The Micro-Chop Daily X #31–Ohbliv Edition
A Micro-Chop playlist featuring 10 hand-picked instrumentals — every single day for an entire year.
A veteran of the beat scene all the way back to when producers would share tracks, tips, and tricks through MySpace and AOL Instant Messenger, Ohbliv has been releasing instrumental albums at a furious pace since 2009. With 56 albums, EPs, and singles available on Bandcamp at the time of this writing, the Richmond, Virginia-based producer’s quality never seems to suffer as a result of the quantity of his work.
Since he first dropped Rugged Tranquility in 2009, Ohbliv has seen opportunities for both producers and artists in the Richmond hip-hop scene grow by leaps and bounds. It’s been a positive trend he articulated well in a April 2017 Bandcamp feature that covered the growing number of talented Richmond-based beat makers. “I tell all the young cats that this is what I’ve been waiting for,” he told Bandcamp. “We’ve finally become ambassadors for our city, finally we’re carrying our vibe elsewhere.”
It’s important to note that Ohbliv’s place as Richmond spokesman wasn’t a case of overnight success — his rise required years of constant, focused practice. Long before he gained a reputation for being an SP-404 sample-chopping master, he started out from modest beginnings making pause-tapes in his parent’s basement. “I had just started doing pause-tapes around 97, 98,” he told me in a October 2017 Micro-Chop interview. “I’m a bit older than a lot of the current producers out here. I actually grew up in that time of pause-tapes. That was pretty much what you had to do to make beats if you didn’t have any other equipment.”
Though Ohbliv didn’t have any real equipment to speak of, he did have some resources at home that he was able to pair with an active imagination and a keen ear. “At the time I didn’t have any samplers, I didn’t have anything,” he told me in 2017. “I just had my dad’s records. I had a component set with a turntable on top and the cassette decks in the middle and all that.”
With a vivid recall for detail, Ohbliv remembers a watershed moment when he found the necessary record in his family’s collection to help him try to emulate the sounds of one of his favorite rap groups. Not deterred by his component stereo, makeshift sampler, he went to work right away and tried to make his sample splices sound just like Q-Tip’s early production. “I clearly remember hearing ‘Lyrics To Go’ by A Tribe Called Quest and the Minnie Riperton loop, and I knew that I had that record,” he told me. “So that was one of the first pause-beats that I tried to re-create.”
Now, many pause-tape beats and 56 official releases later, Ohbliv’s style continues to evolve, grow, and change. Though I’m sometimes able to identify a track that I’m unfamiliar with as an Ohbliv song because of certain elements, just when I think I have his sound as a producer pinned down, I explore another album and realize how different it is from the other ones I’ve heard. Digging into more of his expansive catalog over the course of the past year or two has been a very enriching and rewarding experience. I have no doubts his already substantial body of work will continue to grow with time.
The thirty-first playlist in The Micro-Chop Daily X series features 10 hand-picked instrumentals from Ohbliv. With so many songs to choose from, it’s difficult to find 10 that can accurately summarize his full catalog — but I still tried to do my best. After listening to today’s Micro-Chop Daily X playlist, I’d strongly recommend heading his Bandcamp page to get a full sense of what he has to offer.
Be on the lookout for The Micro-Chop Daily X #32 dropping tomorrow.