February 19, 2010

Obie Trice - Second Round's On Me (August 15, 2006)

In 2003, Obie "Obie Trice" Trice cemented his position as "the other solo artist Eminem signed to Shady Records" (the first being Curtis Jackson) with his debut album Cheers, a surprisingly enjoyable (at times) hip hop album that boasted some of the most creative production that Marshall Mathers has ever come up with.  Obie was also able to capitalize off of his newly-acquired status by collaborating with bigger names such as Dr. Dre (who even performed on one track, "Shit Hits The Fan"), Timbaland, Curtis, Lloyd Banks, Nate Dogg, Busta Rhymes, and, on a remix to "The Set Up", Reggie Noble.  (That remix, which was released as a single, marks probably the only time that Redman has officially rhymed over a Dr. Dre prescription.)  While it didn't move tons of copies, unlike the other guy from Shady Records (*cough* Get Rich Or Die Tryin' *cough*), Obie did well enough to keep his cult following salivating for more.

So around 2005, when the artist formerly known as Obie-1 (which is a far worse rap name than Obie Trice) began work on his follow-up, Second Round's On Me, hip hop heads (at least those who were paying any attention) watched as their own hearts started palpitating wildly with excitement.  It definitely didn't help that, around this time, his label boss Eminem (who, as we now understand, was entering the beginning stages of drug dependency, which affected his overall work ethic and contributed to some horribly shitty verses from the former Slim Shady) bragged to any rap media outlet who would listen that his production work on Second Round's On Me would surpass anything that he had ever done before.  (I remember reading about a song called "Emulate", named as such because I suppose Obie was supposed to be channeling his mentor's flow or something, but that track never emerged in a full-length version.)

Which is why it was so shocking that Obie Trice sustained two gunshot wounds at the very end of 2005.

Which is also why it was so shocking that Eminem's friend and D-12 running mate (and labelmate to Obie) Proof was killed just a few months later.

The recording of Second Round's On Me took on a very somber tone, as Obie explored the concept of not only loss, but his own mortality.  My understanding is that the man still carries bullet fragments in his head, as doctors have determined that it could be fatal if they try to extract them.  So Obie Trice has to walk around with the remnants of what being a moderate success can do to a person, a fact that is not lost on him during the entirety of Second Round's On Me.

I'm not sure if this was a result of Shady Records not allowing much of a budget for Obie to record his sophomore effort, or if the bigger names from before were now afraid to get anywhere near a guy who apparently attracted bullets like moths to a flame, but Second Round On Me's guest roster is far less distinguished than Cheers was.  As with the first effort, Marshall hangs out behind the boards and has a hand in the project's overall tone, but unlike Cheers, Eminem only appears on one song; consequently, when taken within the context of the year 2006, the biggest star to appear on here is fucking Akon, the man who lucked out a couple of years later when he hit the lottery by signing Lady Gaga to his own label.  Dr. Dre and Timbaland, apparently, had more pressing engagements with their barbells and their steroids, as neither man has anything to do with a guy who they claimed to like only a few years prior.

Can Obie Trice overcome these hurdles to bring listeners a decent second album?

No.  No he can't.


The first song on Second Round's On Me pales in comparison to the first song on Cheers, “Average Man”, but I still kind of liked it. (Or at least I did, until the corny-ass ending revealed the track's true colors.) Obie spits for nearly the entire duration of the track, and since he sounds exactly the same as he has since I first started paying attention to him, this helps acclimate the listener with the man's world view.

Similar in tone to the album opener from Cheers, but the inclusion of a sing-songy chorus deflates this aggressive balloon arrangement. The beat walks the fine line between decent and frustrating, and Obie ends up caught in the middle.

Prior to sitting down and listening to Second Round's On Me again, the last time I had heard this song was during an episode of Entourage. Emile's beat is pretty interesting, as he throws together a trash can punch filled with far too many ingredients, but the end result still tastes pretty good, and it'll get you drunk. Obie's second verse veers toward ridiculous imagery, but everything before that is entertaining enough.

