Ohbliv has caught recent looks for his hugely prolific output, a fiery catalogue of 50 Bandcamp releases, celebrated collabs, and an entry on Fat Beats’ prestigious Baker’s Dozen series. Not a bad ascendant for someone who started in the late ‘90s emulating past masters through making pause-tapes.
“I’m 36. I grew up on Large Pro, Pete Rock, Preemo, Ced Gee, Paul C, Bomb Squad, especially the pause tape aesthetic. In my developmental stages, those are the main ones,” he says, before adding: “My parents are also a big inspiration. I feel like my dad was a real digger before it was even a thing. I’ve found records in his collection that I haven’t even found out in the field while I’m digging. I credit him for that.”
Richmond, Virginia isn’t particularly known for its booming music scene but Ohbliv (pronounced “Obliv,” short for Oblivion) has seen a steady rise in awareness of his hometown’s musical offerings. On his local scene, he says: “Everybody has his or her own style. There are pockets and different sounds. There’s the more street side of things, the more traditional hip-hop, the more progressive guys. There’s no one solid style, everyone’s doing their own thing, but everyone works together too.” 2018’s joint with another Richmond stalwart artist, Fly Anakin, produced Backyard Boogie and cemented this notion, showcasing a mature beatsmith who could thoughtfully lace Anakin’s colorful rhymes with dynamic boom-bap.
This year, Ohbliv reunites with Fat Beats with whom he’s always had a fruitful working relationship. “I would consider this a proper follow up to the second Baker’s Dozen release. I also have two tapes through Fat Beats, two Lewse Joints cassettes. But this is the first proper follow-up,” he says. With a lot of familial pride and years of experience behind this moment, the new album is fittingly titled, Give Thanks.
The project is a woozy pastiche of eclectic samples chopped to bits with the aid of an SP-4O4, PT01 turntable, and digi-recorder. While Ohbliv does use an MPC 2000 here and then, the 404-SX is his main weapon of choice. “I’ve just always end up within the Roland family,” he says.
The title cut is Dilla-esque in the best, most respectful and un-trite way those words possibly entail. “Give Thanks is me digging deeper into my style but stretching it a bit. Different sample sources and different quality of samples, like using vinyl-based originals, he says. “I was also able to learn and used different mixing techniques for an overall cleaner sound.”