Real name, no gimmicks, is a phrase I repeatedly shouted almost ten years ago; like most of you, I clung to anything Aftermath/Shady records related. Therefore, when I first heard Obie Trice, I automatically knew I would buy his album. O’s first major label introduction came in the form of Cheers, which was executive produced by Eminem. The album sold 225,000 in its first week, and seemed like just another fabulous project by the Aftermath/Shady machine. His follow up Second Round’s on Me came out in August of 2006 and failed to have the success of Obie’s first LP, only pushing 80,000 units. Let us fast forward some 6 years and we finally get the inebriated binge drinking third installment entitled Bottoms Up. No longer under Shady records, Obie Trice started Black Market ENT, his own label and decided to release the long awaited project. Now, with that brief history lesson, (I had to do that since I have not really kept up with Trice’s career since Cheers came out) I have a few questions I need answered. First, in a rap game that caters to a younger crowd, can Obie still deliver a solid album? Second, has he grown as an artist enough to still make a relevant splash in the Rap game? Most importantly, are the drinks still on him?
Production – 8
I think the production on this album is by far the best part. It instantly took me back to a time when Aftermath ran my iPod. The hard knocking drums are in a way nostalgic, I hear a lot of Dr. Dre influenced sounds throughout the project. NoSpeakerz and K&Square, which I have never really heard of, produced the majority of the album. They have a very gutter sound and focus mostly on heavy bass echoes and thumps. It has a much more laid back feel then all the current music out right now. I think this is why I enjoyed it so much, it made me want to go back and listen to the good ol days. Dr. Dre and Statik Selektah make contributions as well which mean the album obviously has amazing piano keys. I found myself vibin’ out to the sounds more than anything else, the horns and snares add to what is a wonderfully produced album. This is both a huge strength for the album, but a negative as well. At times it out shadows the former Eminem protégé and I started wondering who else I would have wanted on the project. The lack of up tempo beats made it a bit to repetitive for me, a “fun” or “hype” record somewhere in between all the Knocks would have helped. Having said that, the production is by far my favorite aspect of offering.