By Falice Chin
The Oddities have come a long way peddling their hip hop wares.
Formed in 1998, recent accomplishments such as touring with Blackalicious, the rising fame of crew member Rainbow Sun Francks from his MuchMusic VJ career, and the release of a new album on BattleAxe Records all scream "Canadian hip hop’s next big thing."
Indeed, these guys have it down, all the elements–graffiti, DJ, emcee, and break dance–and better yet, all the uniqueness and charisma to go with them.
"We want to do it in a package that people have never heard of," emcee and producer Bookworm explains. "Roll with it or take it as an insult."
Their new album, The Scenic Route, is devoted to being different. With credible guests including Esthero and Ishkan, the tracks are tight and extremely well-produced. In many songs, vocal relays between emcees show that members actually wrote the songs together–a creative process few in the hip hop world seem to do anymore.
"We try to keep it tight in structure," Bookworm adds. "Unfortunately, a lot of underground hip hop [can be] sloppy, especially on stage."
Before each show, all members performing would spend time together choreographing their musical presentation. As a result, the Oddities perform excellent live shows often leaving critics and new audiences impressed.
"As an underground artist, you have to deal with bad sound systems, or [even] without a stage altogether," explains fellow emcee Psy. "So we try to at least get it down vocally."
The Oddities are currently on tour promoting their new album. Although you can buy their CD at shows and across the United States, The Scenic Route probably won’t be released in Canada until January of 2004.