MVRemix: As an emcee from New York City, how did you get involved with the Oakland label, Hieroglyphics Imperium, for the release of the ĎSmoke And Mirrorsí LP?
O.C.: I was recording music. It was like a little aromatherapy for me. You know what Iím saying? My partner, Lamonte and Mr. Dave knew that I have Mushine Entertainment, Next Mill Entertainment, and Re-Up Recordings. They somehow bumped into Domino and Casual. They got to talking. My name came up. We always had mutual respect for each other. They have a situation with Red Distribution, which goes through Sony. Hieroglyphics, these dudes, for what itís worth, sell a lot of records. They have a following. They have a fan base. They have quality material and they headline their own tours. It just made sense for me to do a record with them and hit the road with them, just to get back into it. I look at Dom and them as cats who were pulling me back into the game. They are the reason Iím back in the game. Donít ask me how. They didnít say anything special to me to start thinking like that.
MVRemix: I love the songs on the ĎStarchildí album (Grit Records / Nocturne Records). That LP was an overseas release, right? Tell us about that album.
O.C.: It was a work for hire record I did for this cat that I know. The record is not a finished product. What you hear is not the finished product. Itís not. I really donít like the record, but people like the record.
MVRemix: As a complete album? Maybe not, but I think that many of the songs are excellent.
O.C.: Thatís dope, Todd. I appreciate that. History goes back. I didnít like ĎTimes Upí.
MVRemix: Everybody loves ĎTimes Upí and the ĎWordÖLifeí LP. I like that album, but honestly, itís not one of my favorites.
O.C.: Yeah, Iím glad to hear you say that! You know what Iím saying? People really base my career around that record. I understand that is what people know me for, but I have better records than ĎTimes Upí.
MVRemix: Many fans want you to stay like ĎTimes Upí, right?
O.C.: Yeah! Man! Itís like, ĎCome on, man!í You canít do that!
MVRemix: I know. You canít make the same record every single time.
O.C.: You canít make the same record over and over. Itís not possible for me.
MVRemix: That is a cool aspect of your discography. Every record is different.
O.C.: Yes. Even if it is something you donít like, every record is different. Thatís how I feel about it. Iím a fan of the game. I buy peopleís records. If my favorite artist has an album where every song, from beginning to the end, I donít like, it doesnít mean I donít like the artist. You are not going to like every song you hear all the time. I love Nas. I love Jay. I donít like everything they make. I love Cube. I love Dre. Dr. Dre is probably the top producer in the game up to this point, but I donít like everything Dre makes. That doesnít mean he went wrong. Thatís just him being a human being. Heís going to have a flaw.
MVRemix: Most of the songs on the ĎSmoke And Mirrorsí LP were produced by Mike Loe, but your other albums had various producers like DJ Premier and D.I.T.C. Why did you choose just one producer for the ĎSmoke And Mirrorsí LP?
O.C.: Itís always been D.I.T.C. One record was Premier, but for the most part, itís always been Buckwild, Finesse, and Showbiz. For this record, I just chose Mike Loe. Iím a fan of the game. I was tired of buying records, CDs, wax, or whatever have you and hearing the album going off in 20 different directions with a million guests. Just because you have Swizz, this one, that one, and whoever on your album, it does not mean that the record is going to be dope. Thatís not to say that their beats are wack. Iím not saying that at all, but if you have Swizz, Jazzy Pha, Manny Fresh, Premier, Nottz, and Madlib, the album may have no direction.
MVRemix: Yeah, many albums with a different producer on each track, usually do not have a running theme or connecting vibe.
O.C.: You are absolutely right, but you can go in a direction that has no direction. Bruce Lee said, ĎMy style is not having a styleí. I wanted to catch it like, not so much sounding like Slick Rick, but I wanted to catch the essence of having one producer on the record. I had to stick to one sound and not confuse people.
MVRemix: Why did you choose Mike Loe to produce the album, as opposed another producer?
O.C.: Well, heís been around for years. Honestly, Buckwild and Finesse were busy. This is my crew, so you know. Mike Loe has been around the crew, so heís practically fam. Heís practically D.I.T.C. He has dope records.
MVRemix: Whatís the correct state of D.I.T.C.?
O.C.: We are still Diggin In The Crates. Weíll always be D.I.T.C.
MVRemix: What is the difference between Wildlife and D.I.T.C.?
O.C.: Wildlife is newer artists. You know, you have to change it up a little but, you canít just bore people with the same stigma of being the same old D.I.T.C. Itís like 50 Cent. If he kept making records only featuring Lloyd Banks, he would have been ĎAlright, Lloyd Banksí. So, G-Unit came.
MVRemix: Even though many years have passed since his death, I want to pay my respects for the tragic loss of Big L. He was an emcee in the classic sense. I still think his music sounds just as fresh as when I heard him for the first time. Hip-hop lost a son. How has his passing changed you?
O.C.: No doubt. As far as musically, Iím not speaking for everybody, but he made the group. Solo-wise, he was a star. I always visioned him and Fat Joe as the breakout stars of the group. Joe is doing his thing on the commercial level. I saw Big L doing his thing on that level too, probably like Jay-Z.
MVRemix: Yes, if Big L was still here, he would have been huge.
O.C.: Yeah, he would have definitely been on that level as Hova and Nas, as far as walking that fine line. He could have done both. Personally, it was a tragedy for me and D.I.T.C. We donít celebrate his death anymore. We celebrate his life. We do shows and stuff every year. It threw a wrecking ball into us for a long time. Big L was a major part of making the records. We didnít have a set formula but, a lot of the hooks and set themes for the songs were created by Big L.
MVRemix: I actually thought you and Big L, as emcees, stole the ĎD.I.T.C.í album (Tommy Boy Records). I love that song, ĎDay Oneí.
O.C.: Right. ĎDay Oneí was a mistake record for me because I wasnít there to record my verse. I heard the record after they recorded it at Diamondís house. Show was about to mix the record when he was like, ĎHold up, something is missing. Holy shit, O.C. isnít on the record!í So, I came in did it. That is why you donít hear Big L say my name. He say, '...Peace to D-I-T-C, Show and AG, Fat J-O-E / Diamond D, Lord Finesse, and me...' He didnít mention me on the record because I wasnít there.
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"Even if it is something you donít like, every record is different. Thatís how I feel about it. Iím a fan of the game. I buy peopleís records. If my favorite artist has an album where every song, from beginning to the end, I donít like, it doesnít mean I donít like the artist."