Washington, DC-born and Brooklyn-based emcee and producer Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, best known to hip-hop heads as Oddisee has developed a reputation for being a former member of The Low Budget Crew, as a current member of Diamond District, and for being an extremely prolific solo artist, who has effortlessly bounced back and forth between full-length, “traditional” hip-hop albums and instrumental, beat-based instrumental efforts comprised of elements of hip-hop, jazz, soul, and electronic music. Along with all of that, the Washington, DC-born and Brooklyn-based emcee and producer has also developed a reputation for being uncompromisingly difficult to pigeonhole.
Last month marked the release of Oddisee’s latest instrumental album The Odd Tape through Mello Music Group and if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the year, you may recall that I wrote about the album’s first single “No Sugar No Cream,” a J. Dilla-indebted track that was not only informed and inspired by the rhythms and patterns of his every day but subtly draws from the work of Roy Ayers, Bob James, Shuggie Otis, Fela and others. The album’s second single “Brea” continues in the same vein as “No Sugar No Cream” as boom-bap beats, rousingly anthemic horns, twinkling keys and a sinuous bass line are paired together in a production that feels and sounds as though it could have been released in 1973 as it does today; in fact, the song feels warmly familiar while subtly revealing a playful and unique artistic vision. Whereas “No Sugar No Cream” was the sort of song that feels as though it would be heard to start off one’s day, “Brea” is the sort of song that feels perfect for hitting the streets – it possess a sort of cooler than cool strut that’s infectious.
Directed by Ryan Calavano, the recently released music video’s concept is “a tribute to the unseen soul,” and as you’ll see throughout the video, the video’s protagonist is frequently shadowed by a ballerina who mirrors his movements with a gorgeous and dramatic flair. And despite the fact that the protagonist may appear to be down and out and hard on his luck, the man has an inner beauty and dignity.
2016 looks to be a rather busy year for the Washington, DC-born and Brooklyn-based producer and emcee as he’ll be embarking on a lengthy summer tour of the US and UK backed by Good Company — and he’ll be releasing a new solo effort slated for release in the fall. As for the tour, it includes an NYC area date at Northside Festival in June. Check out tour dates below.
Oddisee & Good Company (Full Band) Live Tour Dates
6/12/16 Northside Festival – Brooklyn, NY
6/25/16 Glastonbury Festival – Pilton, UK
6/27/16 O2 Academy – Oxford, UK
7/7/16 Les Ardentes Festival – Leige, Belgium
7/8/16 North Sea Jazz Festival – Rotterdam, Netherlands
7/9/16 Open Source Festival – Dusseldorf, Germany
7/10/16 Cactus Festival – Bruges, Belgium
7/16/16 Melt! Festival – Gräfenhainichen, Germany
7/19/16 Valkhof Festival – Nijmegen, Netherlands
7/23/16 Hip Hop Open Festival – Vienna, Austria
7/27/16 Blue Balls Festival – Lucerne, Switzerland
7/29/16 Appletree Gardens Festival – Diepholz, DE
7/30/16 Stuttgart Festival – Stuttgart, DE