In 2009, Detroit emcee Finale made his indie label debut with A Pipe Dream And A Promise. Though largely under the radar, the album was a solid introduction for the Motor City wordsmith, and featured some of the best up-and-coming producers at that time, like Black Milk and Flying Lotus. Now, six years later, he’s back with the esoterically anticipated follow-up: Odds & Ends.

After releasing his debut through Interdependent Records, Finale signed on with Mello Music Group, and saw immediate dividends. Oddisee, a fellow MMG artist who also appeared on A Pipe Dream And A Promise, is the album’s sole producer. Having dropped The Good Fight in May, we all know what he’s capable of lyrically and musically. As such, Odds & Ends is a unique work of underground noir crafted by two equally bright minds.

Finale’s style is original to say the least. He’s very smart, his verses stretch over multiple bars at a time, and on occasion, he uses bits of raw imagery to convey meaning. The integument of his identity is his deep vocal timbre, which tightly envelops the aforementioned lyrical traits. On the first track, “Choppy Waters,” Finale forgoes a hook, and spits bar after bar for more than three minutes, quickly acclimating the listener for what’s to come.

Oftentimes, his verses are dense like college-level English essays. On “Spike The Punch,” he dazzles with the pen: “Take a minute to catch your breath / And put both hands up, eat Skittles and go to sleep on your grandmother couch / In our police state the stakes higher than what they were when Posdnuos said it / Ya’ll been headed for [noose]newspapers and Bill Cosby was a rapist / Missed out on how to catch a predator when it was tapin’.” Between the wordplay, De La Soul references, inline and slant rhymes, and coded references to Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin, Finale accomplishes a lot here before the verse is even finished. The lyrical complexity is both applaudable and indicative of his sheer talent.

Unlike A Pipe Dream And A Promise, many guest emcees appear on Odds & Ends, which adds another dimension to the experience. Finale partakes in multiple posse cuts, like “7 Days” (featuring Kenn Starr and Hassaan Mackey) and “Perseverance” (featuring Big Tone and Vandalyzm). He certainly doesn’t need the help of others, but the group dynamic is a fun inclusion nonetheless.

The lyricism is a juggernaut in and of itself, but Oddisee also taps into a unique musical realm of his own. “7 Days” is undeniably in the same vein as Busta Rhymes’ “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See,” with subtle funky instrumental samples and a banging, overarching drum loop. Meanwhile, “Plain View” and “Hard To Kill” represent Oddisee’s finest work on the album, with mellow jazz-vibe inclinations. Like Finale lyrically, Oddisee deserves adulation for the complex track-layering, and his sharp musical ear.
With only a ten songs, Finale and Oddisee make the most of their contributions in a short amount of time. Odds & Ends is a solid follow-up to A Pipe Dream And A Promise, and should satisfy the fans who’ve waited six years for a sign of life from Finale. The praise, however, will not be universal. Odds & Ends is a niche album that caters more sharply to fans of the Detroit and East Coast undergrounds. Nevertheless, both artists are in top form, especially Finale, back on the scene without having lost a step.