Concert Review & Interview: In good company with Oddisee, a hip-hop oddity


Oddisee is an aberration on today’s hip-hop scene: a lyrical MC who travels with a live band and banks on thought-provoking texts on a solid melodic backdrop.

His live show is one to behold. On this Monday night at Lille Vega, Oddisee and Good Compny dazzled and literally blew out the microphones.

Check out the review, and then a few words from the man himself.

Give a hand to the band
Right from the warm-up act, in this case band member Olivier St Louis, the crowd were engaged, calling back the lyrics with the ladies and gentlemen battling on who could be the loudest.

As this carried on, the show developed a family affair feeling, and by the end of the night the audience knew every member of Good Compny.

Oddisee also took time to put the crowd ‘in the pocket’ and take them to his hometown of Washington DC, with some local ‘go-go’ tracks popularised in the region.

Star of the show
Seeing Oddisee flex his lyrical muscles on stage was a true joy as he controlled the audience like an MC in the truest sense.

From upbeat to pensive, the crowd was left with food for thought. That is certainly not always the case with a performance, and this one had entertainment value as well.

The tip of the Iceberg
Those there to hear cuts from Oddisee’s latest release, ‘The Iceberg’, were not disappointed.

The show was a party with many dancing along as well as singing along.

Oddisee did not ‘Hold It Back’, energising the crowd with anthems such as ‘Rights and Wrongs’ and ‘Things’. The audience were taken back with a rousing rendition of ‘That’s Love’.

At one point during the show, Oddisees slowed down his delivery and the beat for added impact.

EM: How does your Sudanese background play into your work ethic?

O: I think growing up in America with an immigrant parent shaped my perspective of opportunity. And it gave me a higher level of appreciation for any opportunity that I had. Because I knew, all too familiarly, a world without opportunity and I was constantly reminded of how thankful I should be for any opportunity. So, it definitely helped me understand how to appreciate chances in life and how to exploit them as well.

EM: What’s the role of lyricism and wordplay in hip-hop music?

O: That is hip-hop. I think lyricism is hip-hop. I think the genre is defined by speaking words on rhythm, not necessarily singing words on rhythm. It’s not another genre. I think that’s what defines rap – it’s the spoken word on rhythm that defines what rap is, so I think it’s extremely important.

EM: Having toured the world, what similarities do you see between people overseas and back home?

O: All of them. We’re not that different. Everyone wants the best life they can have. Everyone wants to be appreciated. Everyone wants assurance. Everyone wants satisfaction in life. It’s not that different. The basic necessities are obvious: food shelter etc. Everyone wants those things. The more and more I travel, the fewer differences I see in the world. We are very, very similar everywhere.

EM: What role does family play in staying grounded?

O: I think different things in life give people purpose. What gives me purpose may not give you purpose. I come from a culture that has a very high appreciation of family – it has a very big importance. So, family for me is everything. If there was ever a time I felt I didn’t want to do music or something else, it is family that tells me every day to continue. Because family is everything. My family is my reason for being here right now.

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