|"Obie Trice, real name, no gimmicks" - for many music fans, those words simply served as the opening line of what would turn out to be one of the biggest singles of 2002, Eminem's "Without Me." For dedicated hip-hop fans, the words would simply serve to feed the anticipation that had been building after Obie Trice officially joined the Shady Records family in the fall of 2002.
What a difference a year makes. Trice's gold debut album, Cheers, (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope) is in Billboard's top 50 albums in the country two months after its release - largely thanks to its humorous lead single, "Got Some Teeth." Now set to unleash his energy locally when he performs Friday, Nov. 21 at Bogart's, the 25-year-old Detroit emcee is ready to show his music has bite as well.
"Every song that I started my career with, from the beginning to where my album is now ... I'm going to take them to the D-12 album, to The Eminem Show, to the 8 Mile soundtrack all the way to the album - that's what I plan to do," Trice says about his upcoming Cincinnati show. "On stage, I'm there to rock the crowd all over the place, not just in one particular place. I'm just doing my thing the best way I can do it."
Having the opportunity to rock mics coast to coast has been a long time in the making for Trice, who, like many undiscovered emcees, has been writing rhymes since early childhood. Releasing several underground singles before signing with Marshall Mathers III, Trice has showcased his skill in the underground via songs such as "Respect," "Mr. Trice" and the aforementioned "Rap Name" snippet and "Drips" guest appearance showcased on The Eminem Show.
Trice, a native of Detroit, thanks D-12 member Bizarre for hooking him up with Eminem. A fan of Trice's work, Bizarre set up a meeting with Eminem, which led to Trice freestyling on the spot in front of the man who would become one of his key mentors (along with Andre "Dr. Dre" Young).
Now blessed with a hit single produced by Eminem himself, Trice says working with two of rap's biggest moguls is nothing short of "a beautiful thing."
"Working with Eminem, he's one of the biggest rap artists that's out here today. He's like a brother to me - my daughter and his daughter play together, it's like family," says Trice. "With Dre, I grew up liking his music - like I did Eminem's - but I grew up listening to his music, and it was unbelievable."
He also credits them with enhancing his work ethic, noting, "You really gotta be about your business when it comes to this music. You don't have time to B.S. - you've got the opportunity, run with it."
Trice's career seemed set to explode early in 2003. That was until the unstoppable force known as 50 Cent signed with Shady Records late in 2002 and took over the music world with the now five-time platinum album Get Rich or Die Tryin' (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope).
That caused Trice to temporarily take a back seat, although it did give him more exposure as one of the opening acts on the "Rock the Mic" tour 50 Cent headlined with Jay-Z this summer. Trice notes the delay proved to be beneficial in setting up his own album.
Much like his mentor's character in 8 Mile, Trice says the best thing for any MC looking to make it big is to lose themselves in the music.
"If this is what you want to do, and it's in your heart - and not just because your man said you could do it, your momma said you could do - but if it's passionately deep rooted within you, give it 199 percent and go at it as hard as you can," Trice says. "I pressed up vinyl and I got it to the DJs and went to New York and got doors slammed in my face, went to L.A. and got doors slammed in my face. The day I met Eminem, it was a depressing day for me because I had a daughter on the way and I was thinking, 'What could he do for me?' So it was good I had the will to go meet that guy. If you can see it, visualize it, it can happen."