Oddisee, Headrow House

Honest, humble hip-hop artists like Oddisee are so underrated and under-discussed, with money-driven, ten-a-penny rappers stealing chart limelights and commercialising the genre.

But it’s when you dig into the underground from the mainstream rap scene that you hear the best beats…

With Oddisee’s rhymes and production being so on-point, no fan’s turning down an intimate Headrow House gig. Back in early May, I was lucky enough to see this guy perform to a modest but genuine crowd. People knew his songs, they wanted to hear him speak, and everyone was really welcoming.

Oddisee’s really got his finger on the pulse politically, not just musically. He doesn’t just want to rap; he wants to engage about the history of Sudan — where his father originates — Trump-based rants about the price of post-wall avocados, how he grew up with his DJ, etc.

I’d always rather see a major artist on a small stage, and Oddisee was on it that night. 2017’s ‘The Iceberg’ was a big, rinse-worthy album for me, so having ‘Digging Deep’, ‘Things’, ‘Hold It Back’, ‘NNGE’ and ‘Like Really’ unfold in front of my eyes and ears was properly special.

Oddisee went through his back catalogue as well, but his newer tracks stood out more for me. He’s a time-keeper as well, so we got a full hour of material before he headed off. Although I could’ve listened to his tunes all night, what I heard was sweet enough.

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