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Alwasta

by Oddisee

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Emily Chu
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Emily Chu Not everyday you find music with words that resonate with your self-reflections. This is a track that I've found to be a powerful sounding board against the circular train of thoughts currently crowding my mind for me to find some clarity and discern a possible path through. Favorite track: Strength & Weakness.
Luis A. Berroa
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Luis A. Berroa Love this album for its variety and excellent songwriting. No Reservations is a poignant blast at xenophobia against Muslims while Catching Vibes is perfect kickback music. Favorite track: No Reservations.
PurpSyzurp
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PurpSyzurp I SEE THE SONICS I SEE THE SONICS Favorite track: Catching Vibes.
Manka
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Manka Oddisee's music has never lacked depth, but until Alwasta, his lens was focused inward. My favorite example of that introspection: Contradiction's Maze on The Good Fight.

Because of his talent and intelligence, I've been waiting for Oddisee to turn his gaze on us, and here we have it. He lays it all out there on Lifting Shadows: 9/11, drones, the war on terror. It's a ballsy anthem for peace and justice. Favorite track: Lifting Shadows.
Liam Hawe
Liam Hawe thumbnail
Liam Hawe There is so much truth and selflessness in this record that it is difficult to stop listening to. I could write an epic essay as to why I think this is ground breaking, but for now all I want to say is that this is 'The Truth'. Favorite track: Lifting Shadows.
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about

Oddisee is also ready to unveil his 2016 plan which includes a new instrumental album in May, a tour with his band Good Compny from May through July, and the heavily anticipated follow up to "The Good Fight,"an all new solo album in the fall.

Sudanese­-American hip­hop artist Oddisee's new EP, “Al­Wasta,” takes its title from the Arabic colloquial term used to mean (to use colloquial English) “the plug.” The term “wasta” comes from the Arabic word “wasat,” meaning “middle” or “middleman,” and describes a member of the community who acts as a connector using their wealth of social currency. Understanding the value of social currency & how to use it (for better or worse) is what Amir Elkhalifa aka Oddisee focused on as the primary inspiration for his writings.

Oddisee & Good Compny Tour Dates
3/26/16 Treefort Festival - Boise, ID
5/3/2016 Middle East Downstairs - Boston, MA
5/6/16 Mainstage - Morgantown, WV
5/7/16 Strange Matter - Richmond, VA
5/8/16 Kings Barcade - Raleigh, NC
5/11/16 Jack Rabbits - Jacksonville, FL
5/13/16 Orpheum - Tampa, FL
5/14/16 Backbooth - Orlando, FL
5/15/16 Side Bar - Tallahassee, FL
5/16/16 Parish @ HOB - New Orleans, LA
5/20/16 Foundry at SLS - Las Vegas, NV
5/21/16 El Rey Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
5/22/16 Constellation Room - Santa Ana, CA
5/24/16 Soda Bar - San Diego, CA
5/26/16 The Independent - San Francisco, CA
5/30/16 Sasquatch Festival - Seattle, WA
6/4/16 Bunbury Festival - Cincinnatti, OH
6/12/16 Northside Festival - Brooklyn, NY
6/25/16 Glastonbury Festival - Pilton, UK
6/27/16 O2 Academy - Oxford, UK
7/7/16 Les Ardentes Festival - Leige, Belgium
7/8/16 North Sea Jazz Festival - Rotterdam, Netherlands
7/9/16 Open Source Festival - Dusseldorf, Germany
7/10/16 Cactus Festival - Bruges, Belgium
7/16/16 Melt! Festival - Gräfenhainichen, Germany
7/19/16 Valkhof Festival - Nijmegen, Netherlands
7/23/16 Hip Hop Open Festival - Vienna, Austria
7/27/16 Blue Balls Festival - Lucerne, Switzerland
7/29/16 Appletree Gardens Festival - Diepholz, DE
7/30/16 Stuttgart Festival - Stuttgart, DE

#الواسطة

premiered at Stereogum on 3/23/2016
www.stereogum.com/1867083/stream-oddisee-al-wasta-ep-stereogum-premiere/mp3s/

credits

released March 23, 2016

All songs written & produced by Oddisee.
Additional keyboards & vocals by Ralph Real.
Additional bass by Dennis Turner.
Additional drums by Jon Laine.
Additional guitar by Olivier Saint Louis.

Portrait Art by Nana Yeboah.
Art design by Oddisee & Ahmed Akasha.
Alwasta escription by Safia Elhillo.
Arabic to English translation by Bentely Brown.

