Royalty Magazine: What's good? Half the year is already gone, what are your goals or plans for the second half of the year?
O.C.: Staying focused and completing what’s on my plate which includes D.I.T.C. joints and the O.C/Freddie Foxx/DJ Premier album. Also I have to get to work with Apollo on the next record as well as touring in between it all.
Royalty Magazine: Any upcoming shows or tours we should be checking for? Tell us about your project Trophies. What are some tracks to look out for? What was it like working with Apollo Brown?
O.C.: Things are tentative right now. Trophies is a project that came about from Apollo & Mello Music Group getting at me about finished up his last project. Afterwards he was asked by his company if he had a chance to do an album with someone who would it be. My name came out of his mouth, business was taken care of then voila, Trophies! I would prefer people to listen from beginning to end but “Signs”, “Nautica”, and “Angels Sing”. Basically the whole record is conceptual top to bottom.Royalty Magazine: Tell us about O.C. When did you fall in love with hip-hop? What was that feeling like? How did you hook up with D.I.T.C.? For those that don't know, what does D.I.T.C. stand for? Who are the other members?
O.C.: I've been around almost from the beginning since music was played in the parks in my neighborhood. As far as the feeling I received, it was something I could relate to even as a 5 year old. My mom and dad always entertained company in my home so I was exposed to all kinds of music. I met Lord Finesse on the very first source magazine tour on the road with Organized Konfusion on a few of those dates Finesse had people travel with him. One of those people was Buckwild so that’s 2 D.I.T.C. members right there. The rest is history. D.I.T.C. stands for Digging In The Crates. This comes from producers within the group who look for obscure records to sample. The members consisted of: Showbiz, A.G., Diamond D, Lord Finesse, Big L , Buckwild, O.C., and Fat JoeRoyalty Magazine: You had a chance to work with Big L (RIP). Tell us what was it like working with Big L? What would you say was your dopest collaboration? What other groups or artists have you worked with? Would like to work with?
O.C.: Big L was a Taurus as well as myself so we hit it off from jump. Working with L was a natural progression for me and we taught each other things as far as approaching songwriting. He was a very gifted brother. One of my dopest collaborations? One that comes to mind is “Get Yours”, a song that was featured on the Jet Li’s Black Mask soundtrack. There are too many people to name as far as collaborations go. A person I would work with or dream collaborate with would be Donnie Hathaway except he's not around anymore so my next choice would be Mary J. Blige.Royalty Magazine: You are from Brooklyn, an area that is known for giving birth to many dope emcees...how do you stay consistent when the bar has been set so high? How do you stand out being from an area so competitive?
O.C.: I'm not in the space of being lyrically competitive anymore. I'm a bit older and more grounded so my thing is to stand out with great albums because greatness can't be grouped with competition. It’s jus great and that's it.Royalty Magazine: You made your recording debut on Organized Konfusion's "Fudge Pudge" back in 1991. Take us back to that moment. Did you know then that you would be where you are today? What were your expectations about the industry at that time? What have you learned from those expectations?
O.C.: Yes, I knew I'd still be around today. Call it cocky or confident but I foresaw the impact my verse made so it’s not a surprise for me. My expectations were to get my music out to the people and show them how nice I am. As far as the industry goes, as things moved forward I disliked it from signing that first contract. I despise the music business but I love music if that makes any sense. I've learned to separate the two.Royalty Magazine: How did the opportunity arise for you to feature on the remix of MC Serch's "Back to the Grill"? What was it like working with MC Serch & Nas?
O.C.: Myself and Nas were signed to Serchlite Music at the time. That’s how the remix came about. Working with Serch taught me how to deliver songs in the studio. He's a very intelligent dude. As far as Nas we didn't record our verses at the same time so I couldn’t tell you how it was to rock with him.Royalty Magazine: You were part of the Red Hot Organization's compilation CD, America Is Dying Slowly , alongside Biz Markie, Wu-Tang Clan, and Fat Joe, etc. The project was noted as "a masterpiece" by The Source magazine. How important was this project for the community? How important is it for prominent artists and public figures to stand up for what they believe in?
O.C.: The America Is Dying Slowly project hit very close to home. When I did that record I personally had a couple of family members die from AIDS. I saw them transform like a horror movie in front of my eyes over time. I've learned being in any form of entertainment it doesn’t make you immune to life's ills because we're human beings first.
Royalty Magazine: In 1997, your single "Far From Yours", peaked at #81 on Billboard's Hot 100. What a great accomplishment! What was your motivation behind the track? What has been your greatest accomplishment throughout your career?O.C.: It was cool but I never was one to pay attention to the charts. I would be informed by my management and the record label at the time but for me it was a more about making a great record to see if it'll stand the test of time. As far as the motivation for the song I was always a fan of the group The Brothers Johnson's" sound, songs like “Strawberry Letter 23", “I Want You”, and “In A Way” but Tevin Campbell ended up redoing the record by the name of "Tomorrow" with Quincy Jones. I also used "I Want You" for a song by the group that didn’t make the cut for my album Jewelz called "Bonafied" feat. Jay Z on the chorus. As far as an accomplishment for me it’s still being relevant 20 years later.
Royalty Magazine: If you had a chance to appear in the BET Cypha, what artists would you team up with? What beat would you rock to?O.C.: If I had a choice it would be me, Styles P, Slick Rick and Jaz-O and the beat would be “Bigger's Theme” by Mtume.
Royalty Magazine: There is a lot of controversy surrounding George Zimmerman &Trayvon Martin. How do you feel about the situation? If the roles were reversed how do you think things would have been different?O.C.: I feel that we've been conditioned to the behavior in America. The media knows how to smooth over situations like Trayvon Martin. If the roles were reversed and Trayvon had murdered this guy he would've been on trial and convicted already. Besides I hate to say things like this but Black and Latino youth have been getting murdered regularly and it’s been no big deal. If just the family didn't let it fall into red tape and succumbed to bureaucratic nonsense things may have been different. But even still the situation cooled down.
Royalty Magazine: How do you feel about the current state of hip-hop? Are you familiar with the term hip-pop? Are you feeling hip-pop at all or do you think it has an impact on the watering down of hip-hop?O.C.: It’s all hip-hop, no matter what titles are tagged on over time. Pop's an abbreviation for popular so what started out as music for the people by the people is now worldwide. Popular once had that but the powers that be got ahold of something that's raw and untapped, watered it down, and took some of the elements away to package it up and sell. That's how it works. They did it with jazz, too. They took something they couldn't understand and made it digestible.
Royalty Magazine: Any last words, comments or shot outs? Anything you want to touch basis on that we haven't already?
O.C.: For those who are unaware of O.C. and my history, my advice would be do your homework and pick up an album called Word Life. That's where the catalog starts. Associations to my name and history will pop up. Also check out the new album Trophies by Apollo Brown and O.C. Peace and blessings.
Royalty Magazine: How can people keep up with you and/or check out your music? What sites or radio stations can people catch you on?
O.C.: Check me on Twitter @Thereal_OCizzle
Royalty Magazine: Thank you for your time. Much love & respect!
Interview Courtesy of @TazDatMC for @RoyaltyMagazine