“Moment of silence for me, I don’t really need applause, think I’m loud enough when I’m alone with all my inner thoughts.”
For me, this line within the first verse of “Hold It Back” on emcee Oddisee’s latest project encapsulates the album’s getting-stuff-off-my-chest narrative.
A self-described introvert, the D.C. rapper has long been an advocate for shattering mental illness stigma, especially within the context of urban communities which he notes often suppress emotional expression.
“Whether it be hip hop or any other aspect, there’s a fundamental issue in urban environments…that don’t allow you to be expressive or articulate emotion because it’s a sign of weakness, therefore you are never able to talk about mental illness in the first place, ’cause it’s also seen as a sign of weakness,”
posed Oddisee in an interview with Soul Culture as a part of their #OKNotToBeOK campaign.
People seem to be gravitating, with good reason, to ‘Things’ as an anthem of sorts that the rest of the record is built upon, but I’m not convinced that’s the case, though the lyrical content is an undeniable reiteration of the elements that permeate this album, which run the gamut from personal to political commentary.
Consider the the first track title, ‘Digging Deep.’ From the onset of the ‘Iceberg,’ we’re almost greeted with a fair warning that there’s more here than meets the eye.
Aside from the album’s namesake representing something whose substance is mostly submerged, with only a fraction visible above the surface, the artist’s name itself is an intentional double entendre.
Oddisee takes listeners on an odyssey with everything he produces, and this album seems to be a clever culmination of his usual introspection with a timely evocation of the convictions that shaped the perspective we see laid out in every stanza.
To simply call this another good Oddissee album would be akin to haplessly steering our ships through a dense, critical fog into the tip of The Iceberg.’
Sea what I did there?
Jazzy horns that Oddisee fans have become accustomed to facilitate his smooth delivery and wordplay, while more boom-bad instrumental elements help usher a sense of urgency, all of which result in a masterful work of art.
Proceed with caution, and put your ear to the ground. Oddisee’s got something to say.
‘The Iceberg’ is available for purchase on ITunes and Oddisee’s Bandcamp page.