Mello Music Group, 2016

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Oddisee Brooklyn, New York

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Track Name: Asked About You
These are Good days for bad people, sad sequel to an unrated story/ about the underrated told by the makers of evil/ & still I'm lining up to get a preview/ glory to the most wise, we came here on boat rides/ wavy/ yet ground beneath seeming bone dry/ how much for a maybe, how much for a know why/ cost an arm & leg to get ahead & you get no eyes/ shades on at night can't bring to light I see the demons/ that hang around us in evenings & party with us on weekends/ ain't numb enough so i'm keeping the sleeping pills on the table/ I count on them counter all of the fables that I believe in/ cause I just want to keep on dreaming/ but dreams are for suckers, attracted to your tears, sweat & bleeding/ grew a pair of fangs called a brain, left & right/ I'm hungry & my barks far lesser than my bite/

I’ve been thinking about you/
All the things you’ve been through/
Has anybody stopped to ask you/
Hey how you doing/

I'm far more concerned with cause/ although it's the affect that is receiving the applause/ or up roar, either way it's up hands up like a yup y'all/ but I'm just trying to get down to the bottom of a rut wall/ giving faces to hatred trying to figure the bases/ of humanities disgraces/ & if I'm not mistaken, a
Roman & a German met a Viking/ on an island that was occupied by Britons/ & they became the British after fighting and they merged into a Titan/ that became really good at killing white men/
Somebody thought it smarter to do it people that's darker/ until now we harbor what was docked at the Harbor/
Track Name: No Reservations
If I could make time, I would make nothing else/ I feel like with enough time, anything can probably make itself/ Evolution or incentive, I'm just trying to grow to the point that my interest/ are taken care of my interest/ take in to account I prepared my account to take care of me in the distance/ that means long money, Know a lot of homies who ain't got plans/ know a lot of ladies who ain't got no mans/ & they settle for each other like they got no chance/ I ain't saying that you need a dude, nah no ma'am/ I use ma'am I understand that you is not no grand/ excuse me if I'm being rude I know I sound so crass/ but political correctness ain't my program/ I'm P.G. I was raised round a high low class/ young, Feeling like a dinosaur/ I'm coming from an era where we knew each other's business but like diamonds & the oil we just minded more/ they say real becoming harder to find/ that's good news that mean a lot of you is probably dying/ or moving out the city cause of all the property buying/ let alone cover rent on the crib each month/ so you move to LA where you can still cheap stunt/ can I get a witness, black entrepreneur here can I get some business/ taking out a lone not asking for-givness/ just take away the stone hard place wasn't lifting/ cause it landed on me, I ain't land on it/ grand Ma never cussed like dag' on it/ frustrated free, I'm picking locks/ cause time still sitting in a box/

I ain't got no plans, trying to keep it that way/ I'm just trying to do what I want to do every hour, minute, second of the day/ I never make reservation, I don't keep none neither/ what I bring to the table is the truth/ so I know I'm always right this way/

I've been up late, thinking I should move upstate/ get a farm in the middle of a town called no where sounding like enough space/ but I like culture so near it grabs me/ & agriculture i'd do it gladly/ I think the answer is a loft in the middle of the city & the roofs where the plants be/ let's grow, hustle real hard knowing nothing comes easy/ party on the boulevard well let's go/ i'ma take a rain check knowing any minute that the warm fronts ending & we all get snow/ I ain't make the laws but I am trying to break them/ & not get caught by the criminals that make them/ it's funny that a boss gets a pardon & Sargent gets absolved when the evidence blatant/ a'salaam alaikum I'm just trying to get peace with patience of a saint in the belly of the beast/ the lowest in the rank think the hardest in the tank/ but we seldom get the credit so we never get the lease/ sleeping in the streets be the same ones paving/ we walking on slaughter & the water ain't free/ floating on the attitude of y'all ain't me/ & I had it just as bad as you & look now I made it/ well that's great then, though/ your triumphs ain't erasing what I'm facing, so/ get up out my face with conversations bout how you can relate then no/ I'm the trenches, I'm riding on the train/ local shop owners here, I probably know their names/ surviving on the streets doing something like me/ what you doing, man, nothing this week/

I don't make easy to follow/ cause when I'm easy the others come round & the come see me to borrow/ they don't give props up, they pots whole/ so around them how I go/ had to happen a few times for me to view sign/ now quickly I know/ now quickly I know/ yeah this king odd/ rider of the rhythm & pristine bars/ keep it hard for me to ever see a loss/ I'm only getting better as the rest peel off/ this solid, not plated/ barter in the market that you'll never get away with/ your loss/ I'm the favorite of your favorite/ ask him, & wait for the reaction/ he'll cough/
Track Name: Strength & Weakness
I think I found my weakness, I think I found my strength/ in all I love & hate/ they're one in the same/ but how am I gone use it/ & try not to abuse it/

