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Wednesday, Aug 03 2005 | 14:26

On “The Find” 25 year old MC and producer Ohmega Watts aka Milton Campbell makes organic and energetic hip hop, funk and soul. It’s original, from the heart, straight no chaser music. The Find refers to both musical and personal inspiration and track themes span from crate diggin’ dreams and musical reminiscing to social commentary and spiritually charged story telling.

“I’ve produced an album that I hope people come to enjoy and hold with the same kind of value as a rare record, something that will be treasured from start to finish,” says Campbell. “Hip hop is a lifestyle to some and an art to others, to me it’s a form of expression, and I put all I got into what I express,” he adds.

Offering both quantity and quality The Find is 22 tracks deep and jumps from the laid-back sunshine styled “Where It All Started” and soulful “Your Love” to the turntable-bound rare groove-fueled breaks of “Move!” and “Floor Rock”. The party vibe of “That Sound” and “Long Ago” compliment the sweet cinematic sound of “Dream On”. The Find is a bravely honest and eclectic debut – one that brilliantly reflects Ohmega Watts eager yet down to earth, humble b-boy swagger.

“I’ve always been a beat head, so while I prefer production … and this album gave me chance to showcase all kinds of sounds … I love to MC too. I can say more MCing than with a musical tone or mood set from the music alone, but it’s definitely nice to be able to have the combination,” he says.

Inspired as much by hip hop legends like Eric B & Rakim and Premier as contemporary electronic producers like RJD2 and The Herbaliser, and old school experimentalists like Shuggie Otis “The Find” pushes current industry-standard boundaries. “Sick of the monotony, we got the remedy” he declares in “Long Ago.” Most of the music is played live and re-sampled by Watts and a cast of supporting musicians – there are no loops or played-out samples. Within tunes he might switch beats up moving from one musical vibe into another, check “A Request” (which Ubiquity released as an introductory single in 2004) that turned heads including internationally respected DJs like Mr. Scruff, Gilles Peterson and our own Greyboy. That track earned comparisons to Digital Underground and Jurassic 5 and scored Ohmega Watts an album deal with Ubiquity.

“The foundation of it all is early hip hop, the music that I grew up on intertwined with my musical tastes in rock, funk, afro beat, jazz, Brazilian and all kinds of new music.” Campbell says. “I do all the production for myself, and work with musicians to accommodate the elements I can’t sample these days. Everything is usually arranged and often played by me even though I can’t read music or play complex chords. I’m working at it … It’s all been by ear so far,” he adds.

Hailing from Flatbush, Brooklyn, Milton Campbell aka Ohmega Watts moved to Queens and then Florida at the age of 13. His parents wanted to live in a climate closer to their native Jamaica, “They taught me not to expect anyone else to owe me anything or to expect things will always go my way, but to work hard, make an honest living and that god will bless me for it accordingly,” says Campbell of his parents. “I’ve found that to be very true and a solid foundation for me all around,” he adds.

Completing college at the Art Institute in Florida Campbell then settled in Portland, Oregon. He made the move with his homeboy Braille where they met Othello in 2002 and formed the group Lightheaded. He is now part of a bustling North West independent scene that includes the Lifesavas (who appeared on his debut single), Boom Bap, Soul Plasma, Libretto, Lightheaded and The Blacknotes. “Portland is a fresh little city. Not too small but not big either, it works. The independent scene is dope, there are a couple different weekly gigs bands can play or people can attend, both hip hop and rock, etc and the venues are pretty fresh. Overall people show love, and if you’re good your music will be recognized,” says Campbell.

In addition to both MCing and producing this album Ohmega Watts also knocked-out the cover to “The Find”. An avid designer he’s also completed work for Pigeon John, Adidas, Lightheaded, and designs for the Ubiquity clothing line.

His stage name comes from being in a group called the Transmitters in 1999. He already went by Omega but added the “H” to create Ohmega. “I began to give the name true definition pertaining to transmitting frequency, energy, myself musically,” explains Campbell. “˜Ohm’ means resistance and is a measurement for how many ampere’s a certain electronic piece can take and ˜Watts’ refers to voltage, power and energy, which again translates to my expression and individuality both with my name and my sound.”

As an independent hip hop producer with a handful of productions to your name it can be hard to get gigs, yet Ohmega Watts and his crew play many dates annually. He’s been across the USA playing everything from prisons, colleges, skate parks, to arenas and regular club venues. Campbell and the rest of his crew aggressively plan strings of dates and drive across country from gig to gig DIY-style, “We all have followings through minor releases, internet outlets and word of mouth.” This spring Campbell traveled to Japan to record tracks with DJ Tonk and perform 2 packed shows in Tokyo with Braille of Lightheaded. Since then Ohmega Watts Japanese radio play and general anticipation of The Find has grown out of hand with licensing offers flying in left and right.

The full Ohmega Watts live show will include members of the Lightheaded crew plus 2 or 3 DJs doing both turntabalist routines and keeping the crowd moving between live tracks.

“This cat is the next Pete Rock.” Elevated Minds Group

“Love it, love it, love it. Already a permanent fixture in the record box and working well in the clubs.” DK (Solid Steel / Ninja Tune)

“I love the record. The Lifesavas songs was good and this is on that same level.” Mike Nardone

“Following up the large ‘A Request’ single was always going to be difficult, but this follow up absolutely smashes it!” Fat City Records

“Superb club wobbler and very original.” Mr. Scruff (Ninja Tune)

“Classic head-nodding hip-hop with a jazz feel to it. Where’s the party? It starts right here!” Michael Rutten (Soul Patrol)

“Good, solid soulful hip hop.” Jimpster (Freerange)

“Enjoy it tremendously … definitely a good time kinda vibe.” DJ Sun (Soular Grooves, KPFT)

The album Ohmega WattsThe Find” (Ubiquity) is going to be released September 12, 2005.

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