There’s no real reason to approach Oddisee’s new record critically, especially since all the late releases, like the season-anthology »Odd Seasons« or the open-space-hommage »Rock Creek Park«, were flawless first league material. Additionally, thanks to the remix of »Ain’t That Peculiar«, we also know what the guy from the Diamond District is capable of when it comes to triggering craftwork under the drum-loops. While Amir Khalifa has provided us monthly with free downloads for years, it is hard to believe that »People Hear What They See« is actually announced as a debut. It’s a serious issue, as stated in the opener »Ready To Rock«, in which Oddisee raises his voice in awe and faces his fate with the line »They say you got your whole life to make your first album«. Hence, the first »real« album serves as a musical question of now-or-never. Oddisee is well aware of the weight of this moment, demonstrated by the healthy realistic way he presents himself on the twelve tracks. And how could it be any different? Too often he had to struggle with his artistic integrity (»That Real«), lose friends (»You Know Who You Are«) or observe the double moral standards of western society (»American Greed«). On a superficial glance, the stringent build up of the record seems a bit square, especially when quoting the overplayed »Theme From Shaft« or when moving dangerously close to Latte-Macchiato-Jazz with »Maybes«. When trying to insult the record, one could come up with »grown up«. But then again, »People Hear What They See« doesn’t try to chum up with a pseudo-genteel grown-up-ideology. Instead, it focuses on musical and textual standards which clearly value timelessness more than zeitgeist.