Obie Trice has seen many sides of the rap music industry. He’s had a machine behind him on Interscope in the Shady heyday and now he toils the independent circuit with more creative control over both his career and his music. Over the course of a decade, he’s had two well-received albums, lost his friend Proof, been shot in the jaw, and most recently lost his biggest supporter, his mother, to breast cancer. take a walk in his shoes and see the game through the eyes of someone who has experienced the highs and lows of Hip-Hop. The Definitive Obie Trice. Enjoy.
Planet Ill: Obie Trice!
Obie Trice: What’s happenin’
Planet Ill: It’s been a long road for you.
Obie Trice: yeah it’s been a minute.
Planet Ill: Rapping since you were 11, huh?
Obie Trice: Yeah man.
Planet Ill: How did it feel to pick up that mic the first time? Your mom got you a karaoke machine little speakers, you got that mic. How did it feel?
Obie Trice: It just felt good, you know? Like any other time I’m in the booth making music. That I’m feeling. It’s a surreal feeling just to be able to go in there and just… I love it. Feel every instrument and you do your vocals, you finish that up and you get the feeling of completion and the way you just transfer the thought into a record. It’s like scoring a touchdown or winning a champion ship. It’s a constant gratification.
Planet Ill: You’ve been on many sides of this game. You’ve had that big mainstream push with Shady and you’ve had independence. What’s the difference in what drives your music when you’re in those two different areas?
Obie Trice: Well now, the independent thing is much harder. It’s a harder grind. Just getting with the right people to market your product and spending the finances that involve getting added [to playlists] and being in different places. It’s a different animal. The mainstream thing, that’s cool, too to a certain extent. I really like being independent because you’re in control more, of your music.
When I was on Interscope, Jimmy Iovine, he woke up one day and this is during my Cheers album, we was looking for the third single and he woke up one day at his house and one morning looked at his son’s iPod, my song “Don’t Come Down,” was on pause in his iPod and that’s what made him say that that’s my third single for that record. It was like, I could have easily when with “Oh!” the song with Busta, just to keep the momentum of the album going. We kinda went with “Don’t Come Down,” which was dedicated to my mother, which was a good look too, but it’s about the momentum.
It’s a different feel; I get to be in charge of the project more so but it’s got its downside too because you don’t have that Interscope machine.
Planet Ill: All of your friends, I guess everybody in that Detroit underground era started out together and you’ve had differing levels of success. Once you get to those different levels how does it affect your relationships with each other?
Obie Trice: With the different artists?
Planet Ill: Yes. You talk about Eminem, Proof, Royce, and everybody from that scene. You see Eminem blow up and become a superstar, you see Royce, how does that affect how you guys deal with each other?
Obie Trice: I don’t look at it that way. It is what it is. Congrats to the individuals. It’s not a certain way I look at them cats. Success is success. It’s a great thing. For me, whoever it is, whether it’s at home or anywhere else I congratulate people on their success. I don’t change because of your success; I’mma do me. Everybody might have different social environments if that’s what you’re saying. But other than that I don’t look at it any different than I would see Joe Blow.
Planet Ill: You had a few tragedies back to back. You lose Proof and that’s the guy that put you on with using your own name as an artist rather than some rap name. You get shot twice randomly. How do those things affect your life and your music?
Obie Trice: I watch how I move around I appreciate life a little differently than I used to, when I first entered the scene. I’m older, so all these things; I just buried my mother to breast cancer recently. She was looking forward to seeing the record come out. That was mainly like my biggest loss that I ever had in my life. I really took a loss on that. So I just deal with things like that day by day. It doesn’t affect my music but I do touch bases on that.
Certain things back in the day with the Shady camp and everything, things did get a little overwhelming. I needed to sit down from the music for a minute and then come back to it. Time off was well-needed to me. I apologize to my fans and the people who supported me again, but sometimes you just gotta do things for yourself. That’s what my situation was like.
Planet Ill: Do you ever want to be un-famous?
Obie Trice: Yeah, it’s times when I want to just find a spot in the country where my neighbors are 50 miles away. I definitely go through that. When I first came in the game I was a young dude and I loved it. Sometimes that does get tiresome, but this is what I do; this is my job. It’s like anything else; it’s work. I’ve been dealing with this for years. To answer your question, yeah there are times that has come across my mind.
Planet Ill: What about the work that it takes to be an emcee? You got a lot of people now who are making almost a parody of rap. They can’t rap and they throwing up signs and yucking it up for the cameras. As a real rapper, how much work does it take to be an emcee?
Obie Trice: To me it’s a gift. And it’s a whole lot of work. It’s a whole lot of work. This is something I’ve been doing for YEARS. For Years. It aint’ for everybody but you know some people get breaks. Some people get in the game and they become these big huge individuals nd have a whole lot of success and really not in my eyes an emcee or do this job well but you got million s of millions of peope out here who appreciate that. These kids like things like that so.
I was just at Tony Touch’s party, this DJ thing he was doing the other day, and I kind of felt like a groupie. I met Grand Puba Maxwell, from Brand Nubian. I grew up to Brand Nubian; Sadat X , Alamo all of them. That was something I grew up to so I appreciate that. I appreciate the love that he gave me. This thing is a deep, deep rooted game for me and real recognize real. Sometimes that shit that’s not the real blows up. A lot of time s. So it is what it is; you just gotta keep going and doing your thing.
Planet Ill: Tell us about your new music. What can people expect from this new project?
Obie Trice: For the new project I got a lot of producers on there from my city. I got these guys called No Speakers, these young dudes they’re a production team. My mans AK and Square they did some work on Second Round’s On Me. Dr. Dre is doing production on the album, Eminem is doing production on the record and performing. It’s just an Obie Trice album, Cheers, Second Round’s On Me, and this is just my third LP, it’s just not on a major label. It’s a great album. It do a lot of different things in it. I’m proud of it. I wouldn’t even put it out if I wasn’t. I know what I like, I liked Cheers, I was in love with Second Round’s On Me; that’s the reason why they got out there. This is something that I’m proud of and ready to go.
Planet Ill: That Dr. Dre and that Eminem, are those old tracks from the Interscope days or is that brand new material?
Obie Trice: No this is brand new material that we got here. If it was old, I wouldn’t put it on there either. The new shit.
Planet Ill: Is there any advice you can give an up and coming rapper as far as trying to stay alive?
Obie Trice: Yeah. Basically just be yourself. Don’t try to do what somebody else is doing; do what’s true to you and your heart. Sometimes we compromise that just to fit in but you don’t have to do that. And that’s what a lot of these cats don’t understand. That’s the main thing. Be true to yourself. That’s my advice.
Planet Ill: Is there anything that you wanted to get off your chest or share with the people that maybe they didn’t know or that nobody ever asked you in an interview before?
Obie Trice: I just want to say “Battle Cry” is at iTuness right now my single on Amazon you can get that. You can reach me on Twitter @realObieTrice, you also can go to my web page at www.blackmarketent313.com. You can reach me on FaceBook, Obie Trice whatever. Just look out for my album on 1/17/2012. My only fear about this thing is that people don’t know that it’s out because of the independence of my situation so I definitely want to get people to know that this record is coming and I hope that everybody supports it.
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