As a Hip Hop head born in 1986, my first favorite records of the genre were 2pac’s Dear Mama & Nas’s Nas Is Like (amongst of course many others), and ultimately while I transitioned through my youth I gained a firm admiration for the underground, where by the early 2000s I stumbled upon an unknown group named Little Brother on Napster (one of the best moments of my life) and before long LB & their Justus League movement was easily my favorite crew of the time period.
For those that may have missed that era of Hip Hop, LB was of course composed of Phonte, Big Pooh, & 9th Wonder - and their Justus League crew included artists and producers such as Median, LEGACY, Chaundon, Joe Scudda, Sean Boog, & Khrysis - who would all put out their own respective music which opened my ears to even more of their contemporaries. Out of those subsequent artists I arrived at the unofficial duo of Kenn Starr & Oddisee, which in turn was my official introduction to one of the best MCs from the DC area.
Amir Mohamed el Khalifa aka Oddisee was originally a part of a DC collective of musicians called the Low Budget Crew [which also introduced me to another great artist named Kev Brown, check out some of his best work right here], and once Oddisee got a placement on one of most incredible albums of all time in the name of Foreign Exchange’s Connected, the rest was history and I was forever a fan.
Throughout the years Oddisee has continued to grind and his cult following has grown as a result of his persistence, and his latest album The Iceberg is evidence that the veteran MC has truly only gotten better with time.
The Iceberg is critiqued track by track below
“Rights made wrong from a point of view, morality is relevant to what you're going through, on a high I'm a judge, on the low I'm like your honor, if you only knew the karma, you would light plea, I feel sorry for the people that are probably hated, cause when you take the time to understand the makings of a man, you comprehend that he's the sum of circumstance” Produced by Oddisee himself this is a nice instrumental that has all kinds of 💎💎💎 on it, definitely a good introduction to the album
“I want a lot more things, Biggie tried to tell me what a lot more bring, a headstrong man would take a lot more strain, seeing pleasure in the presence of a lot more pain”The single off the album is definitely one of it’s strongest records, in which Oddisee paints a picture of humanity’s shallowness and selfishness that puts it all in perspective. One more time for Oddisee on his own production 👏👏👏
Built By Pictures
“I'm a Phoenix, I went from ashes to classes, shoebox to plastic, credit could buy what ever imagined” More 💎💎💎 on another solid album cut
Hold It Back
“I'm asked to speak but not to tell the truth, anonymously in the credits you can check the proof, in the camera innovators and creators real, in the mirror imitators and the takers steal, that's a practice put in action that could win awards, yeah we love the frauds but hate the ones that really come with cause, moment of silence for me, I don't really need applause, think I’m loud enough when I’m alone in my inner thoughts” More 💎💎💎
You Grew Up
“My best friend back then was a white kid, we was tight he liked the same things I did, despite us being different colors, man, we were tight as Elmer's, and we called each other brothers” Storytellin raps that weave in & out of Oddisee’s real life experiences, this one’s another solid album cut that I’d recommend.
NNGE (Never Not Getting Enough) ft Toine
“I mean what is there to fear, I'm from black America this is just another year, if you're new to disrespect by your elected puppeteers, well let me show you how to persevere”Oddisee flames this revolutionary track that absolutely deserved the video treatment, press play and enjoy.
“Why you want to catch my eye, when you already know that I'm taken (nah like really), how you past due on payments, and I'm seeing you on vacation (nah like really)” More 💎💎💎 and this is some of the best production from Oddisee on the project, one more time for Oddisee handling his own production 👏👏👏
Want To Be
“I just want to be happy, I just want to be free, I just want to be left alone, I just want to be me” See above 🔥🔥🔥
This Girl I Know
“You ever love somebody that didn't reciprocate it, but they give you just enough to keep waiting, thinking maybe they might see you how you see them with patience, will come a day when they quit faking on the heart that you gave them” An ode to Hip Hop symbolized in a love interest that doesn’t love you back, let’s just say this is solid but Common and Brown Sugar still did it way better.
“Been a hot minute we ain't speak, been a little while we ain't fought, guess you doing better than the last time we met up, when you ran away from feelings getting caught” This one has interesting instrumentation but I can’t say this is Oddisee’s best production on here, overall this is a debatable skip
“I remembered when I discovered purpose, I was good at something finally worth it, told my father that I'ma be an artist, foreign parents don't understand we got newer options” All kinds of 💎💎💎 and one of the standouts on the project
Rights & Wrongs ft Olivier St Louis
“Two halves sittin on a one sided saw, roundabouts is how we get round it all, it ain't enough to have fair space between you and the hierarchy, wanna fight for some equality, but what about if you the boss, and the boss always pays the cost, how you feel about your pocket, now? You could never have it all and make everyone feel 10 feet tall, the rise and the fall must occur to all” The outro showcases DC native by way of Germany Oliver St Louis aka Oliver DaySoul, who over Oddisee’s incredible production absolutely steals the show. This one is all about perspective, and ultimately the perfect outro to a very impressive body of work.
Overall this album is filled with jewels and stellar production all provided by Oddisee himself, and for that fact alone he’s an artist worthy of far more admiration and respect. No matter if this album has any commercial appeal at all, this is another addition to an extensive catalogue of underground classics, and from front to back it’s a body of work that all Hip Hop purists will closely study and enjoy.