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For Oddisee, Rock Creek Park is significant for a few reasons. On a personal level, the MC and producer says, it represents the road less traveled, an alternate route removed from the hustle of city life. The Upper Marlboro native rode his bike there as a kid.
Musically, the park represents another notch in his creative belt. Yesterday on iTunes, Oddisee released Rock Creek Park, a 10-song, mostly instrumental album of sample-based production and live arrangements, saturated with nostalgic funk grooves and soul-ridden compositions. “It’s a soundtrack to my memories and experiences in Rock Creek Park,” Oddisee says. CD and vinyl versions come out in September.
Oddisee now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. The album, recorded in D.C. over a two-week period in June, stems from his bicycle rides through New York’s Prospect Park and Central Park—-treks that made him remember the good times in Rock Creek Park.
Just three months ago, Oddisee dropped the 31-track Odd Seasons album, a frenzied collection of standout vocal tracks (“I’m From P.G.,” “That Day”) and raucous break beats (“To Tell The Truth,” “Sand To The Beach”), which demonstrated his continued growth as a producer.
But unlike Odd Seasons, which stood out for its schizophrenic energy, Rock Creek Park is much more serene, blurring lines between old and new. “Still Doing It,” for instance, is rich and percussive, held together by the sound of crackling vinyl and a scene-setting verse from Diamond District member yU. Conversely, “The Carter Barron” swells as it plays, as cascading drums and horns give the song a triumphant feel.
Listeners should expect an even richer feel on People Hear What They See, Oddisee’s proper solo debut, scheduled for a December release. He worked with string and brass sections, which gave the album’s tracks an orchestral sound, he says. The album—-a mixture of underground hip-hop, pop, and everything in between—-will feel lush and dynamic, he says: “You can take the vocals off the album and listen to the instrumentals, and it won’t sound redundant.”
Oddisee’s also compiling beats for a new Diamond District album, that will come out next year, he says. A follow-up to In The Ruff was supposed to drop in 2011, but Oddisee decided to start from scratch after signing a new publishing deal, which gives him access to a hard drive with pre-cleared samples. Until then, Rock Creek Park will have to do. Not a bad way to wait.