hop influences, whats the response from younger listeners?
I performed at the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle the other day and there were actually a good amount of young kids that were there supporting it. It was dope to see that cause it shows that kids out there are still listening. It has been weird at times, to really nail down where the influences of my music are hitting certain generations of kids, but I have seen kids on MySpace email me from places around the world and be like, "What youre doing is influential. Ill check out their page and a lot of them will be, like, 15 and 16. It surprises me because you dont really expect that. (Ubiquity)