Amir Elkhalifa, a.k.a. Oddisee, is an emergent standout in hip-hop. The Prince Georges County, Md., native says he made his new album, The Good Fight, as a reminder that music comes before hip-hop; that music can trigger indescribable feelings; that music is a meditation on our capacity to love; and, finally, that our ambition and greed are in constant conflict with our sense of propriety.
Simply put, Oddisee’s music is genius. He creates just the right amount of space, allowing it to breathe with perfectly timed cadences and vamps. His deceptively intricate rhythm tracks interlock with complementary harmonies and brilliantly constructed bars in ways that appeal to both diehard hip-hop heads — those who decipher and analyze lyrics as a hobby — and those who just want a clutch beat. He’s got it all.
- “That’s Love”
- “Contradiction’s Maze”
- “Belong To The World”
Producers: Suraya Mohamed, Maggie Starbard; Audio Engineer: Brian Jarboe; Videographers: Bob Boilen, Colin Marshall, Maggie Starbard; Assistant Producer: Michaela Gugliotta; photo by Colin Marshall/NPR