Oh No: Exploring His Musical Journey and Impact


Michael Woodrow Jackson, known professionally as Oh No, has made significant contributions to the world of hip hop as both a rapper and record producer. Born on November 6, 1978, the American artist has worked alongside notable performers and collaborators, steadily building his impressive career. With several albums released on Stones Throw Records, Jackson showcases his unique style and talent, gaining recognition and praise from fans and critics alike.

As a member of the hip-hop duo Gangrene, Oh No works in partnership with The Alchemist, their combined efforts bolstering their presence in the industry. Furthermore, Jackson expands his reach by partnering with his brother, Madlib, to form the duo The Professionals. As Oh No continues to create and participate in various projects, his influence and presence in the hip-hop world increasingly solidifies.

Drawing from a wide range of inspirations and collaborations, Oh No interweaves his artistry to form a distinctive sound and identity. Over the years, the rapper has crafted a lasting impact on the music scene, proving his talent and dedication. While his career progresses, one thing remains constant: Oh No’s remarkable ability to captivate his audience and leave a lasting impression on the world of hip-hop.

Early Life and Background

Michael Woodrow Jackson, better known as Oh No, is an American rapper and music producer born on November 6, 1978, in Oxnard, California. Growing up in a predominantly musical family, Oh No’s early exposure to various styles of music would significantly contribute to his journey as an artist.

In his upbringing, Oh No was surrounded by talented musicians. His father, Otis Jackson, was a singer, and his older brother Madlib went on to become a renowned hip-hop artist. Additionally, his uncle, Jon Faddis, is a celebrated jazz trumpeter. This diverse musical environment enriched his artistic perspective from the very beginning.

During the 1960s, a thriving musical culture emerged, further shaping Oh No’s influences and creative direction. The year 1964 also marked significant milestones in American music history, including the release of several iconic records. While these events may have indirectly impacted Oh No’s musical growth, it is essential to acknowledge the diverse range of influences that contributed to Oh No’s evolution as an artist.

By growing up in a musical family and being exposed to various genres, Michael Woodrow Jackson was destined to become the talented rapper and producer known as Oh No. This solid foundation set the stage for a successful career in the competitive American rap and hip-hop scene.

Career Beginnings

Michael Jackson, better known as Oh No, began his career in the late 90s as an American rapper hailing from Oxnard, California. Born into a musical family, his older brother is the renowned producer and musician Madlib. Oh No’s first appearance in the rap scene can be traced back to 1999 when he made a guest appearance on his brother’s group Lootpack’s album, titled Soundpieces: Da Antidote.

Throughout the early stages of his career, Oh No established close connections with notable rap figures such as Wildchild and Murs. These collaborations played a crucial role in shaping his sound and developing his skills as a rapper. He often experimented with various styles and genres which enabled him to carve out his own unique niche within the hip-hop scene.

In 2003, Oh No released his solo debut album The Disrupt under the prestigious label, Stones Throw Records. This debut marked the beginning of his successful solo career and subsequent releases. The album featured collaborations with several established artists on the label such as Wildchild, Medaphoar, and Dudley Perkins. The Disrupt showcased Oh No’s skills as both a rapper and a producer, gaining him recognition and acclaim from fans and critics alike.

After launching his solo career, Oh No continued to work on various projects, both as a rapper and a producer. In addition to his own releases, he has been instrumental in crafting beats and producing albums for several other artists within the hip-hop community. His contributions have made him an integral figure in the genre’s development and helped cement his status as a respected and influential rapper in the industry.

Collaborations and Partnerships


Oh No and Madlib, also known as the brothers Jackson, have a strong collaborative history. One of their notable collaborations is the formation of the hip-hop duo The Professionals, which pairs Oh No’s rapping talents with Madlib’s beats. Their self-titled album, The Professionals, was released in 2020, showcasing their chemistry as siblings and musicians.

The Alchemist

Oh No and The Alchemist formed the duo, Gangrene, releasing multiple projects together. The first of these, “Gutter Water,” was released in 2010, followed by “Vodka & Ayahuasca” in 2012, and “You Disgust Me” in 2015. Their ability to combine gritty beats and raw lyrics has made Gangrene a celebrated partnership in the rap community.

Dr. No’s Oxperiment

In 2007, Oh No released the instrumental album “Dr. No’s Oxperiment,” which showcased his ability as a producer. The album is notable as it primarily samples music from Greece, Italy, Lebanon, and Turkey. This fusion of world music elements with hip-hop beats showcases Oh No’s talent for creating unique and engaging instrumentals.

