It's been six years since Obie Trice dropped an album.
So the obvious question to ask is where has Obie been?
As it turns out, it’s where he's always been, in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan.
Obie was out of the spotlight but that doesn’t mean his life had a lack of events. In 2006, Obie had to deal with the death of his friend and fellow rapper Proof, who was killed in an altercation in Detroit.
Then in 2008, the rapper left the only label he really knew, Shady Records. The worst of it came last summer when Obie’s mother passed due to breast cancer.
All those stories are packed into his third album, Bottoms Up, which dropped last month. While pushing the album, Obie Trice came through the GlobalGrind offices. We chatted about his new album, his relationship with Dr. Dre and Eminem, the Detroit rap scene and the vocal similarities between him and Red Cafe.
GlobalGrind: Talk about the album.
Obie Trice: I’ve been through a lot. A lot has been going on with me prior to the Shady thing. Even before Second Rounds On Me came out, a lot things were going on. Sometimes things get to be overwhelming. With this record I just wanted to break down a lot of things that kind of went on with my career, a lot of personal things going on and a lot of things I’ve seen people that’s close to me go through.
When you mentioned some personal things, are you talking about the incident where you got shot in the head?
That, and three months after that, Proof was killed. Just a lot of things, man. The thing with Interscope, how we couldn’t continue business with them.
What was the main problem there?
It was just issues with me. I missed the Big Boy show out there in LA. And Jimmy [Iovine] had a real problem with that, but it wasn’t just that, though. I was younger, so things were happening that were different. I had the Akon single out. MTV wouldn’t play the record because they had the Snitch campaign going on, and things of that sort. And BET wouldn’t play the record because Eminem missed the BET Awards three years in a row. Just a lot of backlash we caught that didn’t have anything to do with us, and we thought things should change about that, that they should have worked the record even harder. There were just a lot of things going on, But shout out to Jimmy Iovine: he gave me an opportunity.
No. I have seen him erase and throw rhymes away.
Yeah, after me! That has happened before. We create together. We just go in there, and have fun. It was real introspective. The time we were in there we talked about serious personal things going on each other's lives. We talked about the fun times, the old days, we talked about Proof. We just get it in like brothers. We just work and kick it.
Seems like you have a relationship that’s real deep.
Oh yeah. His daughter plays with my daughter. We’re friends also. And I also have access to Dr. Dre. He always looks out for me.
Dre did a beat on the album, he had to have given you the love price, right?
Oh yeah! It was love. He understands the situation. He understands the transition. He understands that this is an independent situation, so it’s definitely a love thing.
Where do you rank yourself amongst Detroit rappers?
I’m definitely someone who is a pioneer of Detroit music on the hip-hop tip. I’ll put it like that. We have a lot of talent out there. We have Big Sean, Black Milk, Elzhi, Slum Village, Royce Da 5’9 and D-12. There’s definitely a stamp on the Obie Trice name as someone who represented Detroit to the fullest.
Other than you and Eminem, who’s your favorite Detroit rapper?
I guess my favorite Detroit rapper would have to be Patience from the NoSpeakerz camp. He’s an up-and-coming emcee out there. He’s pretty dope. I listen to his music.
Do you feel like you’ve personally bodied Eminem on a track?
I body him all the time! I feel like every song we did I bodied him. That’s how I feel! That’s how I go into records.
Those verses you rapped on “Cry Now” were special.
“Cry Now” was when I got shot. They almost killed me, man. I just had to say that. You work hard to represent your city, and you almost get murdered at home. You do this for your city. I didn’t owe anybody no work or no money. I wasn’t in any situation. But the evils — people hate you just because.
It’s interesting that after that happened you stayed in Detroit.
Yeah, and I still move in Detroit. Things happen. There’s a lot of people that’s hateful. Dr. Dre told me to leave immediately, get out of Detroit. You still could create if you lived in New York. You could create if you were in LA. Bun B he told me 'dude, I’m never at home in Texas, they hate on me there. Everywhere else they show love.' Akon is another one who has told me things like that. Always appear to be a superstar in your hometown. But I don’t look at it that way. I feel like if I’m in my Polo or some jogging pants, a white tee, and my house shoes, and I want to run out to the gas station, and get some gas at 12 AM in the morning, I should be able to do that.
All of your albums have some kind of alcohol reference in the title, are you a big drinker?
Yeah, I drink. My drink is vodka. Right now I like Ketel One. I just had a Ketel One with a splash of cranberry.
In the past, you’ve talked about your mom on record a lot. Losing your mother had to be tough.
Yeah, breast cancer. I’m an advocate of the Susan G Komen movement. To make light of the situation, I tell females 'Cut them titties off, all we want is ass! We don’t want titties, we want ass!' I do the walk out in Detroit every year. When she was sick, I did it. That was my best friend, and I was the baby, so it was definitely hard.
One more thing, does it bother you how much Red Café sounds like you on a record?
Everybody says that, and I see what everybody’s saying, but it doesn’t bother me. I can hear the similarities. I was here first. Good luck to him, you know.