Obie Trice: Fighting Another Round

posted August 19, 2006 12:00:00 AM CDT | 10 comments

Having a bullet in the head is enough to stop most people from working. Not Obie Trice. After a horrific incident on a Detroit highway, the resilient emcee only took a little time off before hitting the lab for his sophomore major label album, Second Rounds On Me. But that wasnt the first time Obies had to fight against odds. Ever since Superman underwear, the Osters fought when everyone doubted. Now, with a new album, a new attitude and some new found wisdom, Trice continues to fight.

Obie grew up in a single parent household. But as noted in Obies Story, one of the most introspective tracks off the new album, his Mom worked hard for Os joy.

I had a cool childhood like anybody else. Grew up in the hood. Tried to stay out the way. Do what I could to do what I had to do, he says of his early years.

But even so, it was hard for the young Obie to value the hard work and love of family and eventually hard for him to stay out the way of drug dealing. So, when he consistently disobeyed his mother, Obie was forced out, and essentially, according to him, forced to hit the streets.

I was a real disobedient little n-gga. My mother kicked me out the crib and I had to fend for myself. So, thats kind of what drove me to hit the corner and get me some money. I knew the top-notch drug dealers that was in my area and they always took to me. So, they threw me some things to stay on my toes out here, he says of his hustling days.

But those hustling days also caused disarray in other areas of his life. Ultimately, this lead to his premature departure from high school, when O made the bold move to drop out. That decision is one that has caused regret for the emcee.

Looking back, I would change that. Yeah, I would change a lot of things. I think education is important. I really do. I think if I continued with school, itd help me out today in a lot of different things. I think you always need them book smarts with whatever youre doing. If you hustling or whatever, you should always have that...at least some knowledge, he explains.

Another lesson he learned dealt with family. During these disobedient days, Obie didnt realize just how important family is. And in the hustle and bustle of the block, it was hard for O to get his mind right about the people who truly cared for him.

I really didnt understand what family meant back then. It was a time in my life where I really didnt pay attention to what was important. They tried to look out for me. I was like the black sheep, though. I did what the f-ck I wanted to do. And thats just how it was, he confides.

But the streets did help with something. Eventually, Obie learned to use that money to fund his musical endeavors. With the help of his older brother, he would strive to make it in the rap game. I still flipped a little bit. Saved up my chips and put it in the music, he rhymes of his transition on the new LP.

The underground buzz around Obie blew from his independently released Well Known Asshole. That indie album helped catapult O into the limelight when he hooked up with fellow Detroit emcees in D12. Of course it didnt hurt when Eminem gave his blessing and the crew had Trice spit a few bars on an interlude for their highly successful Devils Night.

The buzz grew more and more. Features on Eminem projects, including Without Me, Love Me, Say My Name and more gave him more notoriety. He was also seen in 8 Mile, and heard on various G-Unit/Shady/Aftermath mix-tapes. It was no surprise that when his album dropped, Cheers hit the top of the charts. But for some reason, it seemed as though he wasnt getting the same recognition as his comrades. Being next to Slim Shady and 50 Cent undoubtedly helped sell a few records, but at the same time, it was as if Fiddy and Slims incredible shine overshadowed Trices glory.

At the time, it was 50 Mania, and dude did his thing, you know? It was his time. And as he explains, its hard to look past the fact that his album did go platinum. The conversation from the album quickly transitions into the perception received from the LP. When Obie dropped his first single, some heads shrieked. The Well Known Asshole making a comical track with Got Some Teeth? Some began claiming O was selling out, making kid-friendly music, in order to dumb down for the masses. Obie rejects those comments.

Lotta cats thought I was on some bullshit when I came in with the first single Got Some Teeth, but I still perform that song today. Got Some Teeth is a part of me. Thats my funny side. I like to laugh. And a lot of people get it misconstrued like gangstas cant laugh but whatever... I like to laugh and joke. Me and my homies, we like laughing, he explains.

In the end, Cheers was an album that he made without restrictions. He did it his way.

