In his address to the Academy, Leo-no-dough DiCaprio, The Wolf of Cheap-street, exclaimed “Why do people read Freebie Friday? It’s free init”. Whilst I did blush at his rather brash compliment, I echo these sentiments; why bother with getting rich when you can happily enjoy all the free in the world? So it is with his blessing that I harken you back to another week of costless debauchery. Welcome to Freebie Friday.
Disclaimer: no financial regulations were broken in the making of this article.
Last week, we saw the electropop genius of Negative Gemini. This week, because I’m a giver, we have a whole mixtape available to download from Sudanese-American artist Oddisee entitled AlWasta. Calling from Prince George County, Maryland and having roots in Sudan, gives Oddisee an alternative outlook that he benefits from. Oddisee gives a viewpoint that isn’t represented enough in rap, differentiating this EP from the pack. Epitomising diversity, this EP is incredibly hard hitting and definitely worth a few listens. Not too hard on the ears either with a cornucopia of soulful and jazzy samples laying the framework for the solid bars.
For those of you who are uncommon with colloquial Arabic, the mixtapes name might elude you. AlWasta, I’m told by my highly reliable translator on google, loosely means “a member of the community who acts as a connector using their wealth of social currency”. Despite, currency being a dirty word in this segment, in this case an exception can be made. This EP does an immense job of describing the highs and pitfalls arising from interaction with different communities in the context of America.
My personal favourite track, Lifting Shadows, contains lyrics like “You give yours to charity fund, I give mine to a cuz that’s sick” or “lost somebody you loved in the towers and look at me like I boarded the plane”. All this, gives a sense of a little boiling over in the proverbial Melting Pot across the pond. This politically and socially aware rap is so important yet hugely underrated. Perhaps, it’s because the truth is not as nice as materialistic hedonism that is propagated in today’s society. However, if you’re interested in hearing a different view point this album is definitely worth a listen.
Thankfully, Oddisee, isn’t exactly new to the scene, having a career spanning 17 years leaving a wealth of mixtapes, EPs and albums in its wake. This new release precedes two full albums coming out later in the year and a tour this summer. Whilst unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that his other endeavours will be priced as reasonably as this one, this work can be taken as a good omen of things to come. Albeit, if you’re like me and turn the other way to avoid eye contact with an ATM who knows you will never press it’s buttons, maybe just return back to the safe caress of Freebie Friday this time next week. Until then Viva la revolución!