Motor City Rides

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If Detroit MC-producer Ohkang's record collection were a car, it probably would be a 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Brougham, which just happens to be what he actually drives. Both are testaments to the timeless style, energy and funk of the '70s.

Ohkang (originally Bomani Diop) bought the Cutlass for a cool $1,200 back in 2002. Since then he's revamped the engine ("It's fast as hell!") and his buddy Anthony took care of some major bodywork and gave the Brougham its amazing white-sparkle paint job in his own garage. The only thing missing is a turntable for Ohkang to spin some vinyl on.

A veritable librarian of soul, Ohkang's mad knowledge shines at his regular soul night (Thursdays at Northern Lights Lounge, 660 W. Baltimore St., Detroit) and on the tracks he produces with Blackreign and Blake Eerie, his partners in the group FunTouchables. When it comes to finding samples for tracks, Ohkang prefers 45s: "I'm just looking for something nobody else has sampled. Sometimes people only had one chance to make a single, so they poured everything they had into those songs."

What a lot of people don't know is that the 26-year-old Ohkang let go of his painting muse to pursue hip hop. He went to CCS for a year and had successful shows in Detroit of his large-scale Robert Rauschenberg-esque paintings. Then the music bug bit him. "Painting and music are the same thing, it's all layers — whether it's putting paint on paint or matching a snare and a kick with a sample."

His ride and records are pretty much the same thing too: "I'm just old-school, top-to-bottom — from music to cars to my life."

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