Cheers is my baby, man. Thats my joint. Thats my album. I wouldnt change nothing about Cheers, he adds of his certified platinum LP.

With that platinum-plus success, it was time to hit the lab once again. Still under Shady, Obie was ready for another round. But tragedy struck. Turmoil erupted. After being shot at and hit in the head, O ended up laying in a hospital bed with doctors unsure as to what to do with the bullet. Eventually, medical experts determined it would be best to leave the bullet lodged in his head.

At that time, I had a sense of invincibility, he says. I felt I was invincible. I was paranoid. I was f-cking scared. A whole bunch of emotions going through my mind...And my head was like...I already wear like a size 8 in baseball caps. You know I got a big ass head. It was like two of them, though, he says of his injuries.

They didnt remove the bullet. They would have had to drill on my skull and shit like that so the doctors said If it aint bother you. Leave it alone. Well wait until your skull heals, he explains.

Danger is still present. The shooters have not been found and Obie believes he was targeted. But he isnt too scared anymore because he realizes tomorrow may not come.

Anything can happen, man. Aint nobody promised tomorrow. The dudes that did it probably still out there. Most likely they are. Nobodys talking. I was hoping Id find out by the end of the Summer, who did that sh-t. But that sh-t just happens. It can happen to anybody out here. Theyre just haters, man. They just hate. I probably f-cked the n-ggas woman or something...Dudes be in the club and they just be f-gs, man. Im doing my own thing and Im at the bar. Dudes is paying attention with a mean mug, grim faced looking at me. They want to have physical contact with me, and I dont even know these guys. I think its really a form of homosexuality. I think they really want to touch men, he says of his haters.

After such a life-changing incident, he hit the lab with conviction. Second Rounds On Me sees O focused as ever, challenging enemies, snitches and humanity to Wake Up. Using clever lines, imagery, wordplay and volume, Obie Trice manages to do everything from make people laugh to make people think. He even does some social commentary, specifically on Wake Up.

Born and raised, mental slaves, and I dont see change before Im seeing the grave, he rhymes. With that understanding, Obie realizes how difficult change can be to create.

Im trying to teach my daughter the right way. Change is a big situation. It takes families to really raise their kids. I dont see that happening in my lifetime. I really dont. People, especially black people, we need to look at ourselves and try to do the right thing. Its going to take jobs, its going to take opportunities, its going to take the right schooling. Its not just one thing. Its going to take some work. I know little n-ggas who will kill you for two hundred dollars...No way in hell, I would have did no shit like that. These little n-ggas is really killin mother fuckers for nothing, he explains.

But Obie aint preaching. He also understands and relates. As a matter of fact, his new album features a lot of violence and street-tales, which some feel may impact the youth negatively. Take Ghetto for instance, which features a line that may have some kids believing violence is the only way.

You aint shit without no gun in the ghetto. Take a kid without much guidance and that hook may lead a child astray. But, as Obie points out, he is more drawn to describing his hometown than he is drawn to being a role model.

That may happen. A kid could get the wrong idea from that. But I dont give a f-ck. Im not here to be a role model to these motherf-ckers. Common sense will tell you that Im saying Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. And in my hood, where Im at, you need a weapon. You need a gun. Thats where Im at. Theres not a motherf-cker there who aint carrying. They may not be using it. They aint using it and just murdering motherf-ckers. But youd rather be caught with one than without one, where Im from. So, I dont know where these other kids are from, but if you understand where Im from, you understand this song, he says of his lyrical content.

And even if you dont agree, you have to admit, hes still doing things his way. Hes still fighting against odds, and hes been doing so for years.

The kid who had to see his father bounce, made good. The kid who had to fend for himself realized the value of home. The kid who went independent is now riding with one of Hip-Hops most powerful labels. The kid who didnt know what family meant now realizes what family means.

My Moms. My little girl, my daughter. These people believe in me. They count on me and thats important to me. That right there is everything to me, he confides.

And deep down, thats what keeps Obie fighting.

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