A relatively threatening Eminem instrumental, punctuated with odd vocal samples, follows Obie as he tries to violently get his point across, adopting an unnatural sped-up flow at times, because absolutely nothing screams malevolence than imitating Twista. Pass.

Akno was included in these proceedings solely to ensure a radio-friendly single (as he was hot at the time, unlike today, since his shine was stolen from him by T-Pain and Akon is left collaborating on tracks such as David Guetta's “Sexy Bitch”), but the funny thing is that MTV banned the song (they have a documented problem with the “stop snitching” platform that a lot of rappers run for office upon), so “Snitch” was never really played on the fucking radio anyway. For what it's worth, Obie sounds okay, and Akon's singing doesn't overstay its welcome, but this isn't that great of a song; what annoyed me the most was that Marshall's ad-lib at the very beginning subliminally promises a cameo that never materializes.

This comment will sound contradictory, so stay with me here: This is Obie Trice's best song, probably the best the man will ever record. The Witt & Pep beat is fucking amazing, and it complements Mr. Trice beautifully. However, I never noticed until today that Obie sounds uncomfortable and awkward over this instrumental. I'm being serious: go ahead and spin it yourself, and pay close attention to the host's delivery: he actually makes the song sound worse, like U-God does with most Rza-produced tracks. My memory has, apparently, replaced this original track with its remix, on which Obie sounds much more confident alongside his guest collaborators over this exact same beat. And yet, I still feel this is the man's peak. I warned you that the comment would sound contradictory, so I don't want to hear any complaints later.

I didn't care for this song.

A better attempt at a radio single than the goofy “Got Some Teeth” (which was probably written by Eminem anyway – Obie sounds completely different on that corny-ass track than he does on everything else he ever recorded, so much so that I wouldn't be surprised to find that a blog has unearthed a reference track for it), but this still sounds entirely out of place on an album that's all about violence, misogyny, pervasive drug content, and typical rapper bullshit.

Obie's transition from introductory ad-libs to his first verse is incredibly jarring: seriously, nobody felt that could have been tweaked in editing? The beat, from Marshall and his frequent producing partner Luis Resto, sounds alright, but Obie's retaliatory tale rings hollow, especially when he deliberately mispronounces the word “animal” just to make his bars rhyme. Not unheard of in hip hop, but it's still kind of lazy.

Obie doesn't sound like a natural fit over a bouncy beat such as this, but he adapts his flow to the pace, which at least shows that he's trying his best. The song is weak overall, but the man clearly put some effort into it, which is always nice.

This song contains what sounds like should have been a Dr. Dre beat, but instead, production duties are credited to Trell and Eminem. Nate Dogg's hook uncharacteristically sucks balls, and Obie's awkward imagery during this sex rap will make you want to hit the 'skip' button fairly quickly.

Trey Songz makes the first of two cameo appearances on here. Trice's vocals sound like they were mechanically slowed down to match the speed of J.R. Rotem's instrumental, and the end result features a rapper who comes off as if this were the first rap song the motherfucker ever wrote. This was weird.

Obie includes a posse cut featuring some other Detroit rappers on Second Round's On Me, all in an effort to promote solidarity in Motown. Considering the large role Marshall played on Cheers, it's strange that his only vocal contribution to Obie's sophomore release is one verse on a song alongside two other guests that most heads outside of Detroit have never fucking heard of. (And yes, before someone comments, I'm aware that the overdose and drug dependency that birthed Relapse was affecting Eminem's work ethic at this point: I'm just pointing out a fact.) Not sure why Trick Trick only provides the outro, but whatever: this shit was weak as hell, and there are many better Detroit rappers Obie could have reached out to.

Welcome back, Trey. Once again, Obie sounds like he isn't rhyming at full speed, and Trey's hook is filled to the brim with hip hop clichés, so there isn't much to recommend about this shit.

16. 24'S
Fairly embarrassing for everybody involved.

Thankfully, Curtis Jackson only provides hook duties, but his presence still wasn't necessary: thanks to Em's beat, there was no fucking way this could have ever been a hit record. Even Obie sounds less than convinced of his own boasts on here.

