Obie Trice: Real Name, No Gimmicks
"Obie Trice, real name-no gimmick." Those were the first words that most people might recall hearing from Obie Trice, seconds before Eminem's "Without Me" anthem starts. Since then, Obie's landed guest spots on albums such as D12's D12 World, Eminem's "8 Mile" soundtrack, and Green Lantern's mixtapes, to name a few.
Now, with a new album dropping in September, dues paid, and his current Eminem-produced single "Got Some Teeth" getting major rotation, Obie is ready for a toast. So let's do a cheers to the Detroit rapper's success!
BallerStatus.com: I first heard you on "The Well Known Asshole/Gimme My Dat" back in '99, four years later, you're on Shady Records, doing things with Eminem. How did that come about?
Obie Trice: No one really knew me when I put out "The Well Known Asshole," "Mr. Trice" and a few other records we had on vinyl, so we started getting them to DJ's and they started getting a buzz, and Bizarre (of D12) was like, "Who is this n****?!" He called his manager and his management got in touch with me and so Bizarre and I was fam for a long time before we hooked it up. So, one day Bizarre called me like, "Yo! Come spit for [Eminem]." I'll never forget it. It was a hot summer day and Eminem had just dropped The Marshall Mathers LP and I shot out there from the hood, jumped in the Regal, shot up there to the studio and spit for him from the passenger side of his car and gave him a CD and he was like, "Aight, I'll holla." But, I didn't think anything of it. I was like, "OK." I thanked Bizarre for looking out, went back to the hood and a couple weeks later, I got a call from my manager saying, "Shady might have dinner with you." I sat down, had dinner with the CEO and that night I hung out with Em. He took me to Kid Rock's party and sh** and we chopped it up, know what I'm sayin'? And it's been smiles and handshakes from then on.
BallerStatus.com: What was your initial reaction to the spotlight? Going from being an independent artist to being featured on Eminem's "Without Me" video, appearing in "8 Mil"e and even featured on The Eminem Show?
Obie Trice: It was something I had to adapt to. Hip-hop was something I always wanted to achieve and making that adaptation from being in the hood, nickel/dime, crack, you know? -- hustlin' to just becoming a commodity. I had to choose so fast, but it was a change I had to make. It was just a change process.
BallerStatus.com: What was the difference for you from being on an independent label to crossing over and now being signed to a major record label?
Obie Trice: Being on your own label, [for example] you go to a studio who charges $30 to record and you go in with $100 and you try to knock out songs real fast and sh** and do as many songs as you possibly can. Now, it's like I can be up in there as long as I want to and really take my time on my music. And I want the world to hear my music, so thats the big difference. It's definitely a plus.
BallerStatus.com: How long have you been in the game?
Obie Trice: For a good 4-5 years.
BallerStatus.com: So you're still fresh in the game.
Obie Trice: No doubt, a new me, a new voice, and a new career.
BallerStatus.com: Do you feel any pressure being the next Eminem-produced artist after 50 Cent?
Obie Trice: Nah, no pressure. No pressure at all.
BallerStatus.com: What artist do you look forward to working with that you didn't get a chance to work with on this album?
Obie Trice: I'd probably wanna work with Redman. I grew up appreciating his music.
BallerStatus.com: What advice do you have to upcoming/aspiring MC's and artists that are in the position you were in a few years ago?
Obie Trice: My advice is just keep grindin' and just love what you're doing.
BallerStatus.com: Is there anything aside from music that you want to do and become a part of?
Obie Trice: I wanna get into screen writing. I ain't trying to be no actor or nothing; unless the digits is right, but definitely screen writing.
BallerStatus.com: What inspires you to keep going in the lab and keep making hits and being creative?
Obie Trice: My love for the music.
BallerStatus.com: How much of the "beef" in hip-hop is real? Do you think its used as a promotional tool now-a-days?
Obie Trice: I think it's real. I think when you speak over beats about a dude it can get serious. I dont think it's just a marketing scheme.
BallerStatus.com: Speaking of beef, I know you've been on the frontlines as far as battles between the Shady Records/Aftermath camps and The Source magazine. You've got a track on the b-side of "Got Some Teeth" entitled "Sh** Hits The Fan," what sparked you to do that record?
Obie Trice: "Sh** Hits The Fan" is like, you know, I didn't want it to look like I inherited 50 Cent's beef with Ja Rule. Ja Rule started speaking on Eminem, the man who saved my life, who took me out the hood and he's talking about what he's gonna do to Em's daughter and what he's gonna do to him when he sees him and all that bullsh**. So, that sparked this sh** and that's what "Sh** Hits The Fan" is about.
BallerStatus.com: What are your thoughts about The Source magazine and what they're doing by trying to take shots at the Shady/Aftermath camps?
Obie Trice: I look at them like they losin'. They took shots first, they initiated this. And before, The Source was like THE magazine for the "hip-hop culture" and now it's like you see, blatantly, they're just trying to f*** over Shady. And to the fickle eye or to the fickle reader, you might give into that sh**, but real motherf***ers know, they know what's up.
BallerStatus.com: What's it been like working with two of the greatest artists in hip-hop, Eminem and Dr. Dre?
Obie Trice: It's been dope! They're both some brilliant dudes, but they're real people at the same time. So it's just dope.
BallerStatus.com: You've been on Shady Records for a minute, why so long for your album to drop?
Obie Trice: It was 2001 when I got signed and at that time D12 dropped Devil's Night and I was on that album. Right after that, Marshall went into The Eminem Show and I was on that album. Right after that came the "8 Mile" movie and soundtrack, and Eminem was in every scene of the movie and he was working like a motherf***er. So, we ain't really have the time to get together and get in the studio like we needed to. After that, 50 came with an album, so they pushed him out there. Then we finally spent like 6-7 months to actually get it poppin'.
BallerStatus.com: Who's featured on the Cheers album?
Obie Trice: I got Timbaland on it, Busta Rhymes, a posse cut with G-Unit, and a posse cut with D12. I got Dre, Em, Nate Dogg on there, you know, the family.
BallerStatus.com: What can people expect from Cheers?
Obie Trice: Cheers is an album that lets you know about Obie Trice. His background, where I come from. It gets fun, it gets serious, sad, clubby. It's all over the place. It's not a particular direction that the album is in.
BallerStatus.com: Where did the concept for "Got Some Teeth" come from?
Obie Trice: Me and Em was in the studio late as f***, clownin and sh**. He made the beat from scratch and when he finally finished it, I was like "DAMN! I gotta take this on some silly sh**!. It was just that type of beat and "Got Some Teeth" is just another way of talking about a chicken.
BallerStatus.com: I heard you on Baby Blak's record along with Planet Asia, it's called "No Coast All Stars," is that something you'll still do as far as getting down with underground MCs whether or not youre signed?
Obie Trice: Hell yeah, definitely! I love the underground, that grimy sh**, it's where I come from.
BallerStatus.com: What do you want people to remember Obie Trice as, when it's all said and done?
Obie Trice: That Obie Trice is the truth. He brought some good music.