San Francisco-based club music label Om Records stood at the crossroads of its first funky decade in 2005. After careful deliberation, Om took the next logical step with Om: Hip-Hop, a dedicated imprint committed to discovering and releasing the dopest forward-thinking hip-hop around. Since the sublabel's inception, they've enlisted an all-star roster of artists that includes the jazzy hip-hop juggernaut Colossus, the ever soulful Strange Fruit Project (who collaborated with Erykah Badu and Little Brother), Bay Area heavyweights Zion I & The Grouch, Zeph and Azeem, J-Boogie's Dubtronic Science, Grammy award-winning Ladybug Mecca of Digable Planets and DJ/producer E Da Boss.
Om: Hip-Hop has gone no holds barred with its first compilation 'Om: Hip-Hop Volume One,' running the full gamut of today's hip-hop flavors. To start, the beats on The One's "Pistol Whipped" steadily skip along with plenty of swing, riding atop a heavy electronic bassline not unlike the ones used by contemporaries Maspyke and Sa-Ra. In a completely different direction, Colossus' reworking of his own track "Contemplating," aptly titled "Sunday Brain Mix," is a slow slung downtempo jazz gem. Ladybug Mecca (remixed by Kenny Dope) and E Da Boss's breakbeats reflect current themes in club-based shakers. Many of the tracks explore sounds from Latin America which can be heard on "Good Times"' guitar licks, "PPP's" rhythm section and horns, and "Play The Drum's" accordion samples. Raashan Ahmad's (of the Crown City Rockers) reinterpretation of "Happy" comes as a throwback to 70's jazz-funk featuring classic Rhodes and strings orchestration. And what would a hip hop compilation from the Bay be without a hyphy reference? Representing hip-hop's most progressive scene, Zion I & The Grouch and Mistah FAB are only happy to open the compilation with "Hit 'Em." While its tracks vary in style, celebrating the full spectrum of the genre's diversity, 'Om: Hip-Hop Volume One' clearly fits right smack in the middle of any hip-hop fan's record shelf.
Pistol Whipped - The One
Rise Up - Zeph and Azeem feat Luv Fyah
Contemplating (Colossus's Sunday Brain Mix) - Colossus feat Flash