KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — It's safe to say US rapper and producer Oddisee enjoyed his first ever visit to Malaysia.

“I knew about the country but experiencing it first hand is just amazing", he told Malay Mail.

The Washington DC based artist was in KL last month for his first ever show here at the two day hip-hop festival, Raising the Bar Fest 2024 (RTBFest 2024) on May 25 and May 26.

Oddisee or his real name Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, had the crowd on their feet that Sunday where he served some of hits including That’s Love, Like Really and Own Appeal.

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Grateful by the warm welcome, Oddisee admitted he was surprised by the diversity of the Malaysian hip-hop scene at the festival.

“I was really surprised and impressed at the hip hop community here.

“Here at the festival, I’ve witnessed everything- breakdancing, classic boom bap and underground stuff and a bit more mainstream rap and they all coexist and there are some really good artists here and everyone is just appreciative."

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He said that he had taken time to check out some of the performances at the festival and had received a lot of new music from local artists to listen to when he gets home.

Oddisee said he was grateful by the warm welcome and was impressed by the diversity of the Malaysian hip hop community. — Picture by Riduan Mohamad
Oddisee said he was grateful by the warm welcome and was impressed by the diversity of the Malaysian hip hop community. — Picture by Riduan Mohamad

While Oddisee may have been taken aback at the Malaysian hip hop scene, he was not totally unfamiliar with the country with his history major background and being a fellow geography enthusiast.

“I comfortably know a little bit of every place on earth but also as a Muslim, you know, my family’s from Sudan, I’ve had actual cousins who studied in Malaysia.

“A lot of them came here to study and a lot of those cousins I've paid for their education, well, we all chip in together.

“I had one cousin who went to a music engineering school here in Malaysia years ago,” he said.

The rapper who has produced for big names in the industry including legendary American hip hop band The Roots as well as award-winning hip hop group De La Soul, has released his latest in And Yet Still.

The six-track EP is musically diverse with a lot of African and Moroccan influences along with a mix of jazz fusion, UK drill as well as easy listening rock.

Although known for his lyrical stylings and brand of storytelling in his music, he also said that for him, it was important not to leave out the entertainment aspect in making music and keeping the balance between the two.

“I think a lot of underground music tends to be too focused on informing and educating and not enough for entertainment and mainstream music and that's too much imitating.

“Finding that balance where in my show, I'm going to move the crowd, we’re going to have fun, people can participate and at the same time I’m also giving them something educational.

“If you choose to hear the message, you will hear it and if you choose to ignore the message, you will still have a great time, so it's just about finding the balance,” he said.

Oddisee is currently finishing his UK and Ireland tour with his last show taking place June 15 at MK11 in Milton Keynes, England and will be starting his And Yet Still tour around the US on July 7.