I fell asleep with open eyes again/ Seeing me how others see me on my mind again/ I hope I don't find offense/ with people's versions of what I present/
Not worried but kind of am/ i'm slowly learning most people get me but there's side affects/ small percentage of those repelled by all that I project/ but that's just life I guess/ can't win them all but I just like to bet, I'm rolling dice again/ I roll to functions full of punks & wimps that ain't feeling me/ they clutch their fist reluctantly humbly asked to build with me/ discussion over lunches on how their wants can appeal to me/ tipping under twenty your money don't fit the bill to me/ I watch how people move yeah their words are strong but then physically/ their visions weak, the smaller print of their truth disappears to me/ but that ain't how I move, I just show & prove/ my motions filled with power & that's power I won't lose/

What you do if you knew you could get away with anything you wanted to/ as long as people wanted something from you/ would you make them wait knowing you could make all their dreams true in a day/ or hesitate let them salivate until they give up and they subdue/ just to demonstrate how long takes until a person breaks/ power tripping easy now a days/ now a days all the culture vulture look to bottom feeders for their power plays/ bucket crowed & the crabs fighting/ puppets pic the people on their last leg/ desperate dreamers turn to thirsty fiend hurting me when I see the proud beg/ & I'm loudest within that quit moment/ see to clear to be clouded by those who got it golden/ grass that green could brown at any sporadic moment/ so I stay open, reply to calls fly or fall/
Track Name: Wouldn't Be Surprised
If I made a million dollars in an evening & I spent it by the weekend know nobody would believe me but I wouldn't be surprised/ but if it took me long to get it then I probably wouldn't spend it/ see me polishing the pennies, fell in love with it wouldn't be surprised/

Real money, what this, all bout, all out/ going in, on job, call out, never/ call my agent for the rout/ van is rented, band is in it love it when we're all together/ getting better, with the business, don't speak, until I'm finished/ quit pretended you got clout, tell you/ I don't who you are or you men is, no regard for your image/ know it's hard for you to sell them/ I'm as real as real is getting/ finding it hard to kick it if I know our logics different/ honestly I'm just distant, I might drop in for a visit/ say hello & I'm dipping/ conversations on auto exceeding my social limit/ we could talk about the weather, gossip about a homie/ but there's one thing on my mind only/ yeah you know what is, yeah you know what that is/ contains the letter O, ends in Y & it ain't phony/
Track Name: Lifting Shadows
Lifting Shadows

Just one dollar below ten K, that's the amount I'm flying with/ one buck more & the law comes out & they all want to know about why I'm rich/ I'm not rich I'm just on the way/ back to the land where they need this grip/ you give yours to charity fund, I give mine to a cousin that's sick/ you see a name & it falls on a list/ scared I'm involved in the causing of pain/ lost someone you loved in the towers & you're looking at me like I boarded plane/ I'm just an artist, you're not a target/ no use in arguing, we all look the same/ with that knowledge I stay my calm & when they search for bombs all they find is grain/ all in a name, I've got a name that will scare all the brave out the land of the free/ all in the name of protecting a country that's shooting its citizens dead in the street/ I used to live in North East, D.C. Not too far from Capitol Hill/ White House here, Traps House there/ they were so near you could go by feet/ never mind that cause that's not news, let's stay glued to war on peace/ who gets blamed, whoever can sway that election towards what the order seeks/ we just want to keep oil cheap, we just want to keep motives full/ & what that means, distractions came/ I think my tv's clothed in wool/

Man I swear I think my phones tapped/ man I swear they watching all my moves/ since 9/11 ain't too clear just what the target is/ I love my country hate its politics/

Can't just let me be, can't just let me live/ regardless my belief I thought the fathers wrote it clear/ but darkness all I see & darkness all I hear/ I'm trying to lift the shadow but the cloud ain't got no give/

I was on tour when the migrants came, saw their camps on the side of the road/ I met boy who arrived in the rain, he lost his folk when torched his home/ that made me want to bring my fam', before they see that side of a drone/ but who wants us, we build your world/ as labor cool as neighbors, no/ I got a cuz that will drive your taxi, I got a cuz that will make your food/ I got a cuz that will watch your kids & pick them up when they're done school/ I got a cuz that will pump your gas, I got a cuz that's good with tools/ I got a cuz that will be your doctor, after a test that I hope he'll pass/ isn't that you fear most, but fear don't trump your needs/ our pro's do trump our con's though, & cons don't trump your greed/ & monsters what you make of us & we make you succeed/ & that's what makes this country great, it's built by those who bleed/ built by those who came on boats, built by those who flee/ & you forgot your family tree & we're just all your leaves/ so if you try to chop us down, you'll only hurt knees/ & we could go in pieces but, we should come in peace/
Track Name: Catching Vibes
I know the world is going crazy/ we take it all in stride/ but today I think I'll leave it all behind/ I'm trying catch a vibe/

