Landover, Maryland, rapper-producer Oddisee’s tribute to a D.C. national park resonates like an old soul song. As expected of DMV (D.C.-Maryland-Virginia) hip-hop, the album’s percussive heart lies within its sublime, serene instrumentation — like the cascading, gleaming electric guitar of “Skipping Rocks,” or the strumming in “Uptown Cabaret” that recalls the Jackson 5′s “I Want You Back.”
But Rock Creek Park is more than mere retro fetishizing. Soulful march “Scenic Route to You” dives headfirst into what feels like a swirling flashback with a staggered pulse; the peaceful “Beach Drive” bleeds like a watercolor before it cuts to a melancholy jingle that takes flight with flutes. In these momentary lapses, Oddisee breaks down how the park’s 9.3 southward expanse — once his playground — transitioned into a mere shortcut from one D.C. suburb to another. And, now that he’s in Brooklyn, he’s missed it more than he anticipated.