8th May | Fleece
You’d be a fool to skim over this as a preview for just another rapper. Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, aka Oddisee, produces edible instrumentals and enlightened bars that fill you like a slice of humble pie.
Born to a Sudanese father and an African-American mother, he grew up on a combination of Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, Annie Lennox and Barbara Streisand. But it was when he heard A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders that he decided, “I don’t want to just listen to this any more, I want to be a part of it.”
You could argue that growing up next to Funkadelic’s guitarist, Garry Shider is enough to ignite musicianship in anyone, but you can’t build a genius through walls. Oddisee’s original mixtapes, released back in 2005, are a testament to his carefully-carved skills and dedication to ensuring instrumentals do all the talking on their own.
Experiencing contrasting cultures as a kid in Washington DC – going to mosques during the week with his dad and churches on the weekend with his mum – could be why he has such a worldly awareness in his lyrics. He’s been on a solo journey for over ten years now, as well as being part of the conscious rap crew, Low Budget, who are also worth you checking out. His latest album released in 2017, The Iceberg, sporting lyrics like, “I’d rather die than be complacent with the way that it goes,” he’s a rapper whose forceful journey you want to be a part of.
See Oddisee perform ‘Like Really’ for COLORS here: