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Born in Washington, D.C., to a Sudanese father and an African-American mother, Amir Mohamed grew up in Maryland, influenced by soul and rap as well as the myriad of musicians on both sides of his family. He was all set to attend the Art Institute of Philadelphia, however, to pursue visual art when a friend of his introduced him to hip-hop producing. He was so enamored by it that he changed his plans and concentrated on making beats, ending up with the track "Musik Lounge" on DJ Jazzy Jeff's 2002 record, Magnificent. Part of the Low Budget crew, which included fellow D.C. area MC and producers Kenn Starr, Cy Young, and Kev Brown, Oddisee released his solo debut, Foot in the Door, mixed by Jazzy Jeff, on Halftooth in 2006.
Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, better known by his stage name Oddisee, is an American rapper and producer from Washington, DC. He is one third of Diamond District. He is also part of the Low Budget Crew.Fox, Luke (December 2012). "Oddisee". Exclaim!. Hyden, Steven (June 3, 2012). "Oddisee". The A.V. Club. Zirm, Jordan (July 19, 2012). "Interview: Oddisee Talks About "People Hear What They See" And His Strategy To Remain Unknown". Complex.
Life and career
Oddisee was raised by his African American mother and Sudanese father. According to a National Public Radio interview with el Khalifa, Prince George's County is one of the wealthiest African American counties in the nation but borders some of the DC area's roughest parts. He moved to Washington after high school.
In 2010, Oddisee released Traveling Man on Mello Music Group. His Odd Spring mixtape was listed on the Washington Post's Best Local Hip-Hop mixtapes of 2010. In 2011, Oddisee released Rock Creek Park, which was ranked as a Mixtape of the Week by Stereogum. Odd Seasons, a collection of EPs released throughout the previous 12 months, was also released that year. He released the album titled People Hear What They See in 2012. The Beauty in All, his first instrumental release since Rock Creek Park, was released in 2013.Raz, Guy (July 3, 2010). "Oddisee: Hip-Hop Leaves the City". National Public Radio. Retrieved 6 December 2011. Martin, Andrew (February 11, 2010). "Oddisee: Traveling Man". PopMatters. David Malitz, The Washington Post, ISSN 0190-8286, December 24, 2010, p. T.6 Breihan, Tom (September 21, 2011). "Mixtape Of The Week: Oddisee Rock Creek Park". Stereogum. Weiss, Jeff. "Other oddities: Oddisee premieres 'I'm From PG' off his 'Odd Seasons' LP". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 16, 2011. Soderberg, Brandon (May 29, 2012). "First Spin: Hear Oddisee's 'People Hear What They See'". Spin. Moore, Marcus J. (July 10, 2013). "Oddisee - The Beauty In All". Clash.
Style and influences
Oddisee was originally influenced by his parents' heritages, combined with a hip-hop influence from his older cousins. In an interview with NPR, Mohamed explained why he was influenced by early East Coast emcees such as Rakim and A Tribe Called Quest. He said: "These rappers don't talk about drugs or murder, and I can relate more to their lyrics." His lyrics have touched on a variety of subjects, which include his hometown, boredom, and inequality. This is clearest in his song "I'm from PG," which is a direct ode to his hometown. Oddisee identifies with an assortment of emcees from the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland areas who share a similar sound. This area is known as the DMV. These emcees share a similar determination to create original music using swinging percussion and identifiable rhythms. Oddisee has often said that his favorite producer is Chief Tony from Virginia, Minnesota.Cite error: The named reference NPR was invoked but never defined (see the help page).