The Skinny: This is the debut recording from Obie Trice, a Detroit hip hop artist in the gangsta style. It’s gritty with some groove. You can bump to it, but this is not dance music. It’s akin to the rhythmic, fast-paced style pioneered by Eminem. This is a good add, if you’re building a hip hop collection.
Sounds like: Eminem, Dr. Dre, Timbaland, 50 Cent, D12
Deeper Thoughts: Obie Trice (I respect that he uses his birth name, rather than a rapper pseudonym) has been said to place “a workman-like emphasis on craft over style.” His debut is definitely a hard-working record. 17 tunes, many featuring Eminem and other hip-hop heavyweights like Dr. Dre, 50 Cent and Busta Rhymes. Obie Trice is hip hop with a message. There are plenty of bitches and hos and booty here, but Trice raps about his life coming up on the streets of Detroit, about his troubled relationship with his mother and about home boys he’s lost. The music sets this stuff apart from other less inventive hip hop. There’s great rock guitar, west-coast keyboard wheeze, super-heavy beats and even the odd Dixieland sample. Obie and Em make a great combination on the tracks that feature Marshall Mathers.
The Sonics: First time through, I listened to the first seven tunes streaming on ear buds, and the next ten on the disc on my hifi rig through some mediocre Sony headphones. The difference was significant. On the stream the sound effects and blurpy stuff were more prominent. The tracks sounded thin and flat — it was all vocal. The disc sounded a lot tougher, more bad ass. The beats sound heavier, the rock guitar crunchier and the tough-as-hell vocal sits comfortably right in the middle of it.