Oddisee, ‘The Good Fight’

The constant complaint about Kanye West, ego issues aside, is how far he’s gotten from the classic soul-sampling sound that helped him break ground, leaving a void in hip-hop. But DC purist Oddisee has always been in the background, digging in crates for the craziest loops and perfecting his formula, and “The Good Fight” feels like an internal audit of his work’s worth and the state of black music. He lays out his findings over the four-note key loop of “Want Something Done”: “I guess I’ve got to do it all myself / It’s not a problem, though / Probably better off without you though / Oh, yeah, it’s working.” If there’s an elegant groove hiding in a lost soul record, Oddisee’s found it, from the horns of “Contradiction’s Maze” to the bells of “Counter-Clockwise.” Oddisee’s thoughts are too heavy to take on the humor West chased his lyrics with — but then, for Oddisee, sound is a serious matter. (Out now)


Essential “Contradiction’s Maze”


Oddisee performs at the Middle East
Upstairs on May 17.

Julian Benbow can be reached at