Release Date: Feb 24, 2017
Record label: Mello Music Group
Genre(s): Rap, Alternative Rap, Left-Field Hip-Hop
As with every Oddisee record, The Iceberg adheres to a high concept; in this case he's taking aim at the tendency to accept surface-level information and forget about underlying complexities. Much to his credit, and possibly disdain, the entire album can be enjoyed for its musicality alone; his production skills are on point as always, if a little less organic and broader-sounding than the more overtly jazz-leaning Odd Tape. However, much like an actual iceberg, the album's true mass lies in the underlying message, which Oddisee actively encourages the listener to consider -- see opening track "Digging Deep" -- and ultimately invest in for greater reward.
It's been almost a year since we heard a solo effort from DC rapper/producer Oddisee; in 2016 he dropped his Alwasta EP, then followed it up in the summer with The Odd Tape, an instrumental album. His latest, The Iceberg, slides in almost under the radar amidst a slew of other flashy commercial releases over the last 30 days. True to his brand, though, it's more refreshing than coconut water in a drought. Over 12 self-produced tracks, Oddisee comments on everything from race relations and social injustice to gender inequality.
After sharing two singles from the project, "Like Really" and "Things," Oddisee (real name Amir Mohamed el Khalifa) has completed his journey and delivered the final 12-track product, The Iceberg , a clear return to the Washington D.C. artist's Hip Hop roots. His last project, 2016’s The Odd Tape, was purely instrumental and showed off his aptitude behind the mixing board, however, with this one, the Diamond District vet is rhyming on every track.
"I'd rather die than be complacent with the way that it goes," Oddisee declares on "NNGE," one of several tracks from his new album that aim to unravel listeners' tightly wound spools of indifference. At 32 years old, the rapper has been working at a steady clip without much fanfare for more than a decade. 2015's The Good Fight showed his fine-tuned, live-band sound; last year brought the instrumental Odd Tape , which highlighted his beat-making, and the anxiety-laden Alwasta EP, which foreshadowed The Iceberg .