Odd Winter Oddisee Workaholic hip-hop producer had a blizzard of a year, sans snowballs

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Download: "Blizzard of 09"

Standout Track: No. 13, “Blizzard of 09,” a brassy, sultry instrumental that producer Oddisee builds around jazzy, Madlib-esque drum breaks and a wiry, acid-caked guitar line that recalls Shuggie Otis. Sourcing the song’s components is tricky, though, especially the striking yet subdued horn fanfare. “Oh wow,” Oddisee says, laughing. “That beat is really old. I have no clue.”

Musical Motivation: “Blizzard of 09” is the last track on Odd Winter, the third installment of Oddisee’s series of short, seasonally themed albums that fans can download for free. It’s also, he says, a fitting coda to a year in which he dropped several solo releases and the debut of his group Diamond District, and made beats for X.O., Tranquill, and others. “It embodies both the weather we got and the onslaught of music I put out in ’09,” he says. While much of Oddisee’s work is for-hire, his solo records are where he shows off. “If it was just the tracks I do for MCs, my versatility would be very limited,” he says. Projects like Odd Winter “allow me to break out of the box that collaborations sometimes put me in.”

Experimental Jet Set: While for some, “Blizzard of 09” may evoke thoughts of snowball fights gone south and slick, slushy streets, Oddisee actually spent Dec. 19 on an airplane, flying to London. The producer, whose government name is Amir Mohamed, is based in D.C., but he’s been kicking it across the pond for more than a month—producing and prepping for a European tour with Diamond District. Oddisee’s no stranger to world travel, it turns out: His other new release, Traveling Man, sports 24 instrumentals produced in 24 different cities. Unsurprisingly, the record’s most upbeat track is “Sao Paulo.” Its most depressing? “Detroit.”

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