Mos Def

Oh No has also worked with respected rapper and actor Mos Def, now known as Yasiin Bey. Oh No produced the track “Auditorium” on Mos Def’s 2009 album, The Ecstatic. This collaboration shows the affinity between Oh No’s production style and Mos Def’s charismatic lyrical presence.


Oh No collaborated with Capone, one-half of the renowned hip-hop duo Capone-N-Noreaga, on the 2011 release “Ohnomite.” Capone is featured on the track “Start It Like This,” showcasing their chemistry and diverse rap styles.


Oh No has also partnered with Noreaga – the other half of rap duo Capone-N-Noreaga. Noreaga appeared on the track “Friendly Fire” from the 2005 Oh No album “Disrupt.” This collaboration highlights Oh No’s ability to work with a variety of artists, adapting to different styles in the world of hip-hop.

Notable Work and Projects

Oh No, a talented rapper and producer, has contributed to an impressive list of projects throughout his career. One of his significant works includes the album Exodus into Unheard Rhythms. This album was notable for its use of samples from composer Galt MacDermot, known for his work on the musical “Hair.” By building on MacDermot’s music, the album showcased Oh No’s versatility and creative approach to producing.

In 2009, Oh No released another standout project titled Dr. No’s Ethiopium. As the name suggests, the album embraced Ethiopian music samples, highlighting a distinct cultural sound. By fusing Ethiopian music with his beats and production, Oh No showcased his ability to blend and innovate with international sounds and his clear appreciation for diverse musical influences.

Later on, he continued to experiment with various music styles, releasing Dr. No’s Kali Tornado Funk. In this project, he delved into the world of funky music, adding another unique sound to his growing repertoire. With each new project, Oh No demonstrated his willingness to explore unfamiliar genres and innovate within them, solidifying his status as a versatile and inquisitive artist.

Furthermore, Oh No teamed up with producer The Alchemist to form the duo Gangrene, releasing the album Animal Serum. The collaboration showcased the strengths of both artists, combining their unique production styles and rapping abilities. This partnership elevated their individual careers and cemented their positions as influential figures in the hip-hop industry.

In 2015, Oh No, alongside The Alchemist, contributed to the soundtrack for the video game “Grand Theft Auto V.” The album, Welcome to Los Santos, featured new music inspired by the game’s city and expanded on its unique atmosphere. By merging their production expertise with the gaming world, they not only reached a wider audience but also demonstrated their ability to create immersive, cross-platform experiences.

Lastly, Oh No joined forces with rapper Blu for the collaborative album A Long Red Hot Los Angeles Summer Night. The project showcased the chemistry between the two artists and allowed Oh No to demonstrate his storytelling abilities through his rapping and production skills. It served as a testament to his continuing evolution and ability to adapt to various collaborators and creative challenges.

Influence on Sampling and Popular Culture

Rapper Oh No, known for his unique approach to music production, has significantly influenced the sampling culture and popular culture in various ways. By incorporating diverse sounds and elements in his tracks, he has broadened the scope of hip-hop and contributed to its global appeal.

One notable example of Oh No’s ingenuity is his album Exodus into Unheard Rhythms. In this project, he sampled music from various international genres, blending traditional Turkish, Lebanese, Greek, and Italian sounds with contemporary hip-hop beats. This fusion of diverse musical styles showcases Oh No’s eclectic taste and has inspired other producers to explore unconventional samples further afield.

Oh No’s influence extends beyond music production to popular culture, as demonstrated by his collaboration with electronic music pioneers Tangerine Dream and Woody Jackson on the soundtrack for the video game Grand Theft Auto V. This partnership helped introduce hip-hop elements to a wider audience and demonstrates the genre’s versatility.

Furthermore, Oh No’s sampling of Ethiopian music on his critically acclaimed album Ohnomite adds a layer of world music sensibilities to his work. The album also features renowned artists such as Prince Po and Blu, highlighting Oh No’s ability to collaborate with diverse talents and create captivating musical experiences.

Sampling has also played a role in Oh No’s contributions to the popular social media platform TikTok. His work with Kreepa in creating the song “Believe,” which samples the 1960s pop group The Shangri-Las on the track, has garnered viral attention. This usage of a classic Shangri-Las sample demonstrates Oh No’s ability to bridge generations and make older music resonate with contemporary audiences.

In summary, rapper Oh No’s influence on sampling and popular culture is noteworthy. By infusing his music with international sounds, collaborating with various artists, and leveraging social media platforms like TikTok, he has left a lasting impression on the global hip-hop scene and beyond.

