Written By: Fletcher Bonin
Oddisee takes on a political theme for his latest studio album entitled The Iceberg. Being based in Washington, DC it is likely that the current political landscape is a heavy influence on his music. He is a thoughtful and creative rapper, his lyrics fascinating combinations of intriguing ideas and a vivid vocabulary. His smooth flow is backed up by colorful jazzy electronic backbeats. His music is upbeat and fun without being shallow, the quality of his lyrics giving serious depth to each song. The Iceberg with features twelve luminous tracks will delight fans of mainstream and underground rap alike. His sound is undeniably appealing and his message is universal.
A college level course could be taught on Oddisee’s lyrics. Especially on this latest album, he uses his songwriting ability to challenge our perceptions and encourage us to question the system, political and otherwise. While his music is content heavy and vocally charged, this is not to say that it isn’t light enough to be simply enjoyed. Rather, the smooth instrumentals and steady trip of his voice lend themselves to a very laidback sound, perfect for sinking into the chair and bobbing your head as you untangle Oddisee’s clever lyrics. Fans of Childish Gambino, Chance the Rapper and Noname will appreciate Oddisee’s strategically offbeat sound and earworm flow.
Oddisee released three tracks as singles prior to the album release and each one successfully teased the unique sound he brings to The Iceberg. These three tracks, some of my favorites off the album, are ‘Things’, ‘Nnge (ft. Toine)’ and ‘Like Really’. Oddisee never slacks, never taking a track off. Each one is painstakingly arranged and lyrically meticulous, replete with allusions, clever turns of phrase and thought provoking ideas. His heavily psychological objective on this album makes for some truly high quality music.
My favorite track, on which I think Oddisee really shows the extent, as well as the limitless potential, of his lyrical talent, is ‘Hold it Back’. He raps,
“On this song I’m gonna tell you how I feel, being quiet is a crime, fake G’s doing time, I’m not the only one to notice that, I’m cutting all my ties, it’s time to stop holding back.”
This leads to the chanted, repeated refrain sung in tenor, “hold it back”. But it is later in the song where his lyrics pinpoint more heavily a societal issue and an unfortunate trend. He raps, “I make more than my sister, cause I was born as a mister, and I ain’t never went to college and she graduated honors and yet boss’s still think I’m better fit.” Oddisee is a vocal and outspoken rapper unique in his observant and politically-charged flow. Enjoy yourself and think critically while you work your way through his complex, unique lyrics.