It’s only been a few years since Oddisee’s underground classic Tangible Dream. Tangible Dream delivered from beginning to end as an honest, ambitious, self-reflective, bold and confessional record. The Good Fight is a natural evolution from Tangible Dream with the exact same characteristics.
Oddisee’s usual concerns about relationships and where his art appears in a business that pigeonholes Black artists are two topics rapped about over jazz-inspired production. “That’s Love” dissects and appreciates the proverbial tough love. “When you told me the truth even if it really hurt, cause you knew a lie was worse. (That’s Love) when I had to learn the hard way and you would let me fail but never did out of spite. (That’s Love) When you were giving me advice that I seldom ever took. But your head never shook (That’s Love).”
Oddisee’s frustrations with being an esteemed backpacker in bed with a myopic marketing team is felt on “Want Something Done.” “I just had another phone meeting. Felt like I was all alone speaking, to the clones keeping Black music’s soul weeping. I’m a new angel and they only want the old demons. Glorify the music that’s abusive and a threat to us, and if you’ve got a message then your record’s just collecting dust.”
He goes on further to say, “What’s the difference between an auction block & cooning for applause? Either selling out or something that we can’t afford. It ain’t a plan to keep us poor, it’s just the plan to be ignored. Maybe I should collaborate and record with dudes. Only thing they think’s important is Jordan shoes.” Oddisee’s life lessons and industry critiques are never arrogant or preachy. His philosophical approach and boom-baptized beats and tones always meld together into a ceaseless head-nod.
Oddisee goes into the 11th round with perfect combinations thrown in “Fight Delays.” The song is a quick instructional on how the most successful underground emcees can make 6 figures despite the discouraging words of non-believers who rigidly follow the mainstream. He raps, “They told me this ain’t where the money at. It’s funny that, I heard that mess when I was coming back from another sale, they tell me I ain’t buzzing well. Last year I made well over 100 stacks.”
But it is “What They’ll Say” featuring Gary Clark Jr. & Maimouna Youseff that is the motto of The Good Fight in its entirety. He calls out and names his rap legacy as an enduring one that will outlast his life and will be respected because he fought for his individual voice amongst a tide of homogenization. If Kendrick Lamar took the torch from Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac, and Jay-Z passed the lantern to J. Cole, then Oddisee takes his light from Rakim and the Native Tongues.
The Good Fight is a sonic panorama of hip-hop’s classic ethos and Oddisee’s intuitive lyrics layered in soul, jazz, and African rhythms.
written by Uther Blakwhel @ [email protected]