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Disc reviewsOhmega Watts

The Find

Kanye West would have us believe that he's the only one in hip-hop who can both rap and produce records well. And while it is quite a rarity to find the artist who grasps each discipline with ease, Brooklyn's Ohmega Watts (Milton Campbell) does it all. He's even a graphics whiz who designed his own crate-digging artwork for his debut, The Find, just to show us what kind of accomplished overachiever he really is.

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The Find feels like a trip back to a time before crack and guns got out of control in urban America, when rappers were still wearing smiles. Campbell displays an earnest versatility through a variety of old-school hip-hop-flavored feel-good jams and well-defined ventures into reggae ("Treasure Hunt") and deep-rock guitar (check the solo on "Move!"). There's no obvious gimmick/shtick to pigeonhole him just yet. He prefers to create his own samples for the most part, giving a fuller sound than the heap of typical cut-and-paste rap albums, and he eschews obvious cash-in guests in favor of up-and-coming MCs that most of us probably have never heard of, like Manchild, Othello and Adam L. "Full Swing" even takes a crack at Kanye's blingin' Jesus piece-wearin' brethren, passing on the ice ("I'm with Jesus, peace!"). It's that unadorned, early hip-hop spirit that will draw listeners into this one.