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Citizen Odessa Kane

J. Smith takes a look at Odessa Kane's latest EP, "Left to Bear Arms"

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    Odessa Kane performs at the Irenic on Saturday, July 25.

    On his latest release -- and Beatrock Music debut -- "Left to Bear Arms," San Diego rap veteran Odessa Kane styles his way through six songs with virtuosity and feeling as a craftsman who spits from the gut. 

    Odessa Kane's "Left to Bare Arm"

    The album's opener, "Riot," has all the immediacy of Public Enemy's "Fight the Power." A politically charged coup de grace with Kane rapping over urgent piano keys, "from Meadowbrook to Brooklyn guns go." It's angry and raw, picking up right where his last EP, "Cuetes and Balisongs," left off.

    His message centers around resistance and the global struggle against injustice but he's not limited by it. "1994" finds him reflecting on his days growing up in San Diego, reminiscing about his formative years, writing graffiti and shouting out his Golden Era influences ("Bout to pop in this 'Thug Life' tape and make Tupac proud").

    He's direct and to the point -- nothing's wasted. Not time or Kane's energy and there's something in that as it adds weight to his ideas. Every line, every word even, counts. It's all accessible too as his observations are sharp and easy to digest. He's an intellectual who's speaking to his audience instead of at them. A thinking man with the fire of a street preacher occupying the same, revolutionary -- but gangster -- space that hip-hop radicals Dead Prez pioneered during their "R-B-G'z" era.

    On Saturday, July 25, Odessa Kane and Beatrock Music's "The Left Coast Tour" touches down in San Diego at the Nebulator Incubator at 1878 Main St., Unit E in Barrio Logan, San Diego. Purchase/listen to Odessa Kane's latest EP here.

    J. Smith, aka 1019, is a San Diego native, rap fan and one half of the rap duo Parker & the Numberman.You can follow him on Instagram at 1019_the_numberman or on Twitter