Obie Trice is due for some good karma. Not only did he start 2006 off by getting shot in the head, but just months later, he had to speak at the funeral of friend and label mate Proof. Then, after wrapping up the recording of his new album, Second Round’s On Me, it seemed like his Akon-assisted lead single “Snitch” had the makings of a smash hit. Unfortunately, MTV refused to play the video (the network refuses to support anything related to snitching), and the project hit a brick wall. Now, with the album’s release just weeks away, Obie is betting on two videos, one for his street smash “Cry Now” and the other for the Eminem-produced club banger “Jamaican Girl.” When XXLMAG.COM caught up with O. Trice, he seemed optimistic that the time for the big payback has finally arrived.
Obie Trice feat. Kuniva, Bobby Creekwater, Ca$his & Stat Quo “Cry Now (Remix)” (2006) [audio:http://www.xxlmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/08/crynowremix21.mp3]
Obie Trice “Jamaican Girl” (Produced by Eminem) (2006) [audio:http://www.xxlmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/08/jamaicangirl56k.mp3]
Obie Trice “Obie Story” (2006) [audio:http://www.xxlmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/08/obieStory56k.mp3]
Obie Trice “Cry Now” (click here to see the video)
Was it important for you to film the “Cry Now” video in Detroit?
Yeah. Muthafucka shot me at home. I was everywhere in the city shooting that video, just showing the muthafuckas who shot me that it was some bullshit.
Which songs did you record after being shot?
I did a lot of songs. I did “Wake Up,” “Violent,” and “Cry Now” after I was shot.
How do you think being shot in the head affected you when you got back in the studio?
I was angry. You feel like, Damn, you can’t be at home? I’m a muthafucka that take demos, listen to them, I don’t big-guy you at the club. I’ll holler at you. You got some of these artists who like, “Get the fuck out my face, I ain’t signing no autographs.” So, it was just like a hurtful thing to happen to me. I went through a feeling of invincibility at one point after the shit had happened. I was scared after the shit happened. I was paranoid after the shit happened. I ain’t see people. My mother told me, “You have to get back to the person you is.” You gotta think, I didn’t get shot in the side or just anywhere. I got a 9mm hollow tip in my head less than an inch from my brain. So it’s like, one of them things like, Damn. I just went through a lot of different emotions.
On the first album, a lot of people seemed to be put off by the choice of “Got Some Teeth” as the first single. Did you take that into account when planning the new one?
Humor is a part of me. I like a laugh, and that’s why I made [“Got Some Teeth”]. It didn’t have shit to do with Marshall. He brought that out of me, but it was already there. I mean, even the most thuggiest, gangsterish, hardcore I-shoot-ya-mama muthafucka gotta laugh. At the time, it was 50 mania, so I wanted to offset myself from that. That’s when I came up with “Got Some Teeth” and the hood didn’t accept it. They thought it was some corny, quirky Eminem shit, but I appreciated it. And actually it sold me over 255,000 copies my first week, so I wasn’t mad at it. That was the shit. I still perform that song.
Were you consciously trying to get that acceptance in the hood with this album?
Yeah. It really wasn’t my sole choice. Actually, I wanted to come back with my other quirky, funny hood song called “Shady Baby” this time, but everyone’s opinion was that I shouldn’t make that mistake twice. I didn’t think I would have made a mistake the second time, I think it was dope, but the song didn’t make the album.
I heard that you were having some trouble with the video for “Snitch,” getting it played. People seemed to like the song, but then you sort of hit a wall with it, right?
Right. [Laughs.] It hit a brick wall.
Why didn’t MTV want to play the video?
They’re campaigning against anything that has to do with snitch[ing]. They felt like the video was violent. I wrote the treatment and Jesse Terrero brought it to life. I felt like it was like a movie. I think the video—the true video, not the one that they playing on TV—but the real video that you can see on Yahoo! Music, it was like a movie. I think it was good at the time when I did it. It would [have been] a great thing for the moment when it was supposed to come out. MTV was just against it, they edited it up to where it wasn’t the same video. It took away from the video. They changed the name of it. That’s kind of why the album was pushed back too, because we didn’t get that visual.
That must have been frustrating. Did you understand where MTV was coming from?
MTV is MTV. I grew up on MTV. MTV has always done what they want to do. They was like, “We like Obie over here at MTV, but we can’t support this song ‘Snitch.’” I wanted to name the song “Rat.” I wanted to name the song “Sammy the Bull.” Then I started talking to lawyers, they start saying dude can probably sue, like OutKast and Rosa Parks. So it was a bunch of different ways we were trying to go with the song, but “Snitch” ended up being it, and they kind of dogged us out. By sometime in April, we was thinking like, Yo, this video is not out yet, let’s just fall back on “Snitch,” even though it’s getting played. It got spins in a lot of places. It was added at Hot 97. All over, people appreciate the song, but you just didn’t get that visual. So we got with Justin from the Saline Project and shot a little low-budget video, “Cry Now.” It’s doing good right now and then we just shot a new video, “Jamaican Girl.” We plan to have a couple videos at once.
What was your reaction when Em first came to you with the “Jamaican Girl” beat?
I said, “I gotta jump on that.” Not just because I like the beat, but because of the whole impact of it, being that it’s Em who made it. I look at it like, my man’s made this beat. Em made this dancehall track. It was just…I had to get on it. I was like, run that, that’s me.
In the past, people have criticized Em’s beats for sounding the same, all having that kind of dark, tinny sound. But on this album, it seems like he came with a bunch of new, different sounds. How did you go about picking the beats?
How it works is I go to the studio, [Em] will be in the studio and he be just makin’ beats, beats after beats. That’s what he do all day. Beats, beats, beats. I go to my studio and I skim through the beats. It may take me three days to go through the beats. He got thousands and thousands of beats. I take maybe 200 at a time and go through them. I try to get the distinctive beats, the ones you really can’t pinpoint as Em. I play the album for people, just sit back, watch them. They’ll say, “Who did that beat?” I can see the growth in dude far as making beats.
You’ve been on a Biggie album and a Tupac album. Who do you prefer rapping next to?
I’ve always been a Biggie fan. Biggie till I die. That dude was my inspiration. Not to say ’Pac wasn’t either, but I was an extremely big B.I.G. fan. Rapping with ’Pac, when I heard the verse, I was like, Whoa. Em called me like, I want you to get on this ’Pac song “Hennessey.” I was like, Shut the fuck up! So he’s like, Come to my house. I come out there, he played the track, and I was like, Oh, okay, this is me all day. Went into one of his rooms, and it took me about maybe an hour, and it was done. We stamped it, sent it out. His mother appreciated it, and that was what’s up. The Big joint on the Duets album, that was just showing my appreciation for dude and what I went through while he was living. Big made me feel like I could do it.