SB.TV Interview – Obie Trice

After taking a break from the game, Obie Trice is back with his third studio album and a spanking new record label. Bottoms Up drops April 3, SB.TV took the opportunity to talk to the Detroit MC about his latest material, work with Eminem and his alcoholic preferences…

What has been going on for you since you released Second Round’s On Me in 2006?

OT: I just took a time out for family, you know. Still recording in the meantime but I just took a break from the business. There were a lot of things happening that were bad for me and I just had to sit out for a minute. Still recording, doing that process, just out of the media’s eyes.

Can you say what coming from Detroit means for you, and how it’s come to influence your music?

OT: Motown records originated from here and my parents and a lot of my peers’ parents came up in that era; we were all introduced to music at a young age. As my life progressed, I fell in love with the hip-hop culture. Detroit has been a part of my musical upbringing, since I was a baby.

In 2010 you founded your own label, Black Market Entertainment. What is your vision for the label?

OT: Black Market Entertainment, from my side of it, is selling my music out of the trunk before I was even signed to Shady Records. That was the black market of things – no barcodes, soliciting. A lot of artists come from that same type of hustle to get that music out, so that was important to me. And my plan for it is just to get music out for a lot of these artists that aren’t internationally known. I want to bring artists to the forefront of hip-hop culture, just like Marshall did for me, D12, Royce Da 5’9”, and Slaughterhouse. That’s the focus of the label. Mainly to put my record out first, take the revenue from that and dump it into the company, so we can do talent searches and start getting these artists known worldwide.

What was working with Eminem like?

OT: Me and him, when we get in the studio, it’s just like old times. Making Richard was just fun, it was real personal, we discussed a lot of issues that were going on in each other’s lives. We also laughed and joked and talked in retrospect about Proof, a lot of these things that we went through on the same label. It’s definitely a fun environment, a serious environment at times. I know that guy like I know myself and vice versa. We’ll definitely be working on future projects together and make music together. That will never stop.

You’ve dedicated a number of tracks to Proof and you spoke at his funeral about the purposelessness of black-on-black violence. Do you see the urban gun crime situation ever improving?

OT: I don’t see it improving. Yesterday they found two girls, 18 and 19, abducted and put in the trunk of a car, both shot in the head, two young black girls in Detroit – senseless death. So I don’t see it improving, but I do continue to get the message out there – violence is not the answer. On my record, I got a song called Dear Lord, I’m talking to my creator. I would not let these demons take me away from my family and my children. I got two beautiful little daughters, and I can’t let the negative take me away from them, so I would have to defend myself. I’m not saying in that record that I’m the one that’s going to initiate the conflict, I’m saying that I will defend myself if that situation arises towards me. And it may sound contradictory, but it’s not, if people really pay attention to what I’m saying. To answer your question, I don’t think the violence is improving. I think that it’s the responsibility of people in politics and of celebrity status to try to increase the peace, as much as you can.

Bottoms Up is dropping on April 3, 2012. What can people expect from the album?

OT: The album was done in the last 8 months. I wanted to have the Shady feel, because that’s what people know me for. I got production from Eminem. He doesn’t produce anymore – I had to really pull his teeth to get this record going anywhere. I wanted that sound. You can expect vintage Obie, if you were a fan of the music before. It’s definitely a breath of fresh air from what’s going on in music now. I got Dr Dre starting the album off with the Bottom’s Up Intro. It’s always great for me to be able to work with Dre, he’s a great friend of mine. And I got a lot of Detroit producers that are up-and-coming, who I want to showcase and are very, very talented. It’s all over the place. Phonix’s on there, you got Statik Selektah from New York, you got the Rezza brothers from Toronto. It do many things. Definitely something to ride to – I’m very excited.

In the single, Battle Cry, you talk about having criticism aimed at you when you’re in the public eye. What are the challenges and changes that come with success and fame?

OT: You just can’t do everything that you used to. Akon told me to always appear to be a star in your hometown. My hometown, that’s where I got shot. I was almost killed there. I’m making music for my hometown, but there’s a lot of things that you have to adjust to, being a celebrity in a small community like Detroit, because there are a lot of people that just can’t help themselves with evils that are inside of them. You have to adapt to that change, and not just at home. There are other places you go in this world where people just don’t accept your vibe. Something they get from you is maybe devilish in their eyes. You’ve got to adapt to this way of life. It’s definitely something that I’ve learned, and you just can’t learn overnight. It’s something that an individual has to go through, and I’ve been through it.

You were shot in 2005. Can you say how, if at all, that changed you, and how it affected you?

OT: It made me a better person. People do purposeless things that really don’t equate to anything. They just react and do things for no apparent reason. I’ve been a victim of that before too, and it has made me understand that you have to think things out, and things are not as serious as they appear to be once you research it, and have a by-yourself-committee meeting. It definitely scarred me. It definitely was a tragic situation, but it put a lot of things in perspective too. Three months later, the same bullets to the back of the head killed a very important person in my life, which was Proof. All of that was a very, very trying time for me, an overwhelming time. I just needed a break from everything.

What’s your take on current hip-hop – who are you liking?

OT: I like what hip-hop is today. It’s steady-growing. The internet is really big in hip-hop today, which is a little different from what I’m used to but it’s a necessity. I’m still trying to remember to tweet. Something good happens, I have to remember to connect with my followers to say that this is happening for all of us, and not just me. It’s just one of those things that you’ve got to get used to when you don’t come from that era. As far as music, I’m liking Nicki Minaj – she’s a very talented and sexy young lady – and Drake, I’m feeling Kanye, and the Watch The Throne album. I like J. Cole, I’m feeling 2 Chainz, Jeezy. I’m loving hip-hop, and I’m just glad to be able to put out another body of work and reach my fans again with Bottoms Up.

Given that your albums all have alcohol related titles, what is your drink of choice?

OT: Right now my drink of choice is Ketel One. I’m drinking vodka right now. I’m a spirits connoisseur. Whatever is fine with me, whatever spirit of the time – I’ll try it. I have no reason not to try it. But I definitely drink Vodka and it’s Ketel One right now.

Order/buy Bottoms Up here:
Black Market Entertainment website:
Twitter: @realobietrice
Facebook: Obie Trice

Words by Fiona Guest

Edited by Natalia


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