Thursday nights were never cold at the legendary Goodlife Café. Steaming beats by Los Angeles are producers pushed through the speakers and sweat gathered in the palms of rappers eager for their turn on the mic. This was the essential showcase and proving ground for L.A. hip-hop during the early nineties, and it's where Omid (formerly OD) discovered "the good life" of musical inspiration. "Right after high school I went to the Goodlife open mic. That blew me away, that was the turning point from me being a fan into actually wanting to make the music." Lured by rumors of regular appearances of world-renowned mic destroyers Freestyle Fellowship, Omid was overwhelmed. "I ended up seeing 'Fellowship, Volume 10, OMD, Pharcyde, Medusa, Hip-Hop Clan. I thought I would see one good MC, but I ended up seeing about 30 that first night, there was so much talent, so much talent. I knew I had to come back every week."

The crowd at the Goodlife was like a dirty razor roughly cutting away the wack chants of "Please pass the mic". And that's how Omid decided that production was his path.

"Seeing the MC's there definitely inspired me not to rhyme because there used to be battles all the time, and if you went out there sounding amateur, you never know, Aceyalone might jump on [the mic] and serve you right there." Local producers were also encouraged to bring beats for the MC's to ride. The result was unique, a hip-hop environment where creativity was entirely communal.

"It was the first time I'd really heard the progressive stuff. You were hearing underground local rhymes and beats. It really made the producers want to practice, because your beat could be heard in public on Thursday night. I borrowed the first sampler I could and locked myself in a closet for a week."

Soon Omid's beats began to gain the respect of local MC's, many of whom happened to grip the mic as tightly as any in the world. "I made a beat tape and gave it to Fish who was in charge of the mix at the Goodlife. He started playing some of my beats, and people started asking about them." The student becomes the teacher, the fan becomes the breeze.

But the concept of the good life is both the means and the end for Omid. Known for his sharp, brooding hip-hop instrumentals, Omid's cultural heritage is a driving force behind his music. Born in Chicago to Iranian parents studying abroad in the US, his family moved back to Iran and then, later, backs to the States again when he was six. Iran was on the brink of the revolution that lead to the rise of the oppressive fundamentalist regime of the Ayatollah Kumeni in 1979. In short, they moved to escape the suppression of ideas and expression, to make a good life in the US.

Proud of his heritage and possessing a strong sense of family and community, Persian culture rocks through Omid's beats. His lush soundscapes, resonating at the intersection of East and West, are constructed mostly with samples. Persian instruments like the 72 stringed santoor, the dimbek (a wood and goat skin drum), and sitars are snatched from old vinyl and twisted giving many of his tracks a hauntingly unique sound almost impossible to bite. "From 'Beneath the Surface', on 'The Sun Took a Day Off', the first sample that comes in is a record my dad brought back from Iran." Diggers beware, you're going to have to get in the Axis of Evil if you want to jack that one.

His unique sound, along with the mutual respect of the La hip-hop community has led to collaborations with a staggering list of Los Angeles MC's, including his heroes from the Goodlife, the Freestyle Fellowship. In 1998 he produced a tribute/ compilation to the L.A. scene, 'Beneath the Surface', that has stiffened necks worldwide. Unlike some producers these days with generic beats for hire, Omid takes particular care to craft tracks that truly reflect the individual MC. "When I'm making a beat for a rapper, I recite my favorite rhyme for them over and over in my head to get the sound right." Upon asking them what it's like to polish up a track with rappers of the caliber of Abstract Rude or P.E.A.C.E., he said, "There's mutual respect there. At first I just made tracks for them, but as time went on they came to respect my feedback. If I think the track can be better, I just tell them that I've heard them come tighter before." His most recent effort, the full length 'Monolith' on Mush features both instrumental and vocal tracks, and production styles ranging from straight up hip-hop to the more experimental. It's the perfect compliment to his catalog of world wise beats, and bleeding edge hip-hop tracks. In the future, Omid plans to continue his solo exploration of sonic collage. But he's still working with MC's, producing many tracks on up coming efforts by Satch, Busdriver, 2Mex, Xololanaxinxo, and others.

Omid couldn't be happier, as this is a man who loves to make music for it's own sake. The Goodlife is the start of story, and the end as well, as he has achieved a special balance, "For me the good life is just being blessed to make music every day. And in the future, I hope to finish a thousand albums, all of them dope." The good life has never sounded so sweet.


Mush Records