Thursday, February 12, 2015

Omniscence's Raw Factor Fully Realized

It's now after the conclusion of the Raw Factors series of 12" records from Dope Folks records, which included three songs apiece (plus exclusive instrumentals) off of Omniscence's legendary unreleased album, The Raw Factor. Between that and the original 12" singles on East/West, we've almost got the whole entire album in our mitts. And now it's time for this CD/ cassette release of The Raw Factor on Gentleman's Relief Records to put the cap on it.

So three Raw Factors with three songs each equals nine songs total [college degree, you've just paid off!]. This album has thirteen tracks, plus four bonus tracks, on both the CD and cassette, which we'll swing back around to later. So that means there's four non-bonus tracks on here that weren't on the EP. So obviously the big question is what the Hell are those songs?

Well, two of them are simply "Amazin'" and "Touch Y'all," the two original singles from the album that actually did get released back in the day. The idea with this Raw Factor release is to be the full, original album, so it only makes sense to get them back into the mix. Even for all of us who already own those singles, it's good to have them in the line-up just so we can listen to the whole album properly like it was meant to be. That's all cool, but that still only brings us to eleven. What are the last two?

1) I'm On Mine - Remember how I said the song "Maintain" was a mess on the old mix-tape/ bootleg downloads? 'Cause you had a couple tracks with that title, and another with a different title, "Greatest MC in the World," but had the same instrumental? Those versions were all messed up, and some screwed it up more than others, because they just did things like rip the old snippet tape and mash it up with the singles, past releases and all kinds of junk. That last one is what's happened here; it's actually a song from The Funky Oneliner EP, though many fans probably first heard it on the boot and think of it as a Raw Factor track. "I'm On Mine" is what was called "Greatest MC In the World" on the boots; they clearly got the title from the vocal sample from De La Soul's "Ego Trippin' Part 2" where they go, "I'm the greatest MC in the worrrrld," that the DJ is cutting up here on the hook.

2) I Gotta Maintain - And here's the proper version of "(I Gotta) Maintain," the full-length song, not just the snippets. It's the same version I have on my old promo EP, which was always one of Om's best to me, and another one from The Funky Oneliner EP. So that's eleven Raw Factor tracks and two Funky Oneliners for good measure.

With the release, I think we can finally put those misinformative unofficial releases to bed once and for all. We've got (almost) the whole album, in robust sound quality, and even a couple extra tracks. Oh right, and we've got bonus tracks, too.

The four bonuses are the "Touch Y'all" remix from the original 12" single, which featured Sadat X, and one of the two "Amazin'" remixes from that original 12", together giving you an even fuller Raw Factor experience. And then there's "Wreckognize" and "Freestyle After a Philly," which are two songs from his Funky Oneliner EP - kind of odd choices, but hey, who's complaining about two more dope Omniscence songs being on their albums?

So that's all 17 songs, we've reached the end... unless you leave the album playing and hear the extra bonus, uncredited 18th song not mentioned on the track-listing. And yes, by the way, it's on both the CD and cassette versions. It's the other, often forgotten "Touch Y'all" remix, the one that doesn't feature Sadat, by Fanatic that was also on the 12" single. Nice.

And let's talk about the actual physical product - although for the record, the whole thing (minus the hidden track #18) is available for download as well, on Omni's bandcamp if that's your thing. The cassette is pretty limited, to just 100 copies, and is pressed in cool, red plastic. The CD is a bit of a wider release, not just available from GRR's online store, but sites like ughh and hhv. It also includes liner notes written by Omniscence, telling the story of how the album was recorded all the way through to it ultimately not getting released back in the day.

So this is pretty great for Omniscence fans. The famously unreleased Raw Factor is now out on all formats, and all top quality releases. It's  pretty damn definitive, I'd say. Except... Interestingly, all of this still leaves one Omniscence song from my East/West promo tape still unreleased. "Keep Giving Me Love" was another smoothed out collection of fun, freestyle rhymes with a shout chorus, this time over a sample of Al B. Sure's "Nite & Day." I'm really not sure why everybody's still sitting on that one. Hmmm...

Update/ Errata (2/13/15) - I originally credited this album with "finally" allowing us to hear "Maintain" and "I'm On Mine," which were cut/ poor sound quality on the bootlegs... forgetting that both tracks were originally part of The Funky Oneliner EP. So while it's still a great package and a chance to finally get the (mostly) full album as it was originally meant to be heard, those two tracks won't actually be new to fans who have the original Oneliner EP, or the more recent Dope Folks repress.


  1. thought "I gotta maintain" and "i'm on mine" were taken from the 'funkee one liner' ep, so it makes sense to also include the remaining two tracks from the ep,

    1. Oh sheesh; you're right! Ha ha Forgot that... gotta update my post. Thanks for the comment!

  2. thats not all !!!
    i dl a version of this album which contain tracks
    that never were released through dope folks!!!
    about 4 or 5 tracks

    1. Taken from the interview Werner did with Omniscence a little while back:

      Well, after the Elektra situation, Fanatic was like, "let's make a 6th Boro compilation." He had now connected with Lord VI and he had an R&B group that he was dealing with. This was recorded in Ultimix, and I wish I could get my hands on that as well. But on this compilation is where you get the songs "Stage Domination," "Causin' Terror." It was a few joints, and if you listen to those, now we're moving further up in time, I've been scorned by the industry, things didn't go right for me with The Raw Factor. It was a harder edge on those records, because of course I came back home and I was dealin' in some street life and different experiences of just being back into general population. Because of course I didn't wanna go get a job. So I was out there kinda whylin' a little bit, out of my element. But you know, I do love those records. Those are some of the dopest records that have never been heard. And I truly believe Fanatic has those records and is going to be bringing those forth. There are about five from me.

  3. Was there ever an explicit version of the 'Touch Y'all RMX' ft Sadat X? The version on my 12" is clean, and so is the version on The Raw Factor

    1. Nah, I think that clean remix is it, unfortunately.