Steely Darkglasses

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The debut record from NJ's Oddateee is a loose hip-hop venture that doesn't take itself too seriously. It also doesn't follow all the rules, taking a skewed approach to beats and deliveries and generally sounding like a great time. Oddateee, who started off in the 30-member national rap collective the Labteks, heads up the record with MC skills that place him somewhere between the jokiness of early De La Soul and the otherworldly spazzed-out weirdness of Kool Keith and Del. His shaky delivery is believable if a bit unpolished, and it makes for a nice final product when combined with the guests who pepper the record. Dalek lends his intense rhyme poetry to the disc's opener, and there are a few other friends around to lend support (though it isn't often needed). The record commendably never drops below the amped-up and modestly tough level it opens on, something that may be credited to the wild beat-making skills of Dalek mastermind Oktopus. Weaving amazingly textured drum sounds with bizarre samples and unexpected standup bass grooves, the music alone is worth noticing, and Oddateee's flow only makes it stronger. This is a really strong record that is destined to be held back by its avant hip-hop leanings, but anyone interested in what is being made outside of the mainstream would be doing themselves a favor to check this out.

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