Derek Cooper has been conspicuous by his absence these past five years but as "Odds And Ends" proves, his prodigious skills have lost none of their edge. The Finale worldview is outlined in a hail of wit and wisdom-tipped bullets enhanced by Oddisee's sharp, unfussy production which lubricates funky drums with splashes of cool jazz. This is Detroit hip-hop at its venomous best. Welcome back star.
Favorite track: Steep Climb (feat. Thaione Davis).
Finale needed to live. Such a fundamental and basic idea often gets overlooked in the fast food mentality of popular culture. You can make music without something to say, but it rarely lasts. The records that stick with us are usually those with a deeper understanding of the complexities of life: every day choices we make, those selfish and selfless acts that comprise our daily existence.
Odds and Ends captures those elemental contradictions. Produced entirely by Oddisee, it marks Finale’s return following a half-decade hiatus. In that span, the Detroit stalwart took a break to experience growth in his life. He came to terms with his place in the world, endured regrets, and wrote relatable stories about himself, and those around him.
On paper, this might sound like a sensitive mellow lazy summer record. The exact opposite is true. Odds and Ends hits like a pipe bomb. It’s as hard as the galvanized steel at the Motor City factories that used to employ Finale. “Choppy Waters” is a rattling slapping sheep-eviscerating rant over a 64-bit video game beat. The production on “Cut Day” sounds made for an intergalactic space brawl, but the lyrics paint a picture of contemporary woes (no Drake).
You feel the hunger pangs, the derision for fools, and the looming specter of death. This is hard-nosed, guard-your-grill, chop-down-the-roster Detroit hip-hop—rap in serrated and raw form. As Finale says himself: forget all that extra shit, just spit.
There’s an almost apocalyptic vibe that matches the wreckage of the most abandoned parts of the city. But there’s also the unusual warmth that only Oddisee’s production can supply. It’s like Showbiz & AG or Jaylib updated to contemporary times and folded into the DMV producer’s own syncopation and singular chop style. Meanwhile, Finale tells sagas of dead-end jobs, incompetent bosses, political frustrations, and fears of the world that his son will grow up in.
Cameos occur from a-alikes Homeboy Sandman and Bilal Salaam, Kenn Star and Big Tone, but the show belongs to Finale—back from hiatus, rapping like he’s ripping shoulders out of sockets. Pitchfork said about his last album, 2009’s, A Pipe Dream and A Promise: “there are so few MCs working today who are able to carry this much of an album on their own.” Since then, Finale’s only mastered the art and refused to allow it to be disposable.
This is a record for the family that he gained and the friends, collaborators and leeches that stuck around when he didn't have anything left to give. It’s for ones lost along the way while he tried to find something more than what he had to begin with. This isn’t the same Finale. Struggle and success seep through every word. It’s music on its own terms. He picked the mic back up and shut the competition down.
released August 14, 2015
Original Art by Gene Pendon
Graphic Design by Sarah Dalton
I love all of Apollo browns works and iam in the process of buying all of his albums so that I may have them for my private collection his music is hip hop real hip hop he is one of the great alltime hip hop producers alongside premiere DJ muggs and bronze nazarath they have a unique sound that reaches your soul and is timeless keep up the good work and please drop a gem with U-God from wu tang
As soon as I heard the song Like Really I just had to buy the album. Then I finished listening to all the songs, and knew I made a good choice. Oddisee is one of the best hip hop artists on bandcamp. Devin Anderson