Concept albums are nothing new in hip-hop. A few come to mind right away: Deltron 3030 (Del the Funky Homosapien and Dan the Automator), anything by Kool Keith (or one of his many aliases), Prince Paul’s A Prince Among Thieves and, you could argue, De La Soul’s De La Soul is Dead.
These projects are concepts in terms of a unifying theme in their writing. On Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms, released in August on Stones Throw, Oh No flips the script a bit. The album’s unifying element is its source material. Oh No (younger brother of producer Madlib) constructed the beats and music using samples derived solely from the work of Galt MacDermot, best known as the composer of Hair.
Stones Throw general manager Egon briefly worked at MacDermot’s label, Kilmarnock Records, in the ’90s and has since issued compliations of MacDermot’s work on Stones Throw.
As you might imagine, the production on Exodus is vibrant and rich, the glue holding together a pretty insane and varied cast of emcees and singers – Buckshot, Murs, De La’s Posdnuos and Aloe Blacc among them.
If nothing else, you have to appreciate Stones Throw’s continual dedication to pay homage to the past. Oh No is showing off not only his own craft but that of a composer he obviously admired enough to introduce to a new generation of fans and listeners.
Oh No feat. Posdnuos (of De La Soul) | Smile a Lil Bit
Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms is available at eMusic.