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O.C. - conducted by Hugo Lunny  

Just Three More Years

May 2005

If you were a fan of rap and Hip Hop prior to 1998 (when everything seemed to soar in popularity), you'll know O.C.. You'll be particularly familiar with "Time's Up," and I'd be shO.C.ked if whenever you heard the beat begin to twinge you failed to feel the urge to rap along "You lack the minerals and vitamins, irons and the niacin / F*ck who that I offend, rappers sit back I'm bout to begin..."

As a solo artist and as part of the highly acclaimed and well respected D.I.T.C. crew, O.C. has consistently managed to cleverly create interesting material which has stood the test of time.

In 2001 O.C. released "Bon Appetite," which was met with the strongest criticism of his career. Fans were disappointed, seeing a side of him which they were previously unfamiliar with. However, as 2005 emerged, so did "Starchild," an album which many deem as O.C.'s "return."

"Starchild" is currently available through Grit Records/Inebriated Rhythm.

MVRemix: Tell me about the direction of "Starchild," were you going for a more low-key, introspective vibe instead of your typically raw street shit?

O.C.: I figured it was kind of missing in Hip Hop. You got cats like Immortal Technique who's comin' up in the game that's doin' that real backpack street raw shit. With the exception of him, the game is missing that shit. So I tried to catch it up with the "Starchild" album.

MVRemix: With regards to that, which sort of subjects do you discuss? Which track has the most meaning for you?

O.C.: I mean yo, I really feel I felt whatever the track told me to do. It wasn't no mystical prO.C.ess or nothin' like that, whatever the track told me to do I did it. I kinda had to take it back to have some fun with it. Even if it was a deep topic, or a topic touched to death or something like that - I wanted to try to make a bad situation good. That's all I tried to do with it.

MVRemix: How did you hook up with Inebriated Rhythm?

O.C.: That was with my man AG. AG was dealin' with 'em and they wanted a verse, you know how that go. One thing lead to another and we started workin' together. We kept in touch.

MVRemix: Following on from that, with regards also to AG - what's the current status of D.I.T.C.?

O.C.: Basically, we 'bout to do another album. It's not gonna be so much of a... We probably gonna use a new name. I really don't wanna reveal the whole science behind that but we 'bout to do a new album. It's not gonna be Diggin', it's gonna be me, AG, Diamond [D] and [Lord] Finesse.

MVRemix: And what's the current standing between yourself and Fat Joe?

O.C.: Everything's good. I mean Joe, Joe is a star, man. That's him. He's been that before he was in the limelight and we all family regardless. Everything's good, it's just he does what he does and we do what we do and we knew that from the beginning. Joe had a star quality before he was actually a star.

MVRemix: What did you think of the criticisms you received for "Bon Appetite"?

O.C.: You gon' get that man. Me and Pharoahe [Monch] was talkin' yesterday. It's like the fans or people that listen to your music expect you to talk about what they feelin' instead of what you're feelin'. I think "Bon Appetite" was a good album, but I got a lot of flack for that album. I really don't care, but I think it was a dope album for what it was. Everything is not supposed to be "Time's Up." That's what I think people get caught up in, like I'm supposed to make records like "Time's Up" all the time and that's not the case.

MVRemix: Do you feel underrated or overlooked? Because many see you as being that...

O.C.: I stopped feeling about that a long time ago man, I'll be 34. I don't really care what people feel about my music. If you like it, you like it. If you don't, don't pick it up. That's how I feel. I'm a fan of the music before I'm me.

MVRemix: What do you think about "Word...Life" selling for 50 bucks on E-Bay?

O.C.: That's crazy! That's a perfect example of an album that people pretend to not realize that we're in the business of selling music, but that's not how I came into the game. I came into the game with a genuine love for the music. "Word...Life" was a raw album. It was raw because I was inexperienced, but at the same time I was good at what I was trying to do and it showed a raw talent. Like you makin' a sculpture out of clay. You not gonna get a Picasso or a Julius Caeser head out of it right off the bat, but if you keep workin' at it... I don't think people really understand that "Word...Life" was just something that was done out of love. It's crazy. I can't even begin to tell you about it 'cause I'll be on the phone all day.

MVRemix: Within your catalogue, which is the song which you're most proud of?

O.C.: It'd probably be "O-Zone." Out of everything I've done... I say that because like I said, when I did the first album, I wasn't worrying about sales. I wasn't worried about people picking up my album. I wasn't worried about 50 Cent saying "If you did that album for yourself, you should have kept that shit in the house," I wasn't worried about none of that. It was just a raw song. It was Hip Hop, period.

