Gracious and unapologetically himself both on and off the stage, Oddisee delivers everything you would want in a modern music maker. As a seasoned producer and MC, he creates songs that make you move and make you think. With a full live band and a rhythmic flow, Oddisee lit up The Public Assembly in Brooklyn in late October.
He played several songs from his most recent project, ‘People Hear What They See,’ where jazz and funk-inspired tracks lead the listener through a personal journey. The intimacy forged through Oddisee’s music was even more apparent live than on the proverbial vinyl — if you looked out into the crowd, you could tell that every person in the room felt the wordsmith vibing with him or her on an individual basis. Connecting with a diverse and expectant Williamsburg audience, it’s no wonder the DC rapper has experienced such success.
After the show, we were able to ask him a few questions – here’s a taste of what we got:
For people who may not have heard of you before, what is one thing you want them to know about you, your music, what you’re putting out?
Cool. To sum it up, I’m a producer/MC from Washington D.C. of Sudanese-American background. I started rhyming first, got into beats, beats paid the bills, favored it, once I got good I started rhyming again. I put out a ton of records that are very eclectic; most of my inspiration comes from my travels. So everywhere that I go finds its way back into my music, helping me progress and evolve naturally without having to be too contrived. But at the root of all of my music is soul, and coming from Washington D.C. soul music is very important — and that was the key element that sews all of my journeys through different genres of music together — you always hear that element of soul.
Okay, so what’s been your favorite place that you’ve been so far? The most inspirational trip you’ve taken?
One of my favorite places to always go back to is Sudan. You know, it’s the birthplace of my people and I always feel that peace there. You know whenever I go back home, different things matter, it always resets me on what’s important in life…
So where do you see yourself fitting into the current Hip Hop landscape? I know a lot of people know you as a producer first and then you came back into rhyming a bit, how do you see yourself fitting into that?
I think the lane that I fit in right now is conscious Hip Hop without it being too preachy. You know, it’s a bit more mature so people can grow to it. I think that all different kinds of music are necessary, especially all forms of Hip Hop; we needed to be a bit ignorant, we needed to be club-oriented, and we needed to be thought-provoking, the only difference is there’s no balance on the radio. I think the lane that I fit is that music that when you’re leaving the club or you wake up the next morning, you want to listen to me, without we me beating you over the head with a message — real life stuff.
After watching Oddisee literally step off stage to allow one of his bandmates and friends, Olivier DaySoul, to step into the spotlight and then speaking with the humbled rapper after the show, it became strikingly clear that it is all about the music for the ever-thoughtful producer/MC. There was no hint of a pretentious rapper-ego, although he has the talent to back it up, and from a brief conversation with another member of the band and long-time collaborator, Ralph Real, a refreshing sense of artists making music for their people heightened my buzz. Hip Hop is most certainly not dead. In fact, she’s being resurrected by shows like these.
Needless to say, we’re excited to hear Oddisee’s future projects and you should be too. Check his music here and stay tuned for more coverage of his development on Metrojolt.