[11 February 2010]
Instrumental hip-hop albums have been killing it over the past few years. It seems they have been going that way ever since the late J Dilla released his epic Donuts album before his death in 2006. Since then, we have heard fantastic records from Stones Throw brothers Madlib and Oh No, who were respectively dropping great albums well before ‘06. But it was their internationally themed records, especially Oh No’s Dr. No’s Oxperiment, that progressed this subgenre of hip-hop. Of course, those are just a couple of the many producers who rightfully gained more shine for their solo work.
Following in that path is Washington, D.C producer (and MC) Oddisee. This multitalented artist has steadily improved over the years while maintaining the spirit of Golden Age hip-hop. For the perfect example of that, look no further than 2009’s under-appreciated Diamond District album In The Ruff, which featured Oddisee, yU, and X.O. Oddisee wasn’t satisfied with riding the success of that record, as he has crafted free seasonal releases on top of his latest project, Traveling Man. This expertly crafted album, which screams to be played in your headphones, is an international hip-hop journey, in every sense. Oddisee actually created this while touring the globe: He crafted each song while in its respective city. As such, you can really feel the bouncy funk when listening to the Zapp-influenced “South Central”. Try not to get the chills as the breeze of Sweden creeps forth on “Stockholm”. Those are only a sampling of the 24 tracks offering a boom-bap trip across the world, from the handclaps and synthesizers of “Atlanta” to the jazzy grooves of “London”.