Obie Trice’s six-year hiatus from the game hasn’t been in vain. With his new album Bottoms Up finally released and the launch of his record label Black Market Entertainment (BME), Obie Trice is back to let people know that his return is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Right before the release of Bottoms Up, KN.com got an exclusive interview with Obie to discuss his return to the general public, his life after Shady Records, and his plans one day recording a collaboration album with Eminem.
Uptown Bobby: With Bottoms up coming out and this being your first album in six years, what was your thought process during this album?
Obie Trice: Really, just to get another body of work out there (Laughs). There’s just been such a long hiatus from me that I felt like I needed some more music out. I’m just excited to have this on my own imprint (BME) and me executive producing my own record, it’s refreshing. Those two things are what had me real enthusiastic about making this album.
Uptown Bobby: You just mentioned your label, Black Market Entertainment so I want to know are there currently any artists other than yourself signed to the label?
Obie Trice: Well, it’s a fairly new label. I just launched it in 2010. The focus of it right now was to get Bottoms Up as a record Other than that, I’m the only artist at the moment. But we definitely are going to get things rolling and artists together. We’re moving forward with this thing.
Uptown Bobby: With your BME imprint based in Detroit and Detroit being such a hot bed for young, Hip Hop talent, are you pitching your label to local artists?
Obie Trice: Yeah, that’s the goal, man. In Detroit, I know you know about our employment situation and our current economy [so] I definitely want to bring something here for my city that gives folks jobs. And not just rapping, but executive shit too. I want a lot of these cats to get recognition here in Detroit and go outside of Detroit.
Uptown Bobby: Speaking of the city of Detroit, I read that you got the chance to meet Michigan State Senator Virgil Smith. How did that meeting go and what did you take away from it?
Obie Trice: Well, the stuff we talked about in the meeting didn’t jump off just yet, but I took away from the meeting that the Senator definitely wants to improve the city. We had this idea where we wanted to come up with this music district for Detroit where we could have an outlet for artists in the city. You know a studio, soundstage…everything in one area that’s interactive with the public. That’s something we got in mind. The Senator has some big plans for the city and I’m willing to help him bring some those ideas to life.
Uptown Bobby: That sounds major, man! So when you do things like that for the city, would you consider yourself to be an activist as well as an artist?
Obie Trice: Nah, man. You know I just love the culture of Hip Hop and my community, man. I’m definitely down involved in my city, but to call me an activist, though? I don’t know if I can go that far with it. At the end of the day, I’m an emcee…I’m still me. I’m just trying to bring more work to my community, too.
Uptown Bobby: No doubt. Let’s get back to the music for a minute. After hearing this album, I have some clear-cut favorites but what are some of your favorite tracks from the record?
Obie Trice: My favorite track would have to be ‘’Spill My Drink’’ because it goes into detail about some of the things that happened during my time away from rap in my personal life. Right now that’s my favorite track by far.
Uptown Bobby: If we’re comparing Bottoms Up to past albums, what would you say sets this one apart? What makes Bottoms Up better?
Obie Trice: Well, I wouldn’t put it on a level of being better. The album is classic Obie Trice. Its just what I felt at the moment, you know what I’m saying? I appreciate each album I got. They all got a place to me. Bottoms Up is just another addition to my catalog. Man, I’m just grateful that I’m alive and that I can record music and do what I love to do.
Uptown Bobby: That’s real man. With this album, do you think too many people are paying too much attention to your past relationships with Eminem, Dre, and Shady Records instead of the content of the album?
Obie Trice: Oh, yeah. That’s people for you, though. A lot of people get caught up with those silly things. When I was with Shady, I was still the same individual that I am now. I created my own music. A lot of people don’t understand that. They think Eminem wrote all of our raps are something. I don’t really get that part of how so many people’s minds can be so fickle and ignorant like that. Eminem found me because of the name I made for myself…because of who I was. There’s been plenty of times Eminem and I would be in the studio, and I would write a verse that Em’ would see and he would go, ‘’ Aw, fuck that. Let me go back and change my shit’’ and he would go back and change his lines because of the competitive nature we have. People don’t understand the mechanics of this industry. All they look at is TV and the Internet. But, it’s all good, I’m not gonna cry over spilled milk. That’s just how the world works.
I just want my fans to know that all of my music will be great music because I’m the creator of my music. Meaning, I created Cheers, Second Rounds On Me, and Bottoms Up so if the people let go of preconceived notions and listen to the record, they’ll be pleased. And I know that there are some people that won’t listen to my album because of the fact that I’m not on Shady Records…that’s just their loss. Ima’ keep it moving and make great music.
Uptown Bobby: Cheers is one of my favorite albums of the last decade. Do you think that album doesn’t get the proper respect it deserves?
Obie Trice: Word, word. You see, a lot of people don’t know that Cheers is almost 2 million sold. Do I think it could’ve done way better than that? Most definitely, but at that time, 50 Cent was a monster. His album came out before mine and then I followed with Cheers. Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ dropped and did huge numbers, so when I came out in September, 50’s album being so successful kind of shadowed my album from being as successful as it could, you know what I’m saying? But, I’m grateful for what it did. It was a great freshman album. I definitely hold Cheers as a classic album. You know it’s all good, though. Second Rounds On Me was a great album. Now that album to me was slept on, but that’s a whole different story. On that album I had to deal with Jimmy Iovine and Interscope not putting their foot in Second Rounds On Me like they should have.
Uptown Bobby: True, true. You mention your past label frustrations on ‘’LeBron On.’’ It’s a great description of your time over at Shady.
