A combination of drive, passion, talent and a healthy work ethic is arguably the best prescription to ward off a sophomore jinx. Eminem protégé Obie Trice has no need to worry. Since the release of his platinum 2003 debut, CHEERS, which sold more than 250,000 copies during its opening week, he has been in prep mode. In between joining Eminem on the Anger Management Tour in the U.S. and abroad, Obie has been gearing up for his latest set, SECOND ROUND’S ON ME.
The SECOND ROUND’S ON ME (which will be released on 8-15-06) album title has multiple meanings. “First, it’s my sophomore album,” Obie says matter-of-factly, “and then I’m keeping the whole bar theme going from CHEERS to SECOND ROUND’S ON ME.”
SECOND ROUND’S ON ME afforded the Shady Records artist the opportunity to step up into the role of executive producer, overseeing the completion of the album and culling some of hip-hop’s most noted beat makers including, Eminem, Jonathan “J.R.” Rotem, Akon, and 9th Wonder, among others.
“I did this album myself as opposed to Em just being right next to me like he was on CHEERS,” the Detroit native says. “I did it at my studio, brought it to him and that’s how we got it done. It felt good.”
SECOND ROUND’S ON ME captures Obie’s lyrical maturation that not only includes some of the humor and bravado from CHEERS, but more serious topics as well. “If they are expecting CHEERS, they are not gonna get it,” Obie says. “I developed lyrically. I’m talking about a lot of things that are important in the black community. It shows my growth as an artist and as a person.”
Flexing his honed lyrical chops, Obie opted to rhyme all of the lyrics on the spot without writing them down. “I would say eight bars, and then I would listen to the beat and then punch in the next eight bars,” Obie says. “When I heard the music, I was ready to go. I did not want to sit down and write on paper. I would get an idea and want to say it at that moment.”
Last summer, Obie gave fans a dose of the new album when he leaked the rock-fueled “Wanna Know” which samples Van Halen. The song was featured on Entourage, the hit HBO comedy series produced by Mark Wahlberg. “Snitch,” the album’s official first single and collaboration with Akon, is a melodic lesson on the perils of betrayal. Neo-Soul singer Jaguar Wright joins him on “Love,” a compelling account of relationships gone awry. Nate Dogg provides the hook for “After Party,” and “Detroit Boys” includes appearances from Eminem, Big Hurk, and Trick. “Cry Now,” the last song recorded for the album, is also one of the most poignant.
Over humming bass, kick drums and sharp horns, “Cry Now” was written as Obie recovered from a near fatal gun wound in the head. On New Year’s Eve 2005, Obie was shot while driving on a Detroit freeway. Though he was treated and released from the hospital on the same day, the doctor was unable to remove the bullet from his skull.
In the emotional song, Obie professes that he does not want to be the next hip-hop artist slain: “Catch me in a Benz like ‘Pac/ Catch me in a Tahoe like Big/ No.”
When recording “Cry Now” Obie let the adrenaline take over. “I had a whole lot of anger in me,” he says. “I had a whole lot of confusion in me. I didn’t understand why these dudes would come at me like that, especially since I am an artist who shows love to my city. I was just in a zone.”
Obie’s art, family and faith helped him overcome the anger and depression he experienced. However, the same feelings resurfaced just four months later when Proof, his friend and fellow Shady Records artist, was murdered outside of a Detroit nightclub. “He was the mayor of Detroit, hands down,” Obie says about the leader of D12 for which Eminem is a member. “He helped Eminem come up. Everybody in Detroit got mad love and respect for Proof.”
It was actually Proof who helped Obie settle on his rap moniker. Prior to meeting up with D12 in late ‘90s, Obie was calling himself Obie-Wan, a take on the Star Wars character Obie-Wan Kenobi. Proof encouraged Obie to just use his real name instead.
While making his hip-hop rounds in Detroit, Obie met another D12 member Bizarre, who saw Obie’s potential and later introduced him to Eminem. Impressed with Obie’s talent, Eminem did not hesitate to bring Obie into the fold, and lined up feature spots on D12 and Eminem projects, including the soundtrack to Eminem’s theatrical debut 8 Mile. Among the first noted appearance was a shout-out on Eminem’s comical “Without Me” during a dis to electronica artist Moby, “Moby, you can get stomped by Obie.”
In September 2003, Obie released his Shady Records debut CHEERS that included the hilarious and infectious lead single “Got Some Teeth” that drew comparisons to some of Eminem’s humorous songs. CHEERS included production from Dr. Dre, Eminem and Timbaland and cameo appearances from the aforementioned in addition to 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, and Nate Dogg. Obie’s subsequent singles, “Don’t Come Down” and “The Set Up” showcased his depth.
Obie began rapping as a child. His early interest in the art form prompted his mother to buy him a karaoke machine when he was 11. By the time he was 13, he had written a song “I’m On 13.” He continued to develop his skills as a rapper finding influence from hip-hop greats such as Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, N.W.A., Ice Cube, Tupac and Notorious B.I.G.
With the release of SECOND ROUND’S ON ME, Obie is determined to connect with his fans. “I just want the listeners to first of all see the growth in me as an artist,” Obie says. “And I just want them to get an idea of the things that go on in Obie Trice’s head, and see who I am a person.”
Tracklisting and Credits for Obie Trice’s Second Rounds On Me:
2.) Wake Up (Produced By Eminem)
3.) Violent (Produced By Eminem)
4.) Wanna Know (Produced by Emile)
5.) Lay Down (Produced By Eminem)
6.) Snitch f/Akon (Produced By Akon)
7.) Cry Now (Produced By Witt & Pep)
8.) Ballad Of Obie Trice (Produced By Eminem)
9.) Jamaican Girl f/Brick & Lace (Produced By Eminem)
10.) Kill Me A Mutha (Produced By Eminem)
11.) Out Of State (Produced By Swinga)
12.) All Of My Life f/Nate Dogg (Produced By Trell)
13.) Ghetto f/Trey Songz (Produced By Jonathan “J.R.” Rotem)
14.) There They Go f/Eminem, Big Herc & Trick Trick (Produced By Eminem)
15.) Mama (Produced by Jonathan “J.R.” Rotem)
16.) Everywhere I Go f/50 Cent (Produced by Eminem)
17.) Obie Story (Produced by Jonathan “J.R.” Rotem)
*****Obie Trice’s Second Rounds On Me will also include 5 bonus tracks!!