“Let Me In” New Obie Trice

“Let Me In” New Obie Trice

It was no surprise, then, that Obie’s first solo project, Cheers (2003), went platinum. As with the rest of the Shady home team, notoriety came quickly for him. But while Obie’s sales have given him well-deserved bragging rights, he still hasn’t managed to grab the spotlight. Maybe it’s because his firsst sing, “Got Some Teeth,” depricted him as a fun-loving, liquor-guzzling joker at the time when rap U.S.A. was just starting to drink up the thug mentality.


It was no surprise, then, that Obie’s first solo project, Cheers (2003), went platinum. As with the rest of the Shady home team, notoriety came quickly for him. But while Obie’s sales have given him well-deserved bragging rights, he still hasn’t managed to grab the spotlight. Maybe it’s because his firsst sing, “Got Some Teeth,” depricted him as a fun-loving, liquor-guzzling joker at the time when rap U.S.A. was just starting to drink up the thug mentality.

Two years have passed since Obie released Cheers, and this time around he’s got much better perspective on both his character and the artist he wants to present to the world. Now there really will be no gimmicks– just quality beats and rhymes from an artist who is ready for his superstar spot more than ever.

Although he’s teetering on the edge of rap stardom, the road to Shady Records notoriety was anything but smooth for Obie Trice III, born in Detroit 27 years ago. Raised on the West Side by his mother, Elnora Trice, a worker at the Chrysler plant, he was the self-described quiet kid among three older brothers. “I was kinda like an introvert,” he says. “As a real young dude, I used to write my short stories and just listen to music and chill.” But once Obie hit middle school, he got bored penning fiction and started writing rap lyrics instead. At age 14, he began to frequent Maurice Malone’s legendary Hip-Hop Shop in Detroit. There the young MC would recite his early rhymes to a crowd of Motor City rap die-hards.

In 10th grade, Obie dropped out of high school and began hustling drugs to make a living. “Seeing dudes getting money, I wanted that,” he explains. “In my mid-teens, I would be high as hell off weed. [My mom] would find rocks all in the crib, guns in the crib. It just because a problem, and she had to let me get up out of the house.”

At 16, Obie was out on the streets, spending his days chasing money to feed and clothe himself, and his nights searching for a place to lie his head. When he couldn’t come up with enough cash to crash in a motel, he literally had to bum it. “I used to sleep on the corner of my man’s street,” Obie remembers. “I had the real thick blue U-Haul blankets– right on the corner.”

Over the next three years, Obie took various minimum-wage jobs, none of which amounted to anything substanial. With no consistent income, nowhere to live and nothing legitimate to show for himself, Obie’s life was looking pretty dim. Then in 1988, his daughter Kobie was born. “That’s when I started taking my hustle money and putting it into my music and getting shit pressed up.” the aspiring MC says.

In 1999, Obie released his first track, “Well Known Asshole,” and promoted it locally. A year later, he released “Dope, Jobs, Homeless.” Like most fledgling artists, Obie did everything in his limited power to promote his early records. “I rocked the local nightclubs and the hip-hop shows,” he says of his early efforts. “I sold records out of the trunk. We traveled to New York and got doors slammed in our face. That’s what I had to go through,” he says. “I didn’t come straight from high school into the pros. I had to go to college and put it down for a minute.”

It wasn’t long before Obie’s raw talent popped up on the radar of his city’s offical rap ambassador, Eminem. After being repeatedly plugged by D12 member Bizarre, who had caught wind of the Obie’s tremendous local buzz, Obie finally met Em in the parking lot of a Detroit studio in 2000.

Em remembers being impressed. “Bizarre was like, ‘Why don’t you spit for him right quick,'” he says of his and Obie’s first meeting. “I think he spit a verse and then half of another verse and I was like, I heard enough. It was a wrap from there. It was pretty much filling out the paperwork.”

Obie signed his recording contract with Shady and Interscope Records in June 2001, believing that his big break was just around the corner. “When you coming in the business from the block, you’re thinking, Just gimme the mic and gimme the stage,” tells Obie. “But I was signed for almost two years before my album came out.”

Frustrated by not being able to jump straight into the booth, Obie learned all about the record industry’s hurry-up-and-wait game. “I really didn’t feel safe, ’cause I didn’t know Eminem and I didn’t know the business part of it.”

But all that waiting proved to be beneficial for Obie. In 2002, he shared the stage with Eminem on Anger Management Tour 2, where he rocked millions of people live in more than 35 cities around the globe. He made appearances on huge-selling projects, including The Eminem Show (“Drips”), D12’s Devil’s Night (“Obie Trice Skit”) and the 8 Mile soundtrack (“Love Me”), on which he delivers a pensive verse. However, his biggest plug came in 2002, when he kicked off the first single from The Eminem Show, “Without Me.” “Obie Trice, real name no gimmicks” is all he said before a needle scratched across the record and signaled the start of Eminem’s silly smash hit. And just like that, all 9 million people who bought Eminem’s third major-label album were left wondering who this Obie Trice guy was.

When Obie dropped his debut LP, Cheers, a year later, he was ready to tell the world exactly what he was all about. But instead of showing off his ability for self-explorative rhymes, his first single played more like a joke.” Everything that was out at that time was real gangsta,” recalls Obie. “So I wanted to release something that was different.”

“‘Got Some Teeth’ was almost a last-ditch effort,” recalls Eminem. “Like, how do we get a crossover single that’s gonna hit urban radio, pop radio and rock radio and reach the masses without compromising his artistic integrity? But I think it just got at people the wrong way and gave them the wrong perception of Obie.”

Compounding the problem was the album’s release date. “When Cheers came out, it was 50’s year,” says Obie of his labelmate’s monstrous release Get Rich or Die Tryin’. “That’s what people were looking for in 2003.”

50 Cent’s rough-and-tumble debut dropped six months before Cheers and changed the face of popular music. At the same time, 50’s persona alone managed to shift the entire dynamic at Shady Records. The camp that was home to the prankster MCs Eminem and D12 was suddenly the world’s most dangerous label headed by a bullet-riddled East Coast MC. “50’s buzz was so massive at the time,” says Eminem. “For Obie or anybody to follow up with an album was next to impossible.”

Cheers still managed to sell platinum. And rather than resent his labelmate, Obie sees 50 and his crew’s subsequent accomplishments as a just another win for the team. “I’m not mad at nobody,” explains O. Trice today. “It’s just this time around, I have to show my true skills and what I’m about.”

For his follow-up LP, Second Round’s on Me, Obie is taking a much more personal approach to recording. “The first album was more like Marshall coaching me,” admits Obie. “There ain’t no by-myself time [with Em] no more. I ain’t trying to wait on Eminem to get in the studio. I got to establish myself out here as one of the greatest, and that will happen in the end.”

Obie’s growth is evident. “Not to take anything away from Cheers, ’cause I love that album,” he says, “but on that album, I showed the more humorous side of Obie Trice. I wanted to show them the more serious side on this album.”

As Second Round’s executive producer, Eminem couldn’t be more pleased with Obie’s work. “I was surprised with him trying new things not only lyrically and song-wise, but to bring you this character and where he’s really from,” he says. “You want to stay true to yourself and your roots. I think this time around, people will get a better idea of who Obie is and what he’s about.”

Get ready to meet the real Obie Trice.

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