This Wednesday, March 15, we are opening doors for Oddisee & Good Compny. Rap music that has a message that goes deeper than the usual talk on the mainstream records these days. Who are these guys and what is their game plan? Let’s find out!
Amir Mohamed el Khalifa (age 32), better known by his stage name Oddisee, son of an African American mother and Sudanese father, a rapper and producer has an interesting life story to tell. Raised by his father and stepmother, who also is Sudanese, he spend the first years of his life in Silver Spring, a small town in Montgomery County, Maryland. Referring to previous interviews it must have been a peaceful time growing up in this affluent environment. Oddisee was originally influenced by his parents heritages, combined with a hip hop influence from his older cousins. His very first role models were Eric B. & Rakim, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, he stated that these rappers don’t talk about drugs or murder, and he could relate more to their lyrics. In his song “You Grew Up” he is mentioning how he was trying to keep his Nikes clean when his best friend, who was white, was trying to scuff his Chucks up. This is where he first discovered the cultural differences between Caucasians and African Americans in the American society. From there they moved to Prince George’s County, one of the wealthiest African American counties in the nation but borders some of Washington D.C. area’s roughest parts. After high school he decided to move to Washington D.C. and work on his career as a musician.
He first appeared, with only 17, on Jazzy Jeff’s song “Musik Lounge” which was released in 2002 on the album “The Magnificent”. After that he started to constantly put out mixtapes, albums and was featured on several songs of other artists such as The Foreign Exchange, Kenn Starr, J-Live or Marco Polo. His “Odd Spring” mixtape was listed on the Washington Post‘s Best Local Hip-Hop mixtapes of 2010.
Any releases after that gained positive recognition by international media. His latest masterpiece “The Iceberg”, his third release in only 12 month, is about money, sex, politics, race and religion, which might sounds superficial until you hear how he is approaching these subjects. Deeply soulful, jazzy, Go-go, Gospel, thick R&B and hard beats all on one album. A poetic statement about our society today and the complexities of individuality and identity, how we see ourselves and how others see us. This guy brings personality back into Rap music.
But he is not coming just on his own! With him on stage at Gretchen his band Good Compny. Who are these guys and what is their relation? Well .. we did some research.
When Oddisee was prepping to tour his debut LP “People Hear What They See”, towards the end of 2011, he felt doing a typical DJ and MC live show would not do justice to the live element it deserved, as his production style consisted heavily of live instrumentation. What was needed was a live band! What better way to execute this than with the guys who played on the album? That is when Good Compny came to life. Although the name had not materialized until later, includes Jon Laine on drums/vocals, Dennis Turner on bass, Ralph Washington on keys/vocals, Olivier St. Louis on guitar/vocals, Richard Patterson on MPC and Oddisee at the helm as lead vocals. Besides Oddisee, these guys have an impressive resume themselves. Jon Laine and Dennis Turner, individually and collectively, have worked and performed with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, David Foster, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Omar, Dave Chappelle and many others.
Olivier St Louis is a singer/songwriter an has recorded and toured with well known producer Hudson Mohawke and platinum selling producer/DJ group C2C. Ralph Washington, an accomplished pianist has over 20 years of experience and has performed on Oddisee’s albums for 10 years, and Richard Patterson, a sound engineer by trade, is also a prolific Hip Hop producer landing production credit with Raekwon of the Wu-Tang clan in 2013. You see these guys are no newcomers and definitely professional in what they are doing. We are expecting an excellent live show and lots of goosebumps moments!