June 1, 2008

Obie Trice - Cheers (September 23, 2003)

By far, my favorite fact about Detroit rapper Obie Trice is that Obie Trice is his real name. It's not even a nickname of any sort: it's a family name (he's the third in line). To me, that's awesome. But I cannot allow that tidbit to overshadow the actual reason I'm writing about Obie Trice, and my two readers shouldn't, either, even if they don't know what the fuck is running through my head at the moment.

Obie was an underground rapper who I like to imagine liked to spit freestyles while standing in line for the lunch truck during breaks at the local unnamed factory a la 8 Mile, a flick that he briefly appeared in. He released some singles under the radar, and found some early success, and because all Detroit rappers seem to know each other, Marshall Mathers took a liking to the young man. He was quickly signed to Eminem's Shady Records vanity label, which was gifted to him by Interscope executives after Em's first two albums sold a combined gazillion and three copies; it was the only free thing that they could think to give him after they blew all of the profits on private islands, whores, and a few woolly mammoth vacuum cleaners, as popularized on the hit reality show The Flintstones.

Obie took advantage of this new situation, and recorded tracks that would appear in projects such as D12's Devil's Night, the soundtrack to the aforementioned 8 Mile (Eminem's film breakthrough), and, to a much lesser extent, Marshall's own The Eminem Show (Obie's brief cameo before "Without Me" was pulled from Obie's intended lead single, "Rap Name", which didn't hit quite as effectively after Obie was jailed prior to the single's release; the song was later banished to "You can only find it on the Interweb" status). His debut album, Cheers, followed the standard blueprint for hip hop success: songs for the ladies, songs for the thugs, songs for the clubs, lather, guest spots by artists that are more popular than you, rinse, beats by some of the most well-respected in the game, and repeat.

Cheers sold moderately well, but not as well as executive producer Eminem would have hoped. Cheers was marketed with the Willy Wonka-esque commitment of five golden tickets that would afford the lucky winners a trip to visit Eminem in the studio, ostensibly to watch him eat Chick Fil-A and overdose on Ambien. This didn't work as well as Interscope would have liked, but Cheers garnered some video airplay on MTV, which made Obie Trice more of a household name than, well, you know, the Detroit rapper Em should have signed to Shady Records.

You know who I'm talking about.

For a mainstream rap album, for there not to be an inane rap album intro is amazing. This first track is a pretty good way for Obie to introduce himself, and Eminem's production surprisingly rocks.

And then it's followed by this weak shit.

Corny as fuck. Obie attempted to give his new Interscope bosses a radio-friendly single in the vein of what Eminem's first singles inevitably sound like. In fact, he even adopts/steals Eminem's flow to such strong effect that I'm wondering exactly how much of the song was written by Marshall.

Obie gets murdered on his own shit by a scene-stealing Eminem, who delivers his best performance in a loooong fucking time, even sneaking in a sly Ja Rule diss (which is a running theme on Cheers, by the way).

Pretty boring, and the drums that kick in later are unnecessary.

I'm pretty sure this was a single, but I don't feel like verifying that fact. This coldly calculated Dr. Dre beat creeps along as Obie spits his betrayal saga. There's an official remix of this song that features, of all people, Lloyd Banks, Jadakiss, and Redman. I have it on good authority that Obie utilized a lottery system, not unlike Ticketmaster, to determine who would get to contribute: this would explain the inclusion of future foes Lloyd Banks and Jadakiss.

What happens when you combine a terrible Timbaland instrumental with some awful lyrics? Those of you that answered OneRepublic's "Apologize" are only half right: Timbo didn't really do much with that song except tweak the beat.

This song is actually hilarious, because Dr. Dre hasn't really dissed anyone on wax since Eazy-E, and here he takes pot shots at Ja Rule and Suge Knight. It's strange that he decided to get involved in Curtis Jackson's beef, though: you would think Dre would have been too busy counting his money and not making Detox. Em's hook grates on the nerves.

I don't wanna.

This song was originally an exclusive for a DJ Muggs mixtape, which may explain the multiple Cypress Hill references that pop up during Eminem's verse. It's a passable track, with decent turns from Obie and, surprisingly, Lloyd Banks, but, as per usual, Curtis fucks the whole shit up.


Nate Dogg provides what I believe to be his weakest hook ever, over some low-key Dr. Dre production. Obie acquits himself honorably, which is to say, he doesn't completely suck on here.