Discography and Popular Songs

Oh No is an American rapper and record producer who has released several albums throughout his career. Born Michael Woodrow Jackson on November 6, 1978, in Oxnard, California, he grew up in a musically inclined family, being the younger brother of hip-hop artist Madlib, son of singer Otis Jackson, and nephew of jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis.

Oh No’s discography consists of multiple albums, including:

  • The Disrupt (2004)
  • Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms (2006)
  • Dr. No’s Oxperiment (2007)
  • Dr. No’s Ethiopium (2009)
  • OhNoMite (2012)
  • Disrupted ADS (2013)
  • Welcome to Los Santos (2015)

Although none of Oh No’s songs have made it to the Billboard Hot 100, he has collaborated with several notable artists throughout his career, including Murs, El-P, and Edan.

His 2006 album, Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms, featured samples from the works of legendary composer Galt MacDermot, who is known for composing the hit musical Hair. The album received critical acclaim, with several tracks standing out, such as “In This,” “Everyday Life,” and “New Life.”

Oh No has also produced tracks for other artists and ventured into the world of video game scores. In 2015, he and The Alchemist collaborated on the soundtrack for the popular video game Grand Theft Auto V, under the title Welcome to Los Santos.

While Oh No’s music may not contain direct references to Aerosmith or their song “Remember (Walking in the Sand)”, his unique style and diverse influences showcase the depth of his musical knowledge, inspired by various genres.

Throughout his career, Oh No has continued to explore new sounds and collaborate with different artists, establishing himself as a notable figure in the world of hip-hop and music production. His discography exhibits his commitment to innovation and creative expression.

Legacy and Impact on the Hip-Hop Scene

Oh No, born as Michael Woodrow Jackson, has contributed significantly to the hip-hop scene as a prolific rapper and record producer. He has released multiple albums on Stones Throw Records, an independent record label known for its unique sound and diverse range of artists. Oh No’s work in the industry has earned him a respectable position in the artistic aspects of hip-hop.

As a record producer, Oh No has worked closely with many artists, including Med, Declaime, and Guilty Simpson, further solidifying his impact as a collaborative force in the genre. His skill and dedication as a producer showcase his ability to nurture and develop talent throughout the hip-hop community.

Oh No’s role as a DJ also contributes to his ongoing influence, helping shape the sound and direction of contemporary hip-hop. His versatility and skill in this capacity enabled him to create memorable performances and further develop his legacy as an innovative figure across various aspects of the music industry.

One of Oh No’s most notable contributions is his involvement in several hip-hop duos. He is half of the hip-hop duo Gangrene with record producer The Alchemist, and in another duo, The Professionals, alongside his brother Madlib. These collaborations have produced multiple successful albums, demonstrating Oh No’s ability to work synergistically with other artists and build upon their collective strengths.

In addition to his work within duos, Oh No has also engaged with diverse acts such as girl groups. By working with a variety of artists and incorporating different styles into his music, Oh No has managed to create a multifaceted and lasting impact on the broader hip-hop scene.

Throughout his career, Oh No has showcased his talent and maintained a solid foundation in the ever-evolving world of hip-hop. As a rapper, record producer, DJ, and collaborator in various duos and groups, his influence can be felt across many aspects of the genre. His work with Stones Throw Records and various artists has only further cemented his unique and significant place in the hip-hop community.

Frequently Asked Questions

Rapper Oh No’s top songs?

Oh No, born Michael Woodrow Jackson, has released numerous tracks throughout his career. Some of his popular songs include “Move Pt. 2” with J Dilla and Roc C, “Run On Sentence,” and “Oh Zone.” Collaborations with The Alchemist in their duo, Gangrene, have also produced well-regarded tracks like “Chain Swinging” and “Dump Truck.”

Oh No’s musical influences?

Oh No comes from a musical family with his brother Madlib, who is also a notable producer and rapper. Madlib’s influence, along with other established artists like J Dilla and Roc C, has helped shape Oh No’s musical style. His sound is often characterized by its unique sampling methods and a blend of various musical genres.

Oh No’s TikTok song origin?

The “Oh No” TikTok song is not directly related to rapper Oh No. The viral track on TikTok titled “Oh No” is a different song created by Kreepa, which has gained immense popularity on the platform.

Who produced Oh No’s tracks?

A majority of Oh No’s tracks are self-produced, as he is also an accomplished record producer. However, he has collaborated with other producers such as The Alchemist, particularly in their duo Gangrene. For specific tracks, production credits can be found within individual album information.

Oh No collaborating artists?

Throughout his career, Oh No has worked with various artists, including his brother Madlib, J Dilla, Roc C, and The Alchemist. He is part of the duo Gangrene with The Alchemist and forms another duo named The Professionals with Madlib.

