Washington D.C.’s own Oddisee (born Amir Mohamed el Khalifa) first became known for his talents as a producer, later on garnering respect as an emcee. Raised by his African American mother and Sudanese father, Oddisee was influenced by the socially conscious rappers his older cousins put him on to, such as Eric B & Rakim, De La Soul, and A Tribe Called Quest. He soon began experimenting with his own style, finding ways to incorporate beloved elements of East Coast rap with the Gospel and Go-Go records his father was always playing in the DMV. Spending his childhood summers in Khartoum learning Arabic and swimming in the Nile, Oddisee began to draw from his experiences both inside and outside of the suburbs in D.C. He began to share his story authentically utilizing the basement of his neighbor, Parliament-Funkadelic’s Garry Shider, to hone his craft. After convincing his business-minded father this was more than a hobby by way of placing the first check his music made him on the kitchen table Oddisee continued to let his work ethic, keen sense for entrepreneurship, and his talents do the speaking for him. Releasing his official debut in 2006, Foot in the Door, the project was mixed by Jazzy Jeff and later led him to Mello Music Group. With an expansive catalog of over ten albums, two compilation albums, and a handful of EPs and mixtapes alike, Oddisee is known for his eclectic style combining retro soul and hip-hop, as well as for his passionate live performances. Whether on the road by himself or with his group, Diamond District, Oddisee continues to not only evolve his sound and push his own creative boundaries, but also help cultivate the careers of other aspiring musicians through his work as a consultant.

I go by the name of Oddisee. Have been always. No other rap names prior. I'm a producer/emcee for Washington D.C. Now based in New York. Not based anywhere for too long these days but New York is where I call home. I guess I chose to move from D.C. to New York because of the proximity to industry. I didn't necessarily move here for hip hop. I wasn't ... I'm not here to quote unquote make it. More so to capitalize off of what I started already in Washington and New York is a great place for that.
You know, D.C. as amazing as it is for artists, it's not a place that nurtures artists and creativity outside of music. So, photographers, graphic designers, the other things that assist my industry and helping my career, you know, expand and progress. You hit a limit to somewhat in other cities. And you know, New York was so close. So, here I am where the majority of the interviews I do now I can ride my bike to or people just come over to my house versus them asking for an email to see when the next time I'll be in New York.
Touring constantly, all around the world. You know, I do a lot of gigs. Up to about 180 a year at sometimes. So yeah, I spend a lot of time living out of a suitcase, you know man?
Unknown Speaker: Yeah.
Oddisee: I produce, I rhyme, I mix, engineer. I show...I book my own gigs. I have always been a huge Native Tongue fan and specifically Tribe and De La. Those were like the groups that really spoke to me. You know, as a kid whose family moved from the inner city to the suburbs it was Tribe and the Native Tongues that let it be comfortable for me to embrace hip hop without it necessarily being street from a negative standpoint.
I definitely believe in being as direct to fans as possible so I'm very, very accessible. You can find me by just Googling Oddisee. O D D I S E E and the site will come up, the Twitter, Band Camp, et cetera. iTunes, et cetera, Last FM, you know, anything will come up on it if you just Google that name.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the newest edition of What You've Been Missing. Straight out of Washington D.C., it's your man Oddisee, one third of the Diamond District. My new album, People Hear What They See, is everywhere right now. Get it where you can, get it how you can. And the name once again, O double D I S double E. This is a Last FM session. Peace.

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