Ooggz is, thus far, an underground rapper from the Bronx, New York. Reading his bio, which he actually wrote himself, you’d think he was just in it for the money as he talks about wanting to rise on the hip-hop charts and “making a commercial hit.” He also states that his single “Come On Down” has “great potential to hit a wide audience.” Normally, a publicist will write their artist’s bio and they say things in a roundabout way that’s not so obvious about these things. They want the critics to believe their artist is, in fact, an artist and not just someone who’s a hit making machine like will.i.am and Dr. Luke. Fortunately, I’d already listened to Ooggz debut EP, Welcome To Neptune, several times before I finally read the bio. Had I read the bio first, I might not have even listened to the EP once, deducing that it’s some overly commercial crap. But I’d already listened to it and had fallen in love with it, hence this review.
Each of the five songs on the EP were produced by different people, but when you listen to it, it doesn’t sound that way. You’d think it was all produced by the same person. Which is a good thing. There’s nothing worse than when an EP or LP that was produced by several different people and it doesn’t sound like a cohesive work of art, just a collection of songs the hit-makers came up with that don’t pair well together. So, Ooggz immediately gets props for churning out an EP that feels cohesive.
The EP opens with “Get em,” which was produced by Jeremy Rocwell and it’s entirely exquisite, the Frappuccino of rap songs. For starters, Ooggz lays down some serious rhymes. He’s clearly mastered his craft and I’m assuming he must have been rapping since long before making the EP. “I’m not an animal, bitch / I’m just an anomaly / A vocal leader who needs no one to follow me,” he raps, smooth as can be. And then there’s the wonderful beats, punchy but in a laid back way, like something you’d expect from Cypress Hill. Interestingly, there are female singers singing in the background but they’ve distorted the voices, perhaps increasing the pitch, so you really can’t understand what they’re singing, much less figure out who’s singing. But the vibe is kind of Motown and kind of Phil Spector girl groups and it makes this track especially memorable.
The single “Come On Down” follows. It features Ayanna Williams and was produced by Cash Jordan. “Love me, touch me, keep me, please me,” Williams sings, delivering a warm but almost desperate chorus that tugs at your heart strings. Here, Ooggz reminds me of LL Cool J with his softer, suavely charming rhymes. Every time I listen to this I think of Cool J’s breakthrough hit “I Need Love.” (Which makes me feel old. Ooggz probably wasn’t even born yet when that song was out. If he was, he must have been quite young.)
Produced by Kelly Portis, “Classy” also finds Ooggz rapping in an almost hushed, mellow manner, sounding debonair. This one has punchier beats than the previous two tracks though; it’s like a chilled version of trap rap. And there are what sound like vocal samples in the background, the difference between “Get Em” and this track being that you can understand the background vocals on this track.
“Doing Right” was produced by JCaspersen and would seem to blur the lines between Cypress Hill and Childish Gambino. Speaking of Gambino, this whole EP has the feel of his recent mixtapes with its high quality production and Ooggz’s flow of words bearing resemblance to Gambino’s, which is not a bad thing at all. In fact, I’d been wishing for more artists like Gambino, so I was immediately thrilled when I listened to this release.
The EP concludes with “Ain’t What U Want,” which was produced by Primestars and is the liveliest song on here with its snappy beats and Ooggz’s fastest rapping on the EP. There’s so much going on in the background, too. Layers and layers of things happening, everything from people talking to muffled sounds to various beeps and humming. Lovely little details. So, major kudos to Primestars for their production here. If they aren’t working with major artists already then they certainly should be.
Ultimately, we have five awesome tunes that fit well together and give us a peek inside the mind of someone who could turn out to be one of the world’s biggest rappers a few years from now if he works hard and starts letting his publicist write his bio.