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Obie Trice Interview (featuring MoSS)

January 6, 2010

While artists can build entire discographies about their lives before entertainment, many of them spend years running away from their past in one way or another. They’re either busy trying to live up to the accolades from their debut albums, or they’re stashing away records from their formative years. But Obie Trice realizes that to know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been. So after with two solid major label albums under his belt and his junior album Bottom’s Up on the horizon, Obie teamed up with his previous go-to producer MoSS (now signed with DJ Premier’s Works Of Mart) to release Special Reserve, a collection of songs the duo recorded between 1997 and 2000 before Obie got his deal with Shady Records. In a trip down memory lane with MichiganHipHop.com that’s equal parts funny and moving, Obie Trice talks about his working relationship with MoSS, growing pains with women and lost friends, and drinking do’s and don’t’s.

MIHH: Obie and MoSS, how did you guys initially link up?
MoSS: Basically, I met Obie through his cousin Will back in the 90’s. I was going to school in Ohio. And Obie would come to Ohio to get away from Detroit, and come stay with us. And when he came to Ohio I would have an MPC up there, so we used to start cutting records. And we started recording songs, and then pretty much between 97 and around 2000, between those years, we just knocked up a whole bunch of music together. And that’s what Special Reserve is, a whole bunch of music before Obie signed to Shady Records.

MIHH: What’s a song that you think defines the album?
Obie: I would say “Dope, Jobs, Homeless”. I was definitely in the streets when I was 16 years old…I was never a successful drug dealer, but I lived that “in the trap house” type of life when I was a young kid. So being able to get away from that, and having a cousin in Ohio who was taking his education to another level with a scholarship…that was just a great experience for me. I had jobs where ends just weren’t meeting. I had a child coming around this time. We would put out this music and sell it out the trunk. It was just one of those things where it was your job. And being homeless, and just hopping from place to place when your mother’s fed up. My mother, if you go back to some of the Shady albums, if you go back to Cheers, I put out the record “Don’t Come Down”. My mother used to actually drop me off at the precinct and tell them to take brothers who finished school and went to the service. Here I am, the black sheep of my family who was coming in the house with two nickel-plated 25’s. And mom was finding them shits, coming in the house and dropping rocks on the floor in the living room. They would be in my Carhartt jacket, and slip out the pocket, and my mother was just losing her mind at her oldest son. “What is this shit?”

It’s definitely an underground record, just some of thoughts that were going on back then. My style is totally different, but for the fans it’s just something where they could say, “I got Obie before he signed to Shady.” It’s one of those things you think is real underground with the bubble coat and Timbs on in the small club with a skully on, which was just pure hip hop back then. And the sick thing about it is that MoSS actually kept that music. This is what me and him experienced and when me and him get 40 and 50, this is something we can have fun discussions about. This is like real hip hop in the gutter, grinding type of music. And the times have changed, it’s a blessing that he was able to reinvent those beats and bring it up to date. With his producer charisma, he made it happen, so that’s a good look.

MIHH: You guys did these songs between 97 and 2000. Now it’s almost a decade later, well it’s actually more than a decade later for some of those joints. Obie, you were signed to Shady and sold a lot of records. MoSS, you’re signed to Premo now. So what is it like looking back on these songs for y’all? What is it like seeing all that stuff be relevant now?
MoSS: I mean for me it’s mixed. We both have done a lot of things, especially for our careers, it’s been a while. For me, one of the things I have been happy with so far for Special Reserve is that a lot of people are surprised that the songs are that old and it sounds like it does. In my opinion, it shows how dope Obie has been and how dope Obie will be. He was doing stuff like this 10 to 13 years ago, and he’s obviously grown a lot since then, but it shows you the type of music he was pumping out before people even knew who he was. And for me that’s what’s crazy about it. We’re putting songs out now to show people where we came from, and people are accepting it and playing it alongside music that was created last week. To me that shows that we had chemistry at the time, and through all these years, the chemistry held true. The music is still relevant.

