- Fri, 2012-04-13 12:49
Born and raised in Detroit, rapper Obie Trice became known around the globe when he was signed to Eminem's Shady Records in 2000, joining one of the biggest crews in rap music. Opening up Eminem's single Without Me with 'Obie Trice-real name, no gimmicks', he went on to feature in 8 Mile and perform across the film's soundtrack, collaborate with Busta Rhymes, Eminem, 50 Cent, Dr Dre, D12, Timbaland and more on his 2003 debut album Cheers, then follow up the release with his 2005 album produced primarily by Eminem.
Departing from Shady Records in 2008, Obie Trice went on to form his own label Black Market Entertainment. Four years later and finally, his third album Bottom's Up has been delivered. Featuring production from Dr Dre and an appearance from Eminem, we called up Obie for a chat about the record's release and message, plus how far he's come since the reckless days of Shady Records...
"I Like Music because...it saved my life. Either I was on the road to being deceased or in prison, you know? It saved my life. It's something that I love to do. I'm proud of what I do. It's a job like no other. I love Obie Trice! I love being who I am. I wouldn't change it for the world, no matter what my career has in store for me. It's definitely something that saved my life, in this world where we only here for fifteen minutes, you know?" Obie Trice
ILM: Hey Obie. How are you?
Obie Trice: I'm pretty good, I'm pretty good. I can't complain.
ILM: Whereabouts are you today?
Obie Trice: I'm in Detroit.
ILM: How is it over there?
Obie Trice: The weather is getting better, you know, it's better than it was. We getting warmer now, it's pretty good...!
ILM: Your third studio album Bottom's Up has been a long time coming. How are you feeling now it's done, it's out there, it's on the way?
Obie Trice: Yeah. You know. It's a real, great feeling. Just to have another body of work coming out from a long hiatus, being off for so long, you know what I'm saying? To be able to go back to work, tour different countries, touch the fans that was there from day one for me, it's a beautiful feeling.
ILM: It has been a long time. Second Round's on Me was released in 2006. We thought Bottom's Up was going to drop in 2009, then 2010. Have you found the wait frustrating?
Obie Trice: Well, it was well needed. All the things that needed to happen to have April 3rd 2012 come, was definitely things that needed to happen. I'm just glad the day has finally come. The world can hear the music.
ILM: Can you tell us about the photo on the cover of Bottom's Up? Is that you?
Obie Trice: Yeah. As you know, my mother just passed away in July of last year from breast cancer. I was going by her house and I was cleaning out our home and I ran into a lot of pictures of me when I was a baby, a young guy and things like that. This particular picture was hanging over my mother's bed, so you know, I knew the album was coming and that artwork was needed... Bottom's Up is just like a re-birth for me also. I've been through the bottom, being a youngster coming up. It was a picture that was dear to my mother and it made sense in terms of my journey and my career. So, I just thought it was fit for the album cover.
ILM: Looking back to when you first entered the industry and started making music, how do you think you've changed as an artist?
Obie Trice: Well, I'm more reserved now. When I first got in there with Eminem, as you know, I was very, very reckless. I was younger, I was just doing whatever. I was definitely a Shady Records representative. I definitely put in my time over there. You ask Eminem the same thing and he'll tell you the same. Right now is just a different feel for me. I'm 34 years old, I approach music different, my process is different. You know, back then I just wanted to rush the music. Get in there and kind of like, knock it out. You couldn't tell me shit back then. I was just a different person. Life just changes you. The personal triumphs and things that I've been through have moulded me to be the individual that I am today.
ILM: How has your music making process changed?
Obie Trice: My music process is more reserved now too. I go in there and I work and I work and I work. There's no rush. I used to hit the streets, go to the studio, hit the streets. But now, the studio is my life. I like to just relax and take my time, focus on where I want to go with the music, not just for the time being, but later on. For my next steps. It's really calculated nowadays.
ILM: The growth on the album is certainly clear. Alongside the more upbeat jams, there are quite dark, hard-hitting tracks like Dear Lord. How did that particular track come to be?
Obie Trice: Yeah, um. The message behind Dear Lord is just that I'm really talking to the creator. Talking about these worldly mistakes that I'm making, these thoughts that go on in my head. You get put in certain situations. You know, I was shot. I almost died. A real tragedy happened to Proof, who was very, very, very close to me. Also, there are things off the record with certain individuals that I know the media or the fans are not aware of. Dear Lord is just explaining to the creator that I'm really not this individual anymore. Basically though, I have to protect myself. I still have things to do in this life. I still have children to raise. I got two beautfiul daughters and um...you know, it's one of those things. I'm not a violent individual but put in those circumstances, I will protect myself. That's what that song is about.
ILM: Do you still find yourself in confrontational situations because of your music?
Obie Trice: Well, I do see the type of things that come my way. Whether it's blogs or living from day to day going to pump gas, or taking some time out to go enjoy myself at a club, just to go dancing, just to hang out. I do see the devils. I do see the people that may have a certain perception of me. People that may not be having the best time in their lives and they look at me and show some type of envious force. You know, I definitely see negativity, just from being who I am in my career. At the end of the day, I'm here to make music. Those people who are like that, they have no clue who I am as an individual, they don't know who I am. I look at it in that way nowadays. Back in the Shady days, I would attack those individuals, I would feel a certain way. As I'm getting older I understand the magnitude of where I am in my career. The older I get the more I look at things in retrospect, I think I have grown a lot as an artist and as a person through my career.
ILM: Do you think Eminem, Dre and the rest of the Shady crew have changed in that way too?
Obie Trice: Yeah. I definitely think they've changed. I just talked to Eminem probably a week ago and we had a long conversation on the phone. There's definitely a change in him, you know, from his addiction to where he is now in his life. We all was reckless back then. It was just a reckless time. I would-a died for Shady Records, you know? We was in a lot of very confrontational, violent situations when Eminem wasn't around and I was in those type of situations, just representing what I believed in. I believe all of us have changed. We're all grateful to still be able to create music and get back to the basics of what this is about, and that's making great music and making hip hop for our fans.
ILM: In 2010 you launched your own label Black Market Entertainment. It seems you have a very clear vision with the label, not just to release music but to support Detroit, develop new talent...
Obie Trice: Yeah. Well, as you know Eminem did a lot for Detroit and he's definitely someone I look up to in terms of his journey and career. I just wanna be part of that movement, I wanna bring opportunities to my city and also, to the mid-West. Everything in the mid-West. There's a lot of talent here, a lot of talented young ladies and young men. People doing music, not just hip hop, rnb, rock n roll, country... There's a lot of talent here and I wanna be a part of bringing something to my region so these artists can get an international feel with their music. And not just that, creating job opportunities with the label too. We sat down with the Senator of Michigan and we tried to come up with some ideas of making a music community here, where people can go for the arts, go to the studio, read up on Motown, read up on the history of Detroit. There's a lot of up and coming people who want to learn and are passionate about music. Hopefully it can all be in one set area where they can go and be part of the arts.
ILM: What music have you been into recently?
Obie Trice: Right now, I'm really focused on my record! So...I've been going over it and listening to the record amongst close relatives and friends. I'm always feeling hip hop though, I'm into J-Cole, Wale, Big Krit, 2 Chainz. I respect the movement and I hope to work with a lot of these artists in the future.
Obie Trice: Yeah, well back then it was just a Shady thing, you know? Who else to work with but our crew? It was just an in-house type of thing. Now I do want to branch out and work with a lot of artists outside my Shady family.
Obie Trice - Bottom's Up is out now and available from iTunes