Obie Trice Talks Eminem Collabo
Getting shot in the head has a way of giving you new perspective. For Detroit rhymer Obie Trice, that harrowing night on Dec. 31, 2005, changed everything. The former Eminem protégé had experienced the spoils of rap stardom out the gate with his 2003 debut, ‘Cheers,’ a factor that Trice admits had a negative effect on his already mammoth ego. He showed up late to interviews, clashed with Interscope suits and openly beefed with local Motown rivals. “I was really doing too much,” Trice tells The BoomBox of his high times on Shady Records-Interscope. “I needed to be taught a lesson.” And that lesson was soberingly clear: respect the game.
Yet the run-up to his third album, ‘Bottoms Up,’ due Jan. 17, was darkened further by the untimely death of his mother, who succumbed to cancer this past summer. When you’ve dealt with such knock-down tragedy, you can forgive Trice for being overtly passionate when he talks about his newfound independence. Having split from the powerful Interscope machine, the tattooed rapper sat down with The BoomBox to discuss his new studio release, his beef with major labels, why Slim Shady is still the best and why he decided to start his own imprint.
The single ‘Battle Cry’ from ‘Bottoms Up’ really sounds like a cathartic statement for you. You seem to be giving a middle finger to the music industry and some of your doubters. Do you relish the role of being an underdog?
Yeah. That’s the statement I was making on ‘Battle Cry.’ There’s a lot of negativity that influenced my time with me and Eminem and Interscope. A lot of people just feel like I can’t be successful without Interscope. They were saying that I was nothing without Eminem. But I created myself. Eminem came and found me as an artist after hearing my music when I was selling music out the trunk. Eminem is my homie, and he still is to this day. We were a great team together when we made music, but I was also his protégé. That’s why I feel like ‘Battle Cry’ is a necessity because of everything that I have heard from my critics.
Both Eminem and Dr. Dre appear on ‘Bottoms Up.’ How easy was it to work with two individuals that have had such a profound impact on your career?
It was great, man. Having Dre and Em on my album? Those are my guys, my dudes. You have to be under a rock for years to not know who Dre is [laughs]. Just to have him tell me, “Obie, I’m with you, man. I got whatever you need.” That’s a beautiful thing. You have to understand, I was the first, new artist that Dr. Dre ever rapped with. This was my first album and Dre was spitting on it. And Eminem is one of the greatest to ever do it. And we are still cool. A lot of people forget the realness behind everything. There’s a lot of fakeness in the game. Just having Em and Dre on ‘Bottoms Up’ is more than a good look. I’m proud and I’m happy.