MIHH: Now Obie, one thing I’ve noticed about your music is that even though you have one or two radio singles, you still have a lot of the same demeanor that made you popular. How do you maintain that you the success you had with Cheers?
Obie: Well, I’ve lost a lot of friends, a lot of close ones, since Cheers and didn’t wise up. I’m a dumb dude, but I stand for something. I’ve lost, and I’ve been through so much shit, and it’s about staying true to yourself and staying true to your music and staying true to what you believe in, and that’s what I do. You grow up though. I was a different individual back then. I was wild, I had a Redman influence, I was into hip hop like crazy, and I was Wu-Tang’d out. I was really like a hip hop junkie.

Today, this is what I do for a living. This is how I pay my bills, this is how I eat. At the same time, I never compromise my integrity, I do me. So that’s just the basis of it, man. And like I said, I’ve lost close ones who were dear to me. And you just have to chalk those things up, or I feel like I’m feeding you to the fishes, or I feel like it didn’t die down enough to get those people back in my life. You can’t stop doing what you do.

I’ll give you an example: my father. My father left me when I was six years old, and this is a lot of conversation that I’ll be having on my next record. My father left me at six years old. When I talk about this stuff in my music, he gets upset. But this is the truth. And in my personal life I have lost people that I took care of and did things for, who don’t even come holler at me. And I had mad love for these people. So how do I keep myself going? I concentrate on Trice. And it’s not a selfish thing, but this is what I do, and this is my life.

MIHH: Now another thing that I’ve noticed about your music, you have several interesting songs women doing dirt: “The Set Up” talks about a woman masterminding a robbery, while “Drips” from The Eminem Show talks about a chick giving STDs. And one of my favorites, “Hoodrats,” is self-explanatory. What’s the most scandalous thing a chick has ever done to you that you would be willing to say in an interview?
MoSS: [Laughs] That’s the question of the year.
Obie: [Laughs] Probably burning me. Yeah, coming up as a young nigga that’s what I would say, or on top of that taking the bread from me. But I would say giving me a STD, that’s the most scandalous shit a bitch has ever done to me. And these are growing pains. I’m from the block and most niggas won’t say this shit, but that’s real talk. On my new record, or even on Special Reserve when I talk about jacking my dick off, that’s where that inspiration comes from. From fucking around with a chick who’s young herself, and we’re having unprotected sex. We just fucking, she don’t know. Luckily, I never got hit with that germ germ. Just young shit. “Jack My Dick” is a record on Special Reserve and it’s funny cause I talk about it, and it’s actually me. And I still masturbate, I won’t even lie. There are real issues I had to deal with growing up in an urban community, and I had the voice to put that out there back then but some people didn’t. And some people were not as fortunate as me. Some people stuck their dick out the first time and got the “germ,” got that HIV. So it’s just one of those things that I thought was important to talk about.

The new record, Bottom’s Up, is showing women in a better light [laughs]. It’s growing pains man. You talk about hood rats, you talk about “Drips”, which is Eminem’s record, or you talk about any other record. I also had “Hands On You” which was about respecting a woman and understanding a woman. I’m not just about all dude issues, but I think that we need to talk about those things because this is real life shit that goes on.

MIHH: One thing I’ve noticed about your projects between Cheers, Second Round’s on Me and Special Reserve, is that aside from one or two different joints, they have a sound. Cheers sort of felt like an Eminem album in terms of sound, and Special Reserve has MoSS doing the beats. But Second Round’s on Me is a lot more diverse. So what do you normally like more: one producer to have a real cohesive sound, or several to show your versatility?
Obie: Well, Cheers was my freshman album. It was my first album. And dealing with people who had been in the game, I really just went with the flow. And Second Round’s on Me is a record I did myself. A lot of people really don’t understand that. To me that’s my best record. I know a lot of people say that Cheers is a classic. They say Cheers changed their lives. Some people say Second Round’s on Me changed their lives because of what they were going through at the time. But Second Round’s of Me was more of Obie doing him, that’s why I named it Second Round’s on Me, in parallel with keeping the bar theme going. Special Reserve, that’s all MoSS.