Obie Trice: Right. That was the whole idea behind the song. LeBron gave Cleveland seven years and when he left to do his own thing, the same people that cheered for him are burning his jersey. That’s basically the same it was for me at Shady. I put in seven years at Shady and even got a championship at Shady, meaning that I got a platinum record and they (the fans) still burned my jersey because I left Shady. You know I’m trying to get those fans back that supported me on Shady to now support me on BME.
Uptown Bobby: ‘’Richard’’ is the song most people are going to play constantly from Bottoms Up because it’s you and Eminem doing what you two do best. You guys have always had great chemistry. How was it to record with Em again?
Obie Trice: Me and Em never miss a beat, man. Matter of fact, I got off the phone with Em last night about some things. That’s my homie for life. We get in the studio and we get it done…that’s what we do. I don’t care what kind of situation he has going on, when we get in there we put out good music. It’s always a pleasure to record with Em. We’ve been working together so long that it’s second nature.
Uptown Bobby: With you guys having such a close-knit relationship, could we ever see an Obie Trice/Eminem album kind of like Watch The Throne?
Obie Trice: I definitely feel like we can make that happen. We just need to get the fans behind this album and I’ll definitely put that together. It’s all about demand. If the record does great, hell, if it does good, that Em/Obie record could definitely happen.
Uptown Bobby: If we can get Bottoms Up to go gold can you promise that album?! (Laughs)
Obie Trice: Oh, yeah! That record goes gold, y’all definitely getting that album.
Uptown Bobby: Aight, Obie…we the people are holding you to this! Y’all read it here first!
Obie Trice: Oh yea, man, that’s nothing. Let Bottoms Up go gold. It’s a wrap!
Uptown Bobby: Dope, man. With Detroit having so many new faces in the Hip Hop crowd, do you think anyone’s forgotten about Obie Trice?
Obie Trice: Nah, I don’t think I’m forgotten about. I just think that if you stay out the music for a while, you do get lost. That’s just like with anything else in life. You know music is a constant, changing business. New artists come in and go out every day. What I’m blessed for is that I had a great career with Interscope and Shady. Interscope spent a lot of money on my name and my brand. I got to do a lot of things these last few years in the game. I’ve been blessed with a long career and loyal fans that still support me. I’m sure once Bottoms Up drops, and we go do tours and promos I’m going to go right back up there.
Uptown Bobby: Throughout this interview, you’ve mentioned about how grateful you are to be alive and I know you were involved in an almost fatal shooting. Obviously, you’ve survived that incident, but how much has it changed your life?
Obie Trice: Well, you know it still affects me to this day because when I go through security at airports, the shit goes off because the bullet is still in my head. A lot of people don’t understand how that almost killed me. They shot my Range Rover six times with hollow-tips know what I mean? That wasn’t an accident. After the state police and detectives investigated my truck, I found a hollow tip under the gas peddles. What kind of shit is that? They suppose to be investigating who got me. So, you know it’s just some crazy shit. The fifth bullet from the shooting hit me in the head and the doctors couldn’t perform surgery on me because it could’ve killed me. So, the bullet is still in my head. Sometimes, the top of my feet get cold for no reason. I mean, shit is really different now. It’s definitely changed a lot of things for me. If you go back and listen to the song I did called ‘’Anymore,’’ I talked about how I had to get my motor skills back to do simple stuff. It’s just a blessing to be on this earth, man. There’s so much violence going on out there, man. But, that’s just what it is. These streets be like that…it’s either you or me. That’s how I operate, that’s how my crew operates, and that’s how my people operate. It’s sad, but that’s just how it is.
Uptown Bobby: Do you feel like the police did a bad job of investigating your case and finding the shooter?
Obie Trice: Yeah, man, it could’ve been better, but at the end of the day, I got to fuck a detective out of the whole deal (Laughs). I knew it wasn’t going to be anything, man. I’ve lost so many people to these streets and don’t shit happen as far as the police catching people. It is what it is. I didn’t expect anything to come from an investigation anyway.
Uptown Bobby: You have a song called ‘’Pistol, Pistol’’ where you spit lines like, ’’I solemnly swear on my daughters tears/The nigga that got him in the head will feel it before the year ends / Hope you inconspicuous my friend / `Cause once the word get back ya in a world of sin / Bullets will hurtle at him for tryin to murder what been determined as the first solo African.’’ Have you forgiven the people that did that to you?
Obie Trice: You know, that’s still hard for me but at the same time, out of sight, out of mind. Hell, it’s in my mind because the bullet is actually still in my mind literally. I never really looked at it like that, man. I never thought of it like that, but I guess I it is a thing of forgiveness because I don’t even think about the shit anymore. It’s just basically been so long that I don’t even think about it anymore. It’s just on to the next one, man. Shit happens to everybody. I was just blessed to survive it and still be above the ground. I’m good, man.
Uptown Bobby: So what’s on deck for Obie Trice for the rest of 2012?
Obie Trice: Just new music, man. I’m doing an EP with this rock group named Julie that’s due out this summer. I’m also trying to push BME. I’m also going to continue to push Bottoms Up and get more videos out. My mixtape Watch The Chrome and getting BME set up as a major label.
Uptown Bobby: How did you hook up with Julie and get this project going?
Obie Trice: I’ve known Nate for a long time…I do business with him. Nate’s father owns a studio I used to record in. Nate went to L.A. and started a band. His band even had a song on Grey’s Anatomy. I know him and we got some music we’ve already done and some new stuff. We were just thinking about getting an EP out and see what it does.
Uptown Bobby: Sounds interesting, man. Thanks for your time.
Obie Trice: No problem, man. I’m glad y’all reached out to me.