Thought provoking DC rapper Oddisee has released more than ten albums since 1999 both solo and as part of hip hop groups Diamond District and Low Budget Crew. He performs tonight at 330 Ritch along with songstress Jimetta Rose.
When you first got your start, your first big release was with Jazzy Jeff, how did you link up with him?
I linked up with Jeff through my man Kev Brown who was working on some tracks with Jeff and invited me up so I could play my music for him. It was a great experience, being in a nice studio setup and having your music listened to by a legend.
You’re also in the group Diamond District, what’s the difference between your solo work and those releases?
I have a lot of production styles that I go through and Diamond District is more a boom-bap sort of sound but my sound with myself is a sum of all the different styles of music I like to produce on one record.
Oddisee “You Know Who You Are” ft. Oliver Daysoul (Acoustic Version)
You spend your time between Washington, DC, Brooklyn and London. Why those three cities?
I’m from DC, I moved to NY and when I do European shows I don’t like to fly home in between so I use London as a base to do my work overseas.
I’m such a creature of habit and no matter where I go I feel at home, I wake up and literally do the same thing in every city I’m in. Go outside and get a cup of coffee and something to eat then come back and do work. For me it’s not a big difference so much.
The music you write doesn’t have elements of violence and gunplay like a lot of other hip hop, how do you avoid that?
Well it wasn’t my life. Prince Georges County, Maryland is home to the wealthiest black population in America and it’s also home to one of the largest economic gaps so there are extremely rough or nice parts of PG County.
My parents are divorced and my mother comes from the hard part. My dad took me and raised me in the nicer part so I have a Fresh Prince of Bel Air type of story. So it wasn’t hard to stay away from it.
As your popularity has grown over the past year what have been some of your favorite experiences?
Touring with my friends, my band are my closest friends. Unfortunately my band won’t be coming with me on this trip out west but touring with that has been the greatest experience. Seeing the world with my friends, I couldn’t ask for more.
What’s next for you?
Oh, a lot of things. I’m gonna continue licensing my music, Diamond District’s second album March on Washington, got a compilation coming out and a lot more touring.
Oddisee & Jimetta Rose perform live tonight, November 7 at 330 Ritch. More info.