National Album Review: Ordinary People by Olu

Posted on January 28, 2013 in Album Reviews, Arts & Culture
By Sam Hill

Riding high off internet buzz and armed with a surprising work ethic, Cleveland rapper Olu has given his fans what they’ve been asking for.

Ordinary People is a full-length album that, like his previous releases, is full of first-rate lyricism, a varied collection of beats from underground producers and tracks that appeal to the tastes of all kinds of hip-hop heads. This is what we’ve come to expect from Olu and he doesn’t let us down.

The album’s title track, which in the hip-hop world is notorious for being terrible, breaks the mold as Olu describes how he feels about individuals. “See me, I see no evil, just ordinary people,” he raps in the chorus to explain the choices people are forced to make everyday. The beat, produced by Dude My Name is Kevin, fits the lyrics perfectly and the vibe is subtly serious. It should be noted that this producer is the only one who offers more than a single track on the album.

The best tracks on the album are so chill. In “Midnight,” Olu raps that he’s “awake, but it feels like a lucid dream,” and that’s how I would describe the track. It’s a slow-mo weed anthem, but not an obnoxious one. Producer Dave Cappa creates a relaxed atmosphere with the beat and it’ would be hard not to vibe with this track. “Every Autumn” is another ambient track with some subtle bass, as Olu touches on his lifestyle with plenty of references to alcohol and Pokemon. “Foolish” and the Kid Cudi sampled “Sounds of Sanity” are tracks for the loner.

The only disappointment on this album is the lack of production by Olu himself. He has used such unique samples on previous work and uses them well. Not that there aren’t incredible producers on this album. It’s just not the man himself. For example, “Gold” uses this incredible sample from Flight Facilities’ “Crave You” that I felt would be a great choice to connect with the audience on an emotional level. But it flips into a track about the average rappers’ obsession with gold. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.

All in all, Ordinary People is what fans have come to expect from Olu, and this free album needs to be added to your collection.