Oddisee churned out a number of quality releases in 2011, his Odd Seasons and Rock Creek Park projects showcased the DC rapper/producer’s talent in both the beat-making and rhyming department. People Hear What They See shines light on Oddisee’s storytelling abilities, the debut full-length album plays like a set of interesting, reflective and self critical anecdotes which have been collected on journeys and missions all set to a truly cinematic soundtrack. Oddisee occasionally enlists vocal support for the album with Diamond District’s X.O, yU, Oliver Daysoul and London’s Tranqill all popping up for well placed vocal cameo appearances.
People Hear What They See is a mature body of work from the DC native. Its tracks have an effortlessly timeless sound, with Oddisee’s rich and layered production providing the perfect backdrop for his alliteration- filled verses on the world and its complex workings. Relationships, love, artistic license and money are subjects that all pop up regularly. It’s difficult for me to pinpoint individual tracks from this album, but if pushed I would have to single out the funk inspired “The Need Superficial” featuring Oliver Daysoul. It serves as a perfect example of Oddisee’s smooth production techniques. It has precise placement of percussion and what sounds like live bass to create a Maze-like funk beat for the laid back retrospective, love- lost vocals. Or, perhaps “American Greed”, a track which was apparently inspired by a heated conversation Oddisee witnessed between two financiers on the steps of the US Supreme Court. The track breaks down under no uncertain terms, Oddisee’s thoughts and feelings on the badly balanced global wealth distribution over a surprisingly rugged beat.
It should go without saying that this is a highly recommended album. I have been playing it continuously since receiving it and I’m not showing the usual overplaying symptoms that I experience with many other artists’ releases. People Hear What They See has a timeless sound both lyrically and musically. Oddisee has clearly developed and evolved with each release from the Mello Music Group and this album continues the trend. It’s flawless down to the simplistic artwork. Oddisee’s debut album will remain getting the regular rotation it deserves.