Oh No’s popular albums?

Oh No has a diverse discography with several popular albums. Some notable albums include “The Disrupt” (2004), “Dr. No’s Oxperiment” (2007), and “Dr. No’s Ethiopium” (2009). He has also released collaborative albums with The Alchemist under their duo Gangrene, such as “Gutter Water” (2010) and “Vodka & Ayahuasca” (2012).

From the archives

Elemental Magazine Vol 6, Issue 62(2004) Elemental Magazine Issue 62 (2004)

Saying that Mike Jackson, a.k.a. Oh No, is prolific is pretty much an understatement. The Kali Wild representative and Oxnard resident is more like a man on a mission somehow finding time to crank out up to sixty beats a month, record over forty songs for his debut, work on collaboration projects with practically everyone he meets, play a few video games and still spend time with his children. He also happens to be Madlib’s little brother, which begins to explain his work ethic and propensity to rhyme, DJ and produce. And when your dad is heading up a jazz band and your mom is a songwriter, music is always around so its inevitable that some of that talent is gonna rub off. He recalls following in his brothers and sisters footsteps playing his dad’s old records but gives Madlib the credit for getting him into hiphop and ultimately production and emceeing.

“I wasn’t even feeling hiphop at first,” admitted the budding producer. “I was real young and playing video games but I started listening to it more because we shared a room and he kept playing it. I was hearing Run DMC and hearing him and my sister rapping over the instrumentals, so I’d be at the table trying to rap with them too.”

As his siblings became more entrenched in hiphop he followed suit. Anytime a new piece of equipment came into the home he’d play around with it in his free time, but once Madlib got the SP-12 things got a little more serious.

“When he got the SP-12 it was really on,” Oh No confessed. “I’d mess with it when he was gone. When he started finding out I was making beats on his equipment he got real hot and was like you can’t go in there no more and started locking his room. So I’d go in there with the good butter knife, unlock it and have all kinds of beats. I’d have beats off of his records before he could make them. When he moved out, he took his equipment with him so I had to get my own shit. But instead of buying the SP-1200 I went and bought an MPC 2000 and started getting my own shit and flipped it different.”

With his new MPC, the youngest Jackson started making beats on a regular basis and carving out his own identity. Like his brother, he had a love for beat making but his interests also including partying and video games. He spent just as much money and energy beat digging as he did beating Zelda and collecting new games and peripherals. He even made his own four-player controller so he and his kids could play together. On top of that, he was working a full time job that significantly cut down his opportunities to make music even more. So to get things done Oh No decided to set up shop at work and get some tracks done on the clock.

“I used to work at this job helping mentally disabled citizens for six and a half years,” he revealed. “I was pulling eighty hour work weeks. I’ve done twenty-four and thirty-two hour shifts there. It would be so much that I’d just take a crate of records, unhook all my equipment, take it over there and make beats while everybody was asleep. When they would wake up I’d unhook it, put it back in my car, get home and start doing it there until I fall asleep on the floor.”

Nowadays even without the 9-5 he is still incredibly busy but it’s beats and rhymes that are taking up all of his time. Hiphop is an escape and a release for Oh No and depending on his mood you might find him driving down the street writing rhymes or locked up in the lab hammering out ten or twelve beats. Whichever it is you had better believe he is having a great time. “Music makes me happy so I like to have fun when I do music,” he explained. “If I’m going through crazy situations I don’t usually feel like writing so I’m in beat mode because I have all kinds of shit going through my head. That’s why I don’t like to write when I’m real stressed because it might come out crazy. I like to wait and think about it before I just spit it out. But after the bad times are over the shit starts pouring out because I can talk about it then. I basically talk about the situations I go through and make sure I’m styling on the track. If I’m feeling it I’ll be driving and have to write some shit down and have twenty bars done before I get to the spot, which is like ten minutes away. The other day when I got all the contracts straight with Stones Throw I went and wrote five verses that day.”

With the beats, he is just as quick and actually practices to make them even faster. “When I make beats, though I’ll just go in there and clown real quick and do one in like a minute,” Oh No continued, speaking on his recording process. “I’ll just pull out four or five records and I’ll throw it on real quick and go right to the first thing and just sample it. I’ll pull out a record and I’ll find drums right away. As soon as I make that one its time to makes some beats. I’ll make a beat, listen to it for a little bit, lay it down, go to the next one and not even mix it. Then I keep doing it like that. At the end, I’ll mix em down real quick, pop em on a CD, go back out to the car smoke some blunts and listen to it. If I do thirty or forty beats in a month I’m cool with that and then I’ll move onto the next month and forget about last month. I’ll go 50-60, sometimes 20-30 depending on how busy I am so when I do find them I can make something out of them. Other times I’ll just get some shit. My man Egon put me onto some Galt MacDermot and I took that shit home and made ten or eleven beats in one day. I constantly try to make a bunch of beats. If you came to my room there are CDs everywhere.”

