Oddisee occupies a rare space in Hip-Hop of being not only a top tier lyricist but also just as adept as a producer and arranger. The Prince Georges County, Md. native spoke exclusively with Hip-Hop Wired ahead of an innovative live concert series taking place later today (Nov. 20), while touching on being an artist in the time of coronavirus, quarantining creatively, and more.
Speaking from an undisclosed location in New York, Oddisee sounded vibrant and focused with his signature professionalism as evident in speech as it is in his music. Forging his sound long ago in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., the thirty-something Oddisee will be one of three musical acts to perform for Rooftop Sessions, a joint venture between Vuse and Rolling Stone.
Given the fact Oddisee was prepping his set for his Friday show, he was still quite warm and gracious in our brief chat.
“This series was put together for us to do our part in bringing music to New York City and just to bring back the experience of live music in general,” Oddisee opens. “It’s something that we’ve all been missing, possibly one of those things we’ve taken for granted.”
He continued, “We didn’t know how much we missed it until we couldn’t go see our favorite artist perform. I’m happy to be part of an event that’s all about us doing our best to bring that back to New York as it is such a vibrant, musical town.”
The “I’m From P.G.” rapper also made mention that this concert series is also in support of a pair of charities in Sweet Relief Music Fund and the Musicians Foundation, with both receiving a split share of a $100,000 gift from Vuse.
Like many of his peers, Oddisee makes a lion’s share of his earnings on the road with well over 100 tour stops annually with his band, Good Compny. As touring has all but stopped not only here in the states, but around the world where he enjoys international fanfare, Oddisee did not mince words about the difficulty of maintaining a career apart from that major revenue generator.
“It’s been a trying time but also a great time because we’ve evolved and transitioned. You know how you have a dominant hand and a less dominant hand? This time that we’re in has forced me and many other people into making weaker aspects of their income stronger. The things you were less interested in before are now prominent. Things we didn’t know we were capable of, we can now achieve,” Oddisee explained.
For fans of Oddisee, a mere mention of his name and stellar catalog between his solo works, live recordings, and a pair of lauded albums with the DMV supergroup Diamond District, those in that grouping will certainly earn a seat at the cool table for referencing his works. Those same fans were certainly rewarded in the form of an “in the moment” EP in Odd Cure, a body of work crafted as a result of being shut down and quarantined away from family, friends, and loved ones.
Oddisee shared that after his performance in Bangkok, Thailand in March of this year, he had little idea it would be his last. He was hard at work on a new full-length but pivoted to Odd Cure as a way to put his feelings and the shifting of gears into the music. Since then, he’s embraced the new realities of being creative during the pandemic.
“My band and I, we’ve embraced the technology available to us and we do a lot of recording, practicing, and studio sessions together online,” Oddisee shared, giving away just a small portion of the secret sauce that has transformed he and his mates to a small grouping of must-see bands in the Hip-Hop space.
“What I hope, and what I expect is that fans tuning in and listening to Rooftop Sessions will feel like they’re in the front row with us. That feeling you get when you hear a live version of a song you know and love, I want to bring that Whether that comes from me, or my fellow performers Elle King or Cold War Kids [the other featured acts for Rooftop Sessions], they can expect to get that feeling again,” Oddisee concluded.
To purchase exclusive Rooftop Sessions merchandise, with artwork from New York’s Jose Berrio, please visit this link. Sale proceeds will benefit the aforementioned Sweet Relief Music Fund and the Musicians Foundation charities.
Vuse and Rolling Stone’s Rooftop Sessions kicks off Friday (Nov. 20) at 5 p.m. ET and can be viewed by following this link.
To learn more about Oddisee, click here.