Being with one producer, being with multiple producers, it just depends on you ear. If you’re a fan of MoSS, you would get Special Reserve. If you’re a fan of Obie Trice, you get Special Reserve. I think MoSS is a talented dude, and we’re going to definitely work in the future and get some new shit out here. It’s been a long time coming. I think it would be fun. I think it would be a great time. We can get a hit record. And he has those connects with Premier. I’ve never worked with Premier. So I think working with a single producer, nothing is wrong with that. An album with one producer, I ain’t mad at that. An album with a variety of producers, I ain’t mad at that either. Just try to keep putting music out there, while at the same time taking it to that next level.

MIHH: Each of your albums has an alcohol-related theme: Cheers, Second Round’s on Me, Special Reserve, [and] Bottom’s Up. Another story, tell me about the worst time you’ve gotten fucked up, that you can remember.
Obie: Shit, the worst time I got fucked up? Aw man, shit. [pauses] The worst time I got fucked up…damn. I’ve been so fucked up where I’ve had a hangover for three days just from one night. So the second day was miserable as you can imagine. Bubble guts, farts, can’t shit, feeling horrible, fuckin blood boiling like ants running up your body in your skin. Real fucked up. Probably close to alcohol poisoning. I really have done this drinking thing. I’ve been very intoxicated.

…Everybody has a vice, that’s what I look at. You get these stars out here who are “big,” and these muhfuckas have issues. I ain’t saying drinking is an issue of mine, because I regulate it, but I have been to the point where I literally just drink. And it’s surprising to me that I’m still living. I just lost a homie to cirrhosis of the liver, and that’s real talk. I’m just blessed man, I know how to drink and I know how to eat. Some muhfuckas don’t eat.  You gotta eat to support that alcohol. Sometimes you got to shut that shit down for a while. But alcohol is definitely one of my vices, and if the stars align and I become a successful artist, if Dr. Dre don’t come out with Detox then I’ma do it first. That’s gonna be my retiring album.

MIHH: What’s your favorite go-to drink?
Obie: I’m gonna say Hennessy. I ain’t gon’ say no gay ass shit like Moscato.

MIHH: [Laughs]
Obie: Hey man, these muhfuckas love Moscato. They so fucking dumb. I ain’t even gon’ say they dumb. They just don’t understand that Moscato is like a dessert drink; you’re not supposed to drink it in abundance. If they knew their fuckin’ wine, then they would know Moscato is something you have after a full course meal, and if you don’t want dessert, you take a small glass of Moscato. It’s sweet and it’s not for drinking like that. And muhfuckas don’t know their alcohol or their beverages, and it’s crazy how people just go with a flow, man. It’s just crazy how people don’t investigate what they fuck around with. Moscato, get the fuck out of here.

MIHH: [Laughs] You know what? That’s something that you should make a record about, letting people know what to drink and what not to drink.
Obie: Yo, that’ll be me and MoSS’ exclusive record on Bottom’s Up. It will be a bonus track. [laughs]

44 Comments »

  1. Damainion Ewell says:

    Good interview my dude! Obie KILLED ME with this one…he seems to be one of the rare artists that are willing to be up front and honest about things anymore. Good lookin man!

    January 6th, 2010 at 4:22 pm

  2. d. alllie says:

    good read. Obie is definitely a good interview and doesn’t seem to put on much of a muzzle with these answers. crazy how these two worked together way back when.

    January 6th, 2010 at 4:31 pm

  3. Biba the Diva says:

    Good interview. Special Reserve is a cool album because it takes listeners back to a time prior to Shady and it makes it easy to imagine the next album which will be after Shady. Shouts out to Obie.

    January 6th, 2010 at 4:45 pm

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