Probably the most mature song Obie Trice has written up until this point. The title is goofy, and J.R. Rotem's production is lacking the dramatic flair and gravitas that Obie's autobiography should contain, but this was still an effective way to end the man's second album. More tracks of this nature would have been appreciated, but it's too late now.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Second Round's On Me suffers from the sophomore jinx. Obie Trice's second full-length effort features the rapper choosing to rest on his laurels instead of actively trying to hone his skills, and Shady Records fails him as well, providing not enough of an album budget and/or confidence to afford the big names that handled production and guest spot duties on Cheers. A lot of this album ends up boring listeners to death, and when Obie manages to conjure up a good song, it's too little, too late. “Cry Now” will become the song Obie Trice will be best known for, mark my words. However, there just isn't anything on here that differentiates Obie from your average shitty rapper, no matter what region he hails from, and that isn't a good thing.  It's little wonder why Obie would find himself dropped from Shady Records less than three years later.

BUY OR BURN? This one is a burn. I felt this was a major disappointment when it first dropped, causing me to lose faith in the man's talent. It isn't a complete wash, but nobody purchases CDs with the intent to skip every single track. Groan.

BEST TRACKS: “Cry Now”; “Obie Story”; “Wanna Know”


Obie Trice – Cheers


  1. Wow, you definitely surprised me with this one.

    I bought it during the first few weeks after release ... it was disappointing in the end overall, but I still don't want to give the disc away for some reason (perhaps fictional loyalty to the man ... I always feel Shady Records never did enough for him that he deserved).

    No doubt 'Cry Now' is the best beat Obie has EVER spit on (it's my cellphone ringtone right now!), though I too like the Shady remix better (everybody but Stat Quo at the end blew fireballs on that cut). Brilliant song; only 'Average Man' from Cheers (which is still my favourite Obie song EVER) is on its level in my opinion.
    I liked the one-two of 'Wake Up' and 'Violent', so at least the first half of the album was decent for me.

    BTW, the final track is called 'Obie Story', not 'Obie Strong'. Good ending to the album indeed. The burn recommendation is correct nevertheless.

  2. you do keep reviewing bullshit albums

  3. RaT - yeah, got a bit too happy with my s-words. It's been corrected - thanks for pointing that out.

  4. @ Anonymous: Eat dick. Max can do whatever he fuck he wants as it's his blog. If you want to make a blog and put only shit you want on it then by all means, but leave the man alone.

    Back on track: Yeah this album was pretty much a huge waste of time for all people involved including the delivery man who had to pick up the box containing this CD. Keep on writing Max! You're still the shit.

  5. All of My Life is better than that...

  6. It is good to review wack albums.......to make sure they are still wack. Thanks to Max we all no that there are no hidden bangers on an album that most of us would avoid.

    I agree with Dylan: eat dick anonymous.

  7. Shit album from a shitty rapper. (Again Max?)
    Ok, it was a good review, but truly a waste of time.
    Could you please review some Kool G Rap album to make everybody happy? You know he kicks everybody ass!

    «Long-List Anonymous»

  8. Good Review

    I hope you do Apache's "Apache Ain't Shit" next... only because the man passed away this January..... and Gangsta Bitch is a decent song (if not lyrically then instrumentally)

  9. Max, comment on Ludacris making a song with Justin Bieber...if that's not flushing all your street cred down the toilet, I don't know what is...this makes Prodigy's ballet pictures almost gangsta...

  10. D.I.T.C. (Lord Finesse, Showbiz & A.G., Diamond D..), Onyx (Sticky Fingaz, Fredro Starr), Lords of the Underground, KRS-One, Blaq Poet (Screwball), Big Shug, Dilated Peoples, Cali Agents, Scarface... I'm not saying to do it all, but you have a lot to choose

  11. same AnonymousFebruary 25, 2010

    and try something new: french rap maybe you'll apreciatte it, despite the language problem... (I'm not saying it to make a review but to listen to it) if you wanna try, start with Supreme N.T.M.

  12. gangsta bitch is lyricism at its best