Obie Trice has been through it all. He’s experienced the highest points of the Shady days and the lowest points. His career has taken several turns both up and down, right and left but though it all one characteristic has always remained; realness.
HipHopDX recently talked with Obie Trice and during the conversation, it was evident that he was a seasoned vet when it came to the shady dealings (no pun intended) of the music industry. While Trice may have been a little naïve to the major grind when he signed on with Interscope back in 2000, his reflection of such shows how far the Detroit native has come.
When revisiting the Benzino/The Source situation from almost 10 years ago, Obie opened up about the origin of the beef.
“It kind of like blew me away because I’m fresh in the game and I believe in your word is everything and at the time I had no clue of how fickle this industry was,” Trice said.
Obie also explained how being on Shady had its consequences as well as its positives.
“I mean you know he’s an artist as well but he has his own individual issues and does his own thing,” he said. “So back then, when Em didn’t move we did suffer some consequences from that.”
Trice also talks about his upcoming mixtape, The Hangover, which is slated to feature production from Warren G, learning the industry as an independent artist and as head of an indie label, and reaction from Bottoms Up.
HipHopDX: What's new?
Obie Trice: We just got off our Canadian tour and just giving people more run from the Bottoms Up album up there and we just about to finish The Hangover mixtape that we’re set to release out in August and just keeping in the studio and just working and that’s about it, man. The new single about to come out from Bottoms Up and it’s called “Spill My Drink” and we shooting a video for that this Monday coming up and we’re also gonna shoot part of it in Chicago, so I’m looking forward to that too.
HipHopDX: Yeah you mention Bottoms Up. I know it’s been a few months but what kind of reaction did you get from that?
Obie Trice: Well you know some people didn’t think it was strong enough, some people appreciated it, a lot of people felt like since I wasn’t with the Shady [Records] situation anymore the album could have been better and all these different speculations. I thought the album was a great album since I’ve been away from the game for six years so I think it did what it did and a lot of people enjoyed it though. So there was a mixed reaction to the album. I appreciated it - wouldn’t have put it out if I didn’t feel like it was good enough to be out so it was all good.
DX: Speaking about that new mixtape I heard you have Warren G on the production tip but haven’t heard much about the actual project, could you maybe expand on that a little?
Obie Trice: Yeah, [Warren G] just sent me some beats man and it’s been working out well with the tracks so he just wanted to reach out to me and just send me some tracks. And you know I appreciate Warren for the music and everything he doing and how he staying relevant in the game with production and things like that, so it’s just a good look to be able to work with Warren and be able to do some tracks with him and that’s what it’s about.
DX: Sure, what’s it like though being a veteran and working with someone who’s maybe more veteran than you?
Obie Trice: Yeah he gave me like three beats and I wanna use them all and I want to use at least one of them for my new record, the actual record, The Hangover, that we’re trying to put out next year. It was just cool man actually he sent them over to me, he called me a few times and we talked about it. I let him know to get it how I want it and I’m gonna send it back to him so he can do the mastering and all that, mixing and all those things but we just kicked it and he was just like [mimicking Warren G] “You gotta do it."
DX: [Laughs] yeah, exactly.
Obie Trice: You know how he do it. [Laughs] He wanted me to reach out to [Eminem] for one of the tracks to maybe get him on there, and it’s not a bad idea, but we just gonna figure it out as we come, you know? and we just working right now.
DX: You mention going to Canada and I’ve noticed you’re hitting other destinations outside of the United States. How has the reception to Obie Trice been overseas?
Obie Trice: It’s cool; it’s been a good look. I always go and give 110% and we have a good time and I take them back to the old Shady days with the music and it’s a real intimate-type situation and we go to the new album also and we just have a good time, man, and that’s just what my scope is with doing that so. Like I said, it’s been a good reception from Canada to Australia and we plan on going to South Africa and just doing a lot of tours for this record, even Europe so it’s just the beginning and an independent situation so it’s a little more hard work and a little more things that we got to knock down, a little more difficult to maneuver than it actually was then when I was with Interscope [Records]. But it’s all worth it though. We’ve made mistakes and we probably still going to continue to make some but we wanna get better each time.
HipHopDX: Last time we talked, you kind of said that Jimmy Iovine was behind a lot of the reasons why you left Interscope. I’ve also seen, in other interviews you’ve done recently, that Eminem kind of screwed you over and not even directly. But you know he missed the BET Awards for a few years, which left you off their playlist for a while. I don’t want to start any beef 'cause I know you and Em are cool, but do you maybe feel that he’s been a hinder as well as help at some points during your career?
Obie Trice: Well yeah, in those cases. I mean you know he’s an artist as well but he has his own individual issues and does his own thing. So back then, when Em didn’t move, we did suffer some consequences from that. That’s just how it was. When I asked for a beat from Pharrell from the N*E*R*D, in order for him to give me a beat, Eminem had to get on one of his songs and one of his beats as well. It was like a “We give you this and then you can get this.” Then with a major situation with a major artist it’s always situations. So the BET situation was, he didn’t go to the awards for three years in a row and so I guess BET got fed up with that so they snatched everything that was Shady that was going on. So it happened that at the time it was my turn. [Laughs] So what he had to do was make it up by going out there with Busta [Rhymes] when he did that freestyle with that sweatshirt that was lighting up and he had to shake hands with those people and that’s just a part of the business. You be with a mega star like that and people want things from you and in return to just keep your business moving forward and you have to do these things so that’s all I was saying. A lot of things tendered to being that he was Eminem, he needed his time as well so it was all a growing process for all of us.
