Those familiar with Illect Recordings already know Ozay Moore. Those who aren’t will be wondering what between time “The Between Time” EP comes between… and WHY. TBH I was wondering that myself even as somebody who’s known Illect for years now, so I appreciated the fact they gave an explanation in the press release.

“As fresh and current as it sounds, this updated collection of time capsules contains rare collabs, vinyl only and unreleased tracks which have all stood the test of time.”

Alright Illect, I feel you. What they’ve done here is crafted a “Greatest Misses” of sorts. While Ozay Moore is busy working on his next project, they’ve taken the time to fill out a short release with things that he’s previously done, which for one reason or another you may not have heard before now. The quality of such compilations is directly proportional to the artist featured on it, but even the best of those albums can at times leave you disappointed by the songs they DIDN’T include on it.

In this case Ozay Moore may actually benefit from you NOT being familiar with him. If you already knew Ozay or were following Illect closely enough to have heard all of their “deep cuts” then these tracks might be a rehashed mishmash to you. On the other hand I feel like I keep up with Illect more than most, yet this is the first time I’ve actually reviewed Ozay Moore as a soloist. It’s not the first time WE have though given Ozay was previously known as Othello, and was one part of the Northwest super-group Lightheaded. As that Farmers Insurance commercial says after 20+ years of covering this rap scene, “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.”

You may notice there’s no parental advisory sticker on “The Between Time” EP. That’s not a mistake. Illect Recordings as a collective and individually are artists who espouse a more uplifting (and occasionally Christian) perspective. You’re not going to find “b***es and hoes” on an Illect release, nor “trapped in the trap” raps from Ozay Moore. On the other hand the pleasant thing about Ozay on songs like “Don’t Cry” is that he’s not shoving his values down your throat. He’s just spitting a message over a smoothed out funk track courtesy of Stro Elliot.

“Don’t cry for me
I’m probably, the opposite of what you tryin to be
Full time job, wife, two cars, two kids, mortgage
Praise the Lord I afford it through supplemental income off recording
Instructing the youth cause we overlook the importance
Trayvons across America but we ignore ’em”

While the solo tracks like the feature above along with the Courtland Urabno produced “Catch 22” and “Head Space” give you the best chance to get to know TAFKA Othello, it will be hard to resist the appeal of the super bumping “Active Balanced Remix” featuring Mayer Hawthorne and Now On, or the down and dirty Newcleus background of the speedy “Royalty Rmx” produced by Ess Be featuring Miles Young. The latter is a tale about a fly lady and a lot of money, but it’s not what you’d expect if Rick Ross is the first thing that comes to mind.

You’d have to completely stop paying attention to miss the fact that Ozay Moore (and again Illect as a whole) make rap music you’d be comfortable playing around your kids (if you have any). That undoubtedly reflects the fact Ozay is a father himself, but I think it’s also undeniably a facet of his personality — he’s just a positive-minded dude in general. He comes by it in a natural unforced way. He’s not trying to be “a good Christian” just to appeal to a target demographic, and none of what he says comes across corny or trite as a result. If this is your first time hearing Ozay Moore, don’t let “The Between Time” be your LAST time.

Ozay Moore :: The Between Time EP
7.5Overall Score