While most of those CDs are instrumentals, a lot of them are old albums he’s recorded and new collaborations he just finished. Oh No likes to get things done fast and many times his work ethic is infectious and those working with him tend to get things done a little quicker. Everyone he meets gets hit with a beat CD and projects just start developing.

“I have albums with everyone that I’m meeting now,” boasted Oh No. “I have mad albums. I have albums with Madlib before I was even producing myself. Me and Grand Agent did a whole EP. I’ve been working a lot with Wise Intelligent from Poor Righteous Teachers and I just got done working with AG. Me and Aloe (Emanon) did a whole album, me and Kazi have a whole album and I did Declaime’s album coming out in November. With each person that I work with there is a different aspect. With Kazi he’s real raw so I wanted to make sure that every beat represented him. The one with Aloe Blacc is real jazzy because he is singing on it. It’s real mellow while the stuff I’m doing with Kaliwild is like a hiphop party.”

With so many side projects planned it’s easy to forget that Oh No is also dropping his debut album, “The Disrupt,” a mostly self-produced epic with a few tracks from Madlib and J Dilla rounding out the project. The album features guest vocals from Wildchild, Aloe Blacc and others but Oh No handles most of the mic time on the LP. This is only the first step because he already has a grip of songs recorded for the follow-up.

“I just wanted to put out something new that people haven’t heard yet,” Oh No declared. “I want people to know that I’m one of those producers who have a lot of shit. I made sure my album was real thorough. It has bonus songs and interludes so it’s not crazy cluttered. It’s about real life situations that people go through. You have people getting shot over here in the hood so I had to talk about that, I talk about politics but I also got a clubby joint on there. It’s everything on there. It’s a complete package.”

And if there are any extra special expectations or comparisons of his work because he’s Madlib’s brother Oh No is oblivious. He’s far too busy on the MPC to even realize that fans may very well be anticipating his debut. The beats he used are already years old so his attention is on outdoing what he has already delivered and elevating his ability for the next project.

“There might be expectations but the beats I’m doing now are gonna smash those,” he exclaimed. “I’m on a higher level than before and everything gets better. So if you think this album is tight then the next album is gonna be ridiculously sicker than that one cuz I’m already doing it. I have twenty songs done for it. AG and a few other people are on it but that won’t be coming out for a year and a half. The next thing that’s coming out is a compilation I’m doing with the Galt MacDermot beats. I ended up flipping thirty-three beats out of all that Galt MacDermot stuff so its gonna turn into a compilation and I’m gonna get all types of people on it.”

The Galt MacDermot compilation is only the tip of the iceberg. In addition to the previous compilations mentioned, he has a laundry list of other projects in the works or ready to drop. “I’m about to drop some instrumentals, I have a mix CD out but I’m about to drop another one,” began Oh No. “Me and my homeboy Rocc – C already have 17 songs done for our album and he has at least thirty something songs for himself. I have a new click about to come out which consists of me Aloe, Infamous, Rocc-C and Fry. Me and Fry and I have an album together that’s gonna be coming out pretty soon too. I did Elemental’s album and I just did another thirteen songs with him. Infamous’ album is dropping on the same date as mine and I did his whole album too. I’m also working with a cat named Approach from Kansas City who just dropped an album that I did a remix on. I gave him a beat tape and he is supposed to be sending back ten or eleven songs in a couple days so I’ll take those in and start mixing them down and have another album with someone else.”

Music isn’t the only place Oh No is staging his takeover. He is also looking into a few business ventures to spread himself around just a bit more. With a clothing line, a production company and label planned the amount of work released might actually increase ten fold.

“I’m about to start this clothing line with my crew Kaliwild and me and DJ Romes been studying the game for a minute and are about to drop a label on people,” the entrepreneur divulged. “Also I used to take video production and I ran into a couple of my partners who do that stuff now so I’m thinking about starting my own production company. I might start doing videos to keep it moving and get this hiphop out there. My goal is to put out good hiphop music just like how Primo did. He came up, put his click on, and did productions for other people just like Pete Rock, Dilla and Madlib. I’m following that route and hopefully I can take it to the plateau they did and work with them too as an emcee.”

I think it’s safe to say he’s off to a good start.