MVRemix: What's next after "Starchild"?

O.C.: A lot of people don't know, but I'm dealing with the Hieroglyphics now. We got an album slated for late August, maybe early September. I'll probably be hittin' 'em real heavy with the Hieroglyphics and I'ma probably be pumpin' out three or four albums in the next three years man. I think I'ma give myself a three-year run and I'm done with this shit. Probably try and get somebody else in my place.

MVRemix: Can you expand on who the Hieroglyphics thing came through?

O.C.: We dealing with Domino. They got the Emporium label and whatever. They came at me with a situation that was good and I think we been in the same type of category, of class of emcee. So, it's gon' be interesting to see how it's gonna turn out. I'm definitely lookin' forward to that. I'm lookin' forward to anything I'm doing in the future with them; touring - just getting back on the road man. I miss the road.

MVRemix: Is there anyone you're really checking for these days?

O.C.: I like Immortal Technique. Yo man, my taste is funny. People look at me crazy because of what I do. But I like Fabolous, I like the Cassidy's, I like the Papoose - I like Hip Hop man. I like rappers and I like emcees, both. That's what it's for, it's supposed to be a melting pot and everybody's not supposed to do the same thing. To me, in Hip Hop there's emceeing and there's rapping. I don't wanna be serious all the time. If I wanna be serious and listen to some deep Hip Hop, I'll listen to Immortal Technique or I'll go to an Immortal Technique show. If I wanna go somewhere with a chick and she wanna dress up and wear tight shit, I'll go to a Fabolous concert or I'll go to a Fat Joe concert. I like both. Maybe I was disgruntled before because of my own reasons, but yo man, I got the best job in the world. For real.

MVRemix: Are there any plans to work with Primo again?

O.C.: It's an open thing, but I haven't seen Preem in over a year. I don't know where Preem's at.

MVRemix: What about Alchemist? People think you would sound great over his beats.

O.C.: Alchemist is ill for real. Matter of fact I had to big him up for Pharoahe's album. He did a joint on Pharoahe's album, it's like [whistles]. He's incredible. He reminds me of a re-incarnation of Primo and that's not meant in a disrespectful way. He got some other shit, he's hot.

MVRemix: So you've done stuff on Pharaohe's album, or?

O.C.: Nah, nah, me and Pharoahe's workin' on a joint to put on his album, but he's basically done. So that's the situation right there.

MVRemix: What do you think is the biggest misconception people have of you?

O.C.: That... I got criticism about bein' a gangsta or some shit like that for the "Bon Appetite" album, but it was like shit bugged me out. Because there's people (at least in New York), people who know me, or my crew or Showbiz or Finesse - we always had cars. We always had jewelry, I always wore the gold teeth - so, it wasn't nothin' that I was tryin' to portray, I was just bein' me. People tend to come at me like I'm on some fakin' the funk shit. I don't understand that. I guess it's the Rakim effect. Like when you first heard him you was like, "Damn, this dude is deep." Then you seen him in Dapper Dan suits and Benz' - it was the same effect, but it was a backlash on me. It wasn't the same good effect as Rakim get. I've been all over the world man, and when people come to my shows and see the big jewelry - they look at me crazy like, "Yo, what the fuck is this dude doing?" But this is me though. This is who I was at that time or at that stage. I don't understand what people want from me... to wear a backpack on my back and dress grungy? I don't know. That's not my style.

MVRemix: Have fun with this one, a la "Fight Club," "If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight?"

O.C.: It'd probably be somebody like Wesley Snipes or some shit.

MVRemix: And why Wesley Snipes?

O.C.: 'Cause I don't believe he can do all that Karate shit [chuckles].

MVRemix: I heard some bad things about Wesley Snipes, he shot "Blade 3" around here and apparently the man does not tip whatsoever. Supposedly he ran up an $800 tab at a bar I know and didn't tip at all.

O.C.: I heard he gets crazy, he be ready to whip everybody's ass - bouncers, his bodyguards. I think he's like a puff of smoke.

MVRemix: Aside from the album, have you been working on any other projects?

O.C.: Nah man, I been really fO.C.using on my thing. Like I said, after this summer with the new album. I'ma work my ass off so expect me to be on everything. Everything underground everything over-ground. I'm using all my powers.

MVRemix: Any last words?

O.C.: I'm coming. I was never away, just been on hiatus. It's a done deal. It's my year.

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"...people who know me, or my crew or Showbiz or Finesse - we always had cars. We always had jewelry, I always wore the gold teeth - so, it wasn't nothin' that I was tryin' to portray, I was just bein' me."