I don’t have smoking culture; I don’t have tattoo culture; I don’t have stripper culture; I don’t have drinking culture; I don’t have party culture. I don’t have a lot of the devices that a lot of the rappers who don’t live real life to talk about… I don’t have any of those things to lean on. I just have reality, and that form of reality isn’t necessarily the most popular way of making a living in the music industry. And I’ve never cared. – Oddisee
It’s just a few hours before Oddisee’s headlining show at Philadelphia’s Theatre of the Living Arts (TLA), and you can find him across the street at the local cheesesteak spot, Ishkabibble’s grabbing a cheesesteak. Though he’s released over 10 albums, toured the world extensively, and has been in the game for more than 15 years, he makes no regrets about being a common man, though with uncommon talents.
Born in Washington D.C., and raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Oddisee is the son of a Sudanese father and black American mother. A gifted beatmaker and lyricist, Oddisee’s most recent release The Iceberg explores what it means to be a Muslim-American in the era of Donald Trump, police brutality, sexism and more.
After a month long stint touring across Europe, Oddisee kicked off his U.S tour in Philadelphia’s Theatre of The Living Arts (TLA). Following an opening set from Oliver St. Louis, Oddisee took the stage, performing Digging Deep to the sound of trumpets, bass, and drums. After Digging Deep, Oddisee thanked crowd for being in attendance, and transitioned into Things – an up tempo song, with a melodic chorus that explores the internal conflict of wanting more "things," yet knowing the consequences of gaining more.
As a first generation Arab-American Muslim, Oddisee often cites his up bringing, as well as the struggles with racism and islamaphobia. This was most evident in his song Lifting Shadows – which discusses the life of an American-Muslim in a post-9/11 world, and the constant fear of being surveilled. Following Lifting Shadows, Oddisee transitioned into Hold It Back, a song that sees the artist respond to those that try to silence him, his message, and his music.
Showing his versatility as a songwriter, Oddisee performed Want to Be and That’s Love – both of which were obvious fan favorites, and up-tempo dance songs. Continuing the tradition of his native Washington D.C. – Oddisee closed with Nnge – an ode to the D.C. Maryland, and Virginia area, filled with heavy percussion and a funky bassline.