The way I see it, every genre has a finite number of focal aspects. In the realm of hip-hop, there’s the production value, the poetic prowess within lyrical delivery, and the overall “vibe” that each song emits. All of these attributes mold together with the purpose of reciprocating a certain emotion or behavior among listeners, and it is difficult for one to exist without the others (in this genre, at least). Other more minuscule details exist, but these specific characteristics subjectively determine the likability of a hip-hop song for a significant portion of the listening public
Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, otherwise known as Oddisee, stands for all of the aforementioned commendable aspects of hip-hip and so much more. Almost entrepreneurial in his methodology, Khalifa has a streamlined approach to song creation where he represents every step in the process. Through personal sourcing of each song’s inspiration, production, and lyricism, he represents the manufacturer, distributor, and supplier in the song making process’s figurative assembly line. In fact, the Oddisee brand is not limited to hip-hop. Entire albums of Khalifa’s work lack any vocal inclusion, as several albums are acclaimed for their voiceless instrumental success found in Khalifa’s talented production ability.
When present, his lyrics have a clear inspiration and purpose in exclaiming his own existential morality. He strays towards an occasionally preachy message, bringing to mind a quote from Rust Cohle of the HBO series True Detective: “You know, people that give me advice, I reckon they’re talkin’ to themselves”. That isn’t to say Khalifa’s journey towards enlightenment is loathsome by any means. He is simply shouldering a significant amount of personal mental obstacles that he copes with by rapping through his broad-minded alter-ego “Oddisee”.