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Interview: Oddisee is a Breath of Fresh Air

Interview: Oddisee is a Breath of Fresh Air

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Human nature appreciates growth. There is something viscerally appealing to watch something develop; our brains crave the analysis. Eyesight is not always what's required to detect growth. The esteemed hip-hop producer and lyricist Oddisee has proven this with his seemingly limitless frame to grow into as an artist. 

His new instrumental project, The Odd Tapes, is yet another masterful expression of the many directions he can take without losing a sense of style and consistency to his sound. Beat wizards everywhere should be universally floored at the sheer production value and crafted layering of the album, but anyone with ears can immediately identify the smooth arrangements and complex instrumentation. The entire work encapsulates the auditory journey of a normal day in Oddisee's life.

“Every one of my records is always a theme, especially a lot of my instrumental work,” Oddisee said. “I try to get people to appreciate the narrative and help guide how to listen to it, and this one is no exception. With The Odd Tape, since I'm always trying to look for a theme with my instrumental records, I decided to do kind of an audio version of a day-in-the-life piece. There's always this relationship with audio and visual when it comes to instrumental albums, whether it was Traveling Man in an actual city, or Rock Creek Park where people can go to a physical park and listen to the music, all the way fast forward to The Odd Tapes where I want to basically see music in the day-in-the-life.”

Oddisee comes to Cincinnati as part of the 2016 Bunbury Music Festival where he will play on Saturday, June 4 at 3pm. He said that while there may be brief instrumental highlights in various points of his performance, it will be largely a vocal set. It is a chance to demonstrate his perhaps underrated lyrical talents and show yet another facet to his game. His musical artistry does not recognize or adhere to industry standards and playfully streams in any direction it wants. 

“I consider myself a hip-hop artist. I don't like to reduce music to beats and rhymes; I feel like no other genre of music does that but rap and it depreciates the value of what we're trying to do if the music is constantly stripped down to two elements,” he said. “I leave it up to other people to categorize me—I would never stop them from what they feel when they listen to my music—but I prefer to just be a hip-hop artist and just make music.”

In a free EP he released in March called Aswala, Oddisee seemed to sing a little more and deliver his lyrics with a wider range of notes than in previous works, but when he composes his pieces, he is not always aware of the shifts that wander about in his portfolio and enjoys hearing the various interpretations others have of his music.

“I just hear a track and write to the cadence that it tells me to, but it's nothing conscious to try to write something new.”

It's artists like Oddisee that breathe fresh air into the sometimes stale musical world of hip hop as a whole. He pushes himself and his diversity as a musician by intensely focusing on his craft and by clearly putting the music first. He echoed some of these sentiments when asked what developing artists can do to better reach their goals. 

“Be as objective as possible, listen to your music as if you didn't make it and don't fall victim to underdevelopment and overexposure,” he said.  

Enter to win a pair of weekend passes to Bunbury Music Festival HERE