TMF meets Obie Trice
Hailing from Detroit, Obie Trice is one of the realest rappers on the scene. Using his patented 'real name, no gimmicks' approach, he has always been honest and upfront in his lyrics and sincere in his delivery.
As one of the most underrated MCs around, Obie has had a difficult time in gaining a solid reputation at the forefront of hip-hop, but for the true rap fans, he is one of the best.
In time for his first full-length independent release, Bottoms Up, we had a chat with Obie about his business venture in Black Market Entertainment, how he feels about Eminem, and what fans can expect from the new album.
You got signed to Shady Records in 2000 and you featured on some Eminem tracks. You quickly became an artist in your own right, and now you have your own label, Black Market Entertainment. Could you tell me more about that?
OT: Well, you know, now I'm running a business so I have my own input, so things are a little different. I'm not just an artist any more – I'm searching for talent and I want to also bring artists to the forefront of music, not just at a local level but on an international level. There is a lot of creativity going on in my region and I just want to be a part of that.
Eminem signed me as the first solo artist to Shady, he did a lot for D12 and of course he's doing a lot for Royce da 5'9 right now, so I feel like I just want to give back and help a lot of artists on a local level become international stars.
My thinking is a little different; back then it was basically music and the Shady movement and they were the things that were on my mind, so now I'm looking at it from a CEO standpoint and keeping it moving.
Obviously you're first and foremost a rapper, so how, as an MC, have you improved over the years?
My perspective of things is a little different from what it used to be. I don't know if that's improving or not. I still have the same lyrical abilities and musical talent that I've possessed throughout my career. Even though I've been out of the media's eye I've never stopped recording; it has always been a progression that will continue.
It has taken you a while to be able to release Bottoms Up. What challenges and setbacks have you met on the way, and how have you overcome them?
The name Bottoms Up was decided a while ago but I've only been recording it for about eight months. Over the years I've been working. I've been doing music and getting myself together in terms of my personal life and business. I've been taking a seat back – I lost Proof and a lot of things went on with Interscope where we had to go our different ways. It wasn't like that with Shady though. I've just had to keep things moving. It gave me a lot of time to put things into perspective.
'Battle Cry' was the first single from Bottoms Up, and it's quite an emotional, deep track. Is Bottoms Up going to be a lot more like this, or will there still be some of the typical Obie Trice humour that fans are used to?
It's gonna be everywhere. It's gonna be emotional, it's gonna be fun, it's gonna be very thought provoking, it's gonna explain a lot of things that went on, it's gonna show all aspects of my personality. It's a very well rounded album!
I listened to Watch The Chrome and loved that your content has become so diverse; I liked New Day and Anymore, and I get the feeling that you're moving away from street talk, and I actually think that your emceeing is the best I've heard from you so far. Would you agree with this?
Well, the street is still there, it's always gonna be there, but with Watch The Chrome I just rapped about however the music made me feel. That's just how I work. With the song 'New Day' my mum had just passed from breast cancer so I spoke on my mum. With 'Hood is Wild' I just went in on how the doubters made me feel.
When I was at Shady Records, I created me. Eminem was my business associate and a lot of people get strayed away from that – all they see is the biggest artist. They don't understand that we help each other create songs. Sometimes he changed his lyrics because he heard mine and felt that my verse was deeper and he wanted to get on the same level. We bounce off each other; we work together. A lot of people tend to lose sight of that due to the magnitude of his success. Really I just speak on what I feel is necessary for me. The instrumental just lets my mind travel.
Is there a message you want fans to take away from Bottoms Up?
I just want them to listen and enjoy it, you know. It's for them the fans, it's for you. It's for me but it's obviously for the people that support Obie Trice.
I'm not sure if you know any UK artists but if you do, are there any you are rating right now?
I've got the Bottoms Up tour coming soon so I'll be in the UK and I'm sure I'll get a taste of the UK hip-hop scene! I'm familiar with Adele! But I'll definitely be over there touring so I'll check it out.
Yeah, make sure you do! What other artists would you like to work with? Are there be any features from other artists on Bottoms Up?
The Rezza Brothers are two guys from Toronto who are very talented – they were a part of the lead single 'Battle Cry', and my new single that just came out in March, 'Spend The Day', featured Dre Skidne who is a Detroit native with a very talented voice. MC Breed is an iconic figure from Michigan who passed away a few years ago, and right before he died I got a verse from him. That's basically it. It's just me and I'm keeping it moving!
Finally, what is planned for after the release of Bottoms Up?
I definitely plan to tour this album internationally, so I'll be focussing on the Bottoms Up tour. I'll be searching for talent and finding people who are very serious about music and very creative. I'm very focussed on the Black Market Entertainment label and keeping things moving forward.
Bottoms Up is out now on via Ingrooves. Follow Obie Trice on Twitter.