Odessa Kane -- a raw lyricist from the legendary (and possibly defunct but hopefully not) Masters of the Universe crew, a group of MCs respected by many for their abstract lyricism and experimental deliveries -- released a new song last week entitled "The Coldest Ave's (Lab Rat Race)," which you can stream and download here.
Master of Universe was instrumental in the development of the San Diego's hip-hop scene, thanks to the Improv, an artistic workshop they organized in the mid-'90s in the vein of LA's famous Good Life Cafe. The Improv helped to spawn a number of artists, from Johaz and Mr. Brady of Deep Rooted to the Icons.
"The Coldest Ave's" features fellow Masters of the Universe alumnus Orko Eloheim on the hook and production by Aims. Aims has been working closely with Odessa Kane for some time now, but this instrumental seems like the best fit yet for Odessa. The sitars and other Middle Eastern timbres create a vibe that is both otherworldly and unsettling; both words could also describe Odessa Kane's lyricism. Odessa acts as a sort of Virgil figure, helping us maneuver through what he sees as a modern-day hell. Oil-hungry "ecoterrorists," corrupt policemen, bankers and other "imperialist gangsters" all meet their metaphysical demise at the hands --or the words, anyway--of Odessa Kane. This is a jarring critique on modern society that should not go unheard.
Quan Vu Quan Vu is the founder and editor of local music blog SD Raps.com. He has also written about local and national hip-hop acts for San Diego CityBeat and the San Diego Reader. You can nerd out on rap trivia by following him on Twitter or e-mailing him directly.