Best Hip Hop Album of the Week (Jan 20th - Jan 26th, 2023)
First off I wanna say pardon for taking a little longer to post this "Hip Hop Album/EP of the Week" selection. This past weekend I celebrated my Birth Day so I was a bit preoccupied, also very important to note, this album selection took a long time to listen to and decipher so that was a major factor in why this post came so late. Anyway here it goes: Read below....
This anticipated New Album from talented D.C. Native Emcee, Producer "Oddisee" entitled "To What End" came out on Friday January 20th, and delivered wonderfully upon expectations.
The production is rich with live instrumentation and certainly soulful throughout the entire project. The beats on the album are mainly handled by Oddisee with additional instrumentation by Ralph Real (keys), Dennis Turner (bass), Olivier St. Louis & Saint Ezekiel (guitar) Jon Laine (drums) and others contributing on the strings. Also the beat to the song "Bartenders" is provided by Dunc. The lyrics on the album are written mostly from a stream of consciousness approach and reflect on a variety of topics from Oddisee related to his growth and journey as an individual/artist, reflecting on lessons learned, persevering, overcoming challenges, achieving new goals and much more. A simple summary of what I think the lyrical message of each track represents is detailed later below. All of the songs on the album are pretty dope and I don't think any of them are worthy of skipping. My favorite tracks however are "How Far", also "Choices" which features dope verses from Phonte, Kay Young and special vocals from BeMyFiasco. I also enjoy the song "More To Go" feat. Singer C.S. Armstrong, the track "All I Need" feat. Olivier St. Louis, and "Bartenders" feat. Toine. All of the other tracks are easily dope as well. The music throughout the full album is rich in quality and soulful, and you could tell that Oddisee really put a lot of effort into this project, not just from a production standpoint but also from a lyrical perspective. He plays with different flows and different melodic approaches to his vocal delivery. It even seems like he's doing some prominent singing on the hooks of certain tracks. One thing for certain is that his vocals are consistently delivered smoothly. The lyrics offer a lot to unpack and can seem dense on the surface but they are not really that difficult to grasp if you take the time to listen. I find that using a site like genius to read along the lyrics can be a helpful guide. To make the grasp a little easier, check out my breakdown below of each track in regards to what I think its lyrical message is displaying (This is just my opinion based on my general observation of each track)
The Start Of Something - A song about Oddisee's journey of growth as an artist, reflections on lessons learned and wisdom gained.
I don’t have enemies just misunderstandings
If you were ever a friend to me, you would understand it
Quote me when your backs against the wall and the worst could happen, You might not beat the odds but you got to meet the odd
How Far - A song about defying the odds of racism and overcoming despite coming up in the hood. It addresses the reality of racism and it's effects in America. It also appears to touch on how hip hop music has transcended racial boundaries
Many Hats - A song about Oddisee persevering through challenges and sometimes masking pain to look good
Already Knew - A song about the visionary mindset and confidence Oddisse felt he always had. He always knew he would go progressive places and be successful even at times when he wasn't fully aware the path he would be embarking on
Seeing is believing I was dreaming bout achieving
Something I ain’t have a reason to forsee that I would be in
Choices: A song about making the right choices and understanding the consequences that may come by pursuing otherwise
You could choose to politic it or choose to keep it real, and still get your whole family shot like olan mills
My friends in low places, keep me in high spirits
So I’m out
Try Again - A groovy and motivational song about continuing to persevere and not giving up
Ghetto to the Meadow:
A song about overcoming the jungle of the ghetto to pursue better living situation, features a dope verse from Emcee "Freeway"
More To Go:
A song where Oddisee is reflecting on his journey thus far (the many lives he's lived), how far he's come and how much more he has to go (feat. a dope and melodic vocalist contribution by C.S. Armstrong)
All I Need:
A song about putting your wants vs needs in perspective and being content and happy with all you already have. Oddisee reflects on what this message means to himself. The singing contributed by Olivier St. Louis on this track is amazing as well
Quotables: Post Chorus
Don’t try to convince me that I need it when I got it
Don’t try to convince me I ain’t got it
If I’m breathing than I got it
I’ve been good this long without it
I ain’t buying what you selling fact you yelling make me doubt it
Bartenders - A raw display of clever bar trading between Oddisee and longtime Emcee collaborator Toine. Beat is produced by Dunc
Work to Do - A song about being comfortable with evolving and progress despite people wanting you to remain like they've known you before. Having humility for your past but still moving forward. Also an awesome vocal contribution by Bilal on this song!
People Watching - A song about Oddisee wanting to be free from judgement and being boxed in by how people perceive him to be and want him to react in person and in public
Hard to Tell - A song reflecting on previous relationships/experiences and the wisdom Oddisee's gained as he's grown as an individual. The music is richly soulful, with the violin instrument is prominent in the production
Bogarde - A song with a Go Go style hip hop beat (homage to the signature Go Go music sound native to D.C. where Oddisee is from) where Odisee and Noochie rhyme about going hard (Bogarde) and having the resiliance to continue persevere coming from the ghetto
The Way - A song about Oddisee's love interest and admiration for a special woman. Likely his significant other
Race - A song about Oddisee's continuous ambition and desire to achieve new goals (which feels like a race) but he also is aware of the importance of finding balance and a piece of mind despite his desire to keep up his race to new achievements and success
The new album by Oddisee entitled "To What End" is now available on bandcamp and dsps via Outer Note Label. Check it out now
Post written by: Cril of Out Da Box Media