Hip-Hop knows no boundaries and Amir Elkhalifa aka Oddisee is a living proof.
AlWasta is Oddisee's latest EP and was released March 23rd this year on Mello Music Group. For those who might be unfamiliar with the name, Oddisee is a producer and emcee of Sudanese origin from Washington, DC and currently based in Brooklyn, NY.
Oddisee has been a prolific artist whose journey started in 2005 with an instrumental mixtape. He has since released twelve albums along with thirteen EPs either as solo works or in collaboration with artists such as Trek Life or Heralds of Change. The new EP is available for streaming for free on the artist's Bandcamp or on his Soundcloud and it can be purchased on a name-your-price basis.
AlWasta is composed of seven tracks all written and produced by Oddisee himself with additional keyboards, vocals, bass and drums by his fellow Good Compny bandmates as well as additional guitars by Olivier Saint Louis. The artist's friend Safia Elhillo explains that the EP takes its title from the Arabic colloquial term that can best translated as “the plug”. The term “wasta” comes from the arabic word “wasat”, which means “middleman”, and is used to describe a member of the community who acts as a connector using its wealth of social currency. The artist's primary inspiration for AlWasta was understanding the value of social currency and how to use it either for better or for worse.
Throughout this record, Oddisee addresses a variety of subjects. Among others are the carelessness that seems to have installed itself in our society towards others, the condition of Muslims in the U.S. and the persistent xenophobia they have been subject to over recent years and his rise to fame as a rapper by illustrating how power can be both a weakness and a strength.
He is currently wrapping up a U.S. Tour with his band Good Compny and has some shows scheduled in Europe in late June and July at festivals in the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland. They will also be opening for Method Man and Redman in Paris on the 2nd of July.
This video entitled “Pardon My French” will give you some insight on 48 hours the artist spent in New Orleans and shot by @toinejameson.
Make sure to visit his bandcamp page if you like what you heard and to follow him on Facebook. As a head's up he intends to release a new instrumental album later this month as well as a new album in the fall later this year.