Odessa Kane doesn’t want to be your favorite rapper. He wants to educate you
and paint vivid pictures of cultural warfare amongst San Diego landscapes. With
Pilipino and Mexican blood running through his veins Kane has a dynamic style thatis reflective of seventies style Tarantino films and guerilla army documentaries. On his current EP “Cuetes and Balisongs” Kane delivers mathematical lyricals, shot rapid fire over 7 tracks that seem to never disappoint.
Stand out tracks include the working class anthem, “Anastacio” an attack on
oppression and governmental structures. On “Nino de la Tierra (Child of the Earth)”he interjects (regarding violence): …thats the younger Kane/ nowadays I got me some youngins under my brain/ using knowledge to cure their hunger pains/ and I prefer that/
“Pancho Bonifacio” was a Filipino POW from World War 2. This song parallels
the urban warfare and social terrain that can become warlike; whether that be
monetary, physically or emotionally. Odessa flips the struggle into a multi-lingual
song with dope J-Dilla, and Zapatista allusions. One verse is all you can handle.
“Briarwood” pays homage to the southeastern San Diego neighborhood that raised
Kane. A place where racial tensions run close and gang culture has been relevant
since the eighties. This is Cadillac, windows down, rolling past Bell Junior High
“The Pen and the Gun” offers straight spit. Production wise, the beat is a perfect way to end the journey with eerie, melodic, drug induced, slowed down kick drums and synthesized guitars.
There is a dichotomy in Kane’s work. While the plight of half black and half white
Americans (though commonly observed) is barely addressed or understood, Kane
offers a lineage that reflects two invisibly marginalized nations. These nations are
residing in America as immigrant parents and first generation children in a place
that commonly is naïve to its minorities. This angst and relevance is consumed in
every track. This is his story and the story of many others struggling to grow up and fight the good fight while promoting cultural identity.
Odessa Kane has come a long way from kicking freestyles on Briarwood and in the
quad during high school rap contests. But he hasn’t lost his focus… or his edge.
Who knows, he might still end up becoming your favorite rapper.
Antonio Cortez Appling