While the track itself is awful beyond belief, it at least proves that Eminem has more than one move when it comes to producing songs.

A lame ass skit introduces a weak song with a decent beat, produced by Eminem and Emile. Oh well.

Don't get all excited: Busta only appears on the hook of this waste of a Dr. Dre prescription. However, this was released around the time that more Busta Rhymes did not equal a good song, so it is what it is.

As the obligatory "dedication" song, not bad, but I can do without the multiple references to "down ass bitches". Oh, I get it, and I appreciate a good down ass bitch as much as the next guy, but I can't help to think that Obie's really rhyming about some Labrador puppies that he grew up alongside while living in Rock City.

17. OUTRO (FEAT D12)
This is really just a D12 song that just happens to feature Obie Trice. Sadly, this is more representative of the type of rhymes that Em is prone to spitting today: while technically proficient, the passion is gone. (I dare Marshall to prove me and my two readers wrong.) Obie fits right in as the missing seventh member of the Dirty Dozen, so he has that going for him, which isn't nice, since he's actually better than everyone in D12 (save for the white guy) when given half a chance.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Obie's not the best rapper in the world, but Cheers surrounds him with talent, so he comes off better than he actually should, even though Cheers doesn't work as an album. A handful of the tracks are very good, though, and he doesn't litter each track with his weed carriers, which helps matters considerably. In fact, for an Eminem-produced album that isn't D12's, it sounds surprisingly polished, which only makes one wonder what he could have done for that other Detroit rapper, who shall remain nameless.

BUY OR BURN? Obie shows sparks of actual talent, and his debut is pretty entertaining in spots. Am I recommending a purchase? Hell no, but some of the tracks are pretty good, so you should burn those and go along your merry way.

BEST TRACKS: "Average Man"; "Shit Hits The Fan"; "Lady"; "The Set Up"



  1. For some reason i really love this album even though i can take on board all you're saying. At the time of it's release, I was in the second year at uni and I'd just bought decks and was becoming a DJ in my college bar and 'Got Some teeth' made so much sense to have, plus i loved that track! Who cares if its corny? I'd rather hear that in a club than 'Summer of 69' or anything by Rick Astley.

  2. Yo max- gotta disagree my man, i thought this was a pretty hot CD. And as much as i hate curtis, not even a mediocre verse from him could ruin We All Die One Day.

    The one big gripe i have though is with Royce- I just dont see what all the hoopla is about him. I got to a point where i was sick and tired of his complaining about not making it big- that being said, the Bad vs. Evil EP was pretty legit.

  3. AnonymousJune 02, 2008

    Hi Max,

    I'm a recent covert to your blog and I'm thoroughly enjoying your irreverent and slightly bizarre reviewing style. Seeing as I have almost doubled your readership, I feel entitled to ask, nae demand, that you review some more Wu Tang. 32 wu/affiliated reviews is not enough, god damn it. It's not an unreasonable request, is it? I was thinking something along the lines of Masta Killah's "No Said Date" or Ghost's "Fishscale". Muchos gracious.

    p.s where the phuc is snoop dogg's timeless classic doggystyle, and nwa's niggaz4life?

    bong bong

  4. Thanks again for another great review. I don't necessarily always agree with your conclusions, but the writing is always entertaining and usually makes me track down a track or two.

    Since you've been talking about Royce so much lately I just wanted to make sure you've been catching all the shit he's been spitting lately. His freestyle over the Big Dreams beat is fantastic and should instantly convert anyone:


  5. Royce did Boom, and thats a big beat.

  6. Why am I commenting on this nearly a year after post? Oh well, gotta start somewhere; I'm new here.

    Good review which I more or less fully agree with. Cheers was my first birthday gift as a teen (which is kind sad, because I got it when I was 17, and it had already been out for a couple of years). Average Man is my favourite Obie track.

    Loving your reviews, especially the Wu-Tang stuff. I'm addicted to RZA's early productions.

  7. BLXCKLISTEDJuly 12, 2010

    Just read your review and surely you're entitled to your opinion. Thing is I found it worthwhile, a 5/10, good enough for a debut. For the killer track, Hands On You (feat. Eminem), a personal favourite of mine, I rate it 7/10. Trice has what it takes and flourish beyond.

  8. dre should give set up beat to busta