I'm here & now so count my blessings/ more in store/ more corridors that I'll explore & all in time I'll cross their thresh &/ be better than/ ever before/ to think/ I was stressing over things that by tomorrow I'll forget &/ blink/ in a second switching direction/ I'm on a new wave/ try to focus only on progression/ it's all in days/ working, working, working on the lessons/ started feeling better about the answers I was getting in the mirror asking questions/ I am all that I invested in/ who else then/ put my first/ put me latter/ i'ma find a way regardless it's what ever/ I've come so far, I think I blossom when I'm battered/ so what you've got to say/ it don't matter/ I keep climbing/ I keep flying/ lauren Hill must be where near, I see Zion/ i see so much that could change on the horizon/ let's get vibrant one more time then/

I've got far less control over things I think do/ on the other hand, there's a lot of things I could alter & I'm ignoring them/ such a wayward move/ procrastinating cause it's hard to face a problem/ waiting/ for you to finish up having a good time/ in lieu of knowing what I've got to do/ I've got an attitude of molasses crude/ slow pace/ & I know what it takes/ not sure how much I give/
You care enough & It'll ware you down/ that's just the way it is/ try to stay in love/ but that's hard as brick/ please send me a sign/ I sure hope that I notice/ I think we spoke once before while I was at my lowest/ the world is going mad/ but that info you know it/ but it last just long enough/ for me to have my moment/ I just need some time/ to reach my full potential/ to justify this horrid life & all that I have been through/ I know I'm not the only/ the rest of y'all vent too/ but right now just reply to what I've sent you/

I think I caught that vibe/ I think I found my wave/ you that boogie on boards/ you know that I'm putting my foot in a tour every time I set foot on a stage/ I belong in categories only I have made/ people easily impressed/ lower standards got the bottom picking/ while the cream of crop ain't getting harvest listen/ better for you always more expensive/ afforded privilege to the few who get it/ welcome, welcome to the party mission/ now that I've got your attention/ few things I'd like to mention/ sum y'all won't like all my views/ and that won't make no difference/
I must be going crazy, my own thing is my favorite/ I see who gets the praise & all/ but I just think they're basic/ complex on occasion/ few & far between/ might loose me in the middle but/ the start of it was mean/ tired of all this processed/ your packaging so clean/ ingredients full of so many name/ I can even read/ Addictions on the rise/ it's in my system I can lie/ but now I'm on a diet/ one hundred percent vibes/
Track Name: Slow Groove
Been on the road for quite some time now/ in route to work is the only time that I wind down/ I feel like caesar on a quest to make Rome bigger/ I played in trees as a child & could never climb down/ becoming introspective, I need to be more selective/ I'm way too nice got me feeling bad to ignore a message/ I traded secrets with homies I really thought could keep it/ minute I leave and they steal my dreams & they try to sell it/ I can't tell if it's, my fault or theirs/ for people being themselves I need to be more prepared/ I guess it's time to tighten up the circle/ put some notches in the belt for all the weight I've had to shed/ more locks up on the door, a couple camera's in the front/ yeah I know who you are but what you want/

I've been contemplating drinking & the use of drugs/ my favorite artists do it, they all influence us/ I ain't talking Future but rather older names/ I'm talking Hendrix, talking Davis taking Marvin Gaye/ they were kings but to the coping they became a slave/ know that I got in me don't pass me a shot of whiskey/ anything I do, I do it the most/ it just so happens in rewarded for being extreme/ applauded workaholic falling asleep in the office/ & I'll never get fired/ the irony, I'm a boss cause I couldn't get hired/ ain't got and off switch therefor my bills higher/ somebody get coffee, black, single origin like our ancestors/ oh you forgot cause you tan lesser/ this is me in a jam session cram a lesson in/ like we partying, study in the end/ 100 percent/

I'm really good at my job, that's because I understood it's job/ I'm not interested in coming to your studio or chilling after shows/ I've got to do this all over tomorrow/ i'd rather chill in my home, go out to eat just me & Ziz in the park/ seldom see me in the streets after dark/ except for my name on the marquee/ traded street lights for stage lights/ I'm trying to make a living from art/ have a life full love, memories you can not like or remark/ I'm only posting what I'm seeing in parts/ I mean what's more tragic, living in a hyper reality/ or the the systematic murder of magic/ I'm chasing the wild things & they're becoming harder to find/ In time I'm sure they'll only live my mind/ but for now I'm on the prowl for the how's/ leave it to chance to bruh/ sometimes I'd rather not know the answer/ but that's just me/

Slow groove, I just want to take my time/ I don't mind to wait in line/ I ain't going nowhere, soon/ I just want to take my time, I don't mind to wait in line/ we ain't going nowhere.