March 2020 was quite possibly one of the strangest months of my life. I had started to hear about a looming threat of a contagious virus, and it was beginning to spread across the United States. In my central Pennsylvania apartment, I was unsure if the impact of the virus would make its way into my life. However, within the course of a day, I went from living a normal life to quarantining and working from home. Instantly, I experienced a strange surge of uncertainty. During this time, I, like so many others, have consumed a massive amount of art in the form of television, movies, and music. Although there’s so much fear and anxiety about the future, I felt comforted by the distractions I could find.
However, it’s hard to escape reality for very long. Luckily, genius artists like Oddisee can use this worldwide health crisis to connect us through the comfort of music. The Brooklyn-based rapper and producer dropped his surprise EP Odd Cure, which was written and recorded during the early days of the quarantine in the United States. The entirety of the six-song collection deals with current global events, documenting the concerns and difficulties that we’ve been facing in recent months. Although the tracks deal with a very dark subject matter, they’re each incredibly catchy and original, proving that Oddisee can make wonderful music no matter the circumstance.
Oddisee showcases his roots in both Washington D.C. and Brooklyn hip hop throughout the album. One of the best examples is in “No Skips”, which takes on a very prominent influence from plenty of artists from New York. The groove is infectious and his flow is fabulous, and he builds a song that is perfect for driving and enjoying life. Tracks like “The Cure” and “Go To Mars” take on a smoother rhythm and blues sound. Both songs have incredibly catchy refrains that will get stuck in your head for days. In addition, Oddisee has a knack for layering his music perfectly, which is evident in these tracks. There are so many different moving pieces, such as involved guitar parts, backing chorus vocals, and solid bass lines. All of this creates astonishingly interesting music, and it instantly makes you want more.
My favorite track on the album is “Still Strange”. The song is possibly the most melancholy on the EP, but the chorus is absolutely beautiful. This track is also the one that blatantly discusses the current guidelines that have been established to combat COVID-19. In the first verse, Oddisee raps,
‘I lost my job, I’m non-essential maybe
Don’t wash your hands of me
We should be closer why are we distant
You hate what we’ve become but you’ll love what we plan to be’
These clever lyrics highlight the current daily life of many of us. Oddisee displays the hardships we’re facing but showcases them in a productive and artistic method.
Throughout the EP, Oddisee includes skits that involve telephone conversations. Each call is real and perfectly represents the way that many people are currently communicating with others. Although many of us are unable to see our friends and family, we still have methods to connect with them. During these skits, Oddisee speaks with his grandfather, grandmother, mother, friend, and manager. Each conversation is incredibly charming and reveals the similarities we all have during this unprecedented time. The EP ends with the call to Oddisee‘s manager, and I think this was a perfect way to end it. It involves Oddisee asking his manager about any touring plans, which is met with his manager saying ‘Touring is not happening just yet’. This short skit shows just how much our favorite artists are struggling with not being able to perform, as well as the difficulties the entire music industry is facing.
Odd Cure is definitely one of my favorite releases of 2020 so far. While there have been so many solid albums, I feel that Oddisee has truly captured exactly what this year will be remembered for. The lyrical content is a flawless summation of our global crisis, but it also deals with the many injustices that continue throughout the United States. Oddisee absolutely used his time in quarantine to build a strong release that can unite us, because many of us are experiencing the same situation in real-time. Perhaps, in years to come, Odd Cure will be the perfect piece of art to represent life in 2020.