Friday, February 13, 2009

The Raw Factor EP

Ok, let me start with a quick run-down of who Omniscence[sic - that's how he spells it] is for those who don't know. He's a dope, punch-line oriented MC who debuted on a compilation 1990 called Back To the Lab. He put out a nice underground EP called The Funky Oneliner, which got him signed to East/West Records. They put out two singles (and featured him on the IllStyle Live! comp), one of which got rhyme of the month in The Source; but they wound up dumping most of their hip-hop acts (including artists like SuperNatural, LinQue and 8-Off) before releasing his album, The Raw Factor. Omniscence quit the game, and The Raw Factor has been one of the most sought-after unreleased albums since.

Now, there's been a good deal of confusion and misinformation online about this album, because a mix-tape was leaked onto the net several years ago, which has been titled The Raw Factor. It does feature some tracks from the album, as well as some freestyles, skits and other random joints (including his song from Back To the Lab); but it's not the actual unreleased album. In fact, most of what's on this EP is not on that mix.

Which EP? The one pictured that this article is about. This is a promo tape sent out to a magazine back in '95 when the album was still due to be released. It's six tracks off the album, five of which have never been properly released.

1. "Touch Y'all" - This is the only song that was released. It was the second 12" single released (the 12" also included a remix with Sadat X). This is still a nice treat, though, because the 12" only included the Clean Version. This one is proper, unedited mix (the mixtape includes the beginning of the unedited version as well, but it's just the first verse).

2. "Was It Just You" - This wasn't on the mixtape or anywhere else. It features a smooth, cool out groove with some nice reggae verses at the beginning and end (unfortunately, this tape doesn't include credits, so I don't know who's doing the hook or any of the beats). It's a battle of the sexes song with a fun, dirty double hook - one sung by the men and the other by the women - but full of Omniscence's freestyle-type rhymes and punchlines:

"I must confess I'm a nympho,
Run up in any bimbo;
I might even hit my kinfolk!
Even though
Sex is an indoor sport
That I support,
I hit the slut on the bleacher at the ball court.
Give me a quart of the King Cobra,
And I'll be down to get my talk on like Oprah.
Yo, love, where ya nigga at?
(Oh, he in the penile.)
Fuck her 'till she's senile;
Make her kitty-cat meow. (Meeooww!)
Need I say more?
I'm like Rudy Ray Moore;
Freakin' mad stunts from Soundview to Bayshore."

3. "My Main Man" - The first verse of this is featured on the mixtape; but on the tape it's a full song with three verses. It's another smooth track, and has Omniscence reminiscing on his past with his best friend. He's not really doing the punchline thing here (well, he still does a little, with lines like "I remember when I had no status; but you still backed me up like the Pips did Gladys"), but his MCing is still unquestionably nice. It also features some nice scratching on the outro.

4. "Keep Giving Me Love" - This is a fun track, taking a classic 80's cheesy instrumental and chopping it up into a fresh hip-hop beat, with some nice Showbiz-style horns and hard drums. Omni is in pure freestyle mode here, and the hook is pretty simple, basically just filling the short space between showcase verses. I'm surprised this doesn't show up on the mixtape even in part, since it's once of the tightest songs.

5. "Maintain" - This one is just a confusing mess on the mix-tape! Okay, first up the track called "Maintain" on the mix-tape is a different version. The beat and lyrics are both different (though the beat similar enough that I'd call this a remix or at least "Maintain part 2"). But then there's a track later on called "Maintain (Interlude)," which plays the opening verse of this, original tape version. But then you've got another track on the mix called "Greatest MC in the World" which is basically this tape version of "Maintain" again. Yes, it plays all the same music as the "Maintain (Interlude)," which is on the same mix, only "Greatest MC In the World" is longer rendering the "Interlude"'s inclusion completely pointless.

So how is the actual song? It's dope! It's got some nice vibes that for some reason could only get flipped in the early 90's. With a freaky horn loop, shouted chorus ("you gotta maintain, motherfucker, maintain!") and playful rhymes, it reminds me of The B.U.M.s.

6. "When I Make Parole" - This one is a surprise. First of all, for the record, it's not on that mixtape. Secondly, despite having another smooth instrumental, Omni kicks a surprisingly harder flow here, but it actually works. His voice is rougher, he sounds angrier, and his lyrics are definitely more street:

"I'm so incredibly criminal minded;
Puffin' that angel dust got me blinded.
Rush up on the spot with my glock on cock,
Crack rock bustin' out the side of my sock.
Stumblin' up the block,
Yo, I see this devil bitch;
Yeah, just enough to make my trigger finger itch.
'Excuse me, miss,
Do you got the time?'
Smack her in the grill with the steel-piece nine!
Gimme the jewels and the butter-soft leather.
Should I let her live, or should I fuckin' wet 'er?
Click click boom!
Gun shots to her chest;
Situation critical, I'm dippin' to the rest.
Mom duke's flippin' 'bout the rumors:
I'm goin' 'round town, rollin' with my crew, givin' out brain tumors!"

Damn, wouldn't this EP make a sweet, limited vinyl? ;)

Today, Omniscence does have a myspace. He says there, "New music on the way.Thank you to all who have visited my page.Many people have inquired about the progress of 'Once And For All' and the much sought after ''Raw Factor.' Fret not... I'm in the process of closing a deal that would allow me to release both(on separate dates) next year.Stay Tuned." ...But, unfortunately, that post is from back from the summer of '07, and he hasn't updated since. He did do a new mixtape track in 2008, though, which is on his myspace player.


  1. Yo Werner can you share a rip of this promo tape? Thanks

  2. Is Keep Giving me Love the same as 'Nuff Love? If not, that's the only song that seems to have not been pressed on wax.

    1. Nah, they're different songs (instrumentally and lyrically).

    2. Thanks for the info. Hopefully Keep Giving Me Love becomes commercially available.