DX: Right, and you mention being on the independent grind. Even years later and with the situation you’re in now do you ever feel tired of always being associated with Em instead of maybe being looked at as just Obie Trice?
Obie Trice: Nah, I mean the association’s cool but I definitely want to be established as somebody who can make his own music and can make his own way without Eminem. I mean if you look at some of my biggest records like “Snitch” with Akon, you know that’s something I created. If you look at “Cry Now,” that’s a record that I created, you look at “Got Some Teeth,” I created these songs. These are the songs that I created even though my boss was Eminem at the time but these were the setup and I created that. A lot of the music that they heard from me was all me but they put the association on there and that’s cool and all until they start coming down to the creative process and I want them to understand that I created all those things and I just want them to know that and that’s basically it. The association is cool. I don’t really have a problem with that.
DX: Speaking of labels, how is Black Market Entertainment doing?
Obie Trice: It’s in the baby process, man. Like I said, we just put out the Bottoms Up record and I’m working out with a few guys from Detroit who I’m trying to do music with and looking to put their music out and we’re just trying to get through some of these doors. We had some issues with getting off our second single played, which was “Spend The Day” on the video channels. We’re back and fourth with that. We did all the proper protocol that we needed to do to actually let the video be seen and we still having issues. BET actually played it on 106 & Park but they gave us this text number that we wanted to vote it in and we had everybody voting that video and one day the text message thing was just off. People voting everyday and one day they go to vote and they can’t vote for the video no more and this is like a week in. This is one week into the process and we’re trying to get everyone to vote and we’re like, “Damn, how long do you get to vote?” It’s just a lot of things that being on the independent tip that we gotta figure out, ask a lot of questions and get a lot of people that are still cool in the industry that we can kick it with who probably know these inside things man and just keep working and that’s it.
DX: As someone who’s been doing Hip Hop music for a while, do you see self-reflection and realness being lost in today’s world of Hip Hop or being gained? Not to put you into Em’s basket again but he was always someone who did that. He had his goofy tracks but also those real serious ones. You have also had those tracks. What do you think about Hip Hop’s progression with that?
Obie Trice: Myself, I’m into the self-reflection, I’m into that. I was into that before I was signed to Eminem and he kind of brought that out of me even more. I agree with it but do I see it moving away from it? I believe that there’s a timing for everything and I think things just move in certain times in certain seasons for certain shit. I really think that a good self-reflection record could be great for a time like this where there’s not as much. It’s just got to be placed right and with the right timing.
DX: I wanted to ask this last time but your line, “Obie Trice, real name, no gimmicks,” it’s been repeated by people probably millions of times but does it have a meaning besides what it obviously states?
Obie Trice: Well it’s just basically about, I came in the game as who I actually am. It’s no façade, it’s nothing that’s putting makeup on and becoming this individual that wears this mask just for the screen, just for entertainment purposes. I really wanted to give a hardcore reality and a vivid look at where I come from and how I came up and even if it’s on the street side of my personality or if I’m being silly or if I’m being serious or if I’m at the club or if I’m talking about the women, whatever situation it may be, this is me this is 100% Obie Trice, real name no gimmicks and it’s nothing that I’m trying to portray to get a certain reaction so that’s basically it and plus that’s my real name. [Laughs]
DX: Something I like to do years after the fact is kind of go back in time with a veteran artist and revisit something and I know something you were involved with was the whole Benzino situation. Could you maybe talk about what that time was like and that whole Source beef?
Obie Trice: Well the thing with the Benzino [beef] was that we were in Puerto Rico and I saw him out there and I was coming out with Cheers and we were at the Mix Show Power Summit and I seen him out there and I said, “Look out for me on The Source mag, man. Hook me up with a good review.” It was just man to man, good conversation and he was like, “Man, I got you Obie, I got you man, don’t worry about it, I got you.” So that was a Saturday and I flew home that Sunday and that Monday, [DJ Green Lantern] called me from New York and was just telling me like, “Dog, Benzino is on Hot 97 right now dissing the fuck outta you.” So it kind of like blew me away because I’m fresh in the game and I believe in your word is everything and at the time I had no clue of how fickle this industry was. Now I understand that this is a game that you really keep your circle as small as you can. It’s a lot of fake shit going on and there’s a lot of fake shit that go on in this industry and I had no idea that it was to that extreme back then. I was straight out the hood. I thought that we had a good conversation and that was a Saturday. I fly home from Puerto Rico Sunday, Monday morning Green Lantern calling me telling me he’s doing that. So that was kind of my involvement with the Benzino thing, the whole Source thing. I really had nothing to do with anything else besides that and he was dissing Em. That didn’t help either, but that was basically it.