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THE NEW NEW YORKER – OFFFICAL INTERVIEW With O DA ADDIC

Published: April 14, 2010

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GW: Is that hard for you; are you a sex addict?
O: Yeah, of course. When I define addict, it’s not just drugs. It’s everything: life, love, sex, your kids, you know what I’m sayin, hip-hop, you know. People think an addict always has to deal with drugs, but if they really look at it, I just want to bring that to the world, there’s a lot of things we’re addicted to, we just don’t speak on it. It’s always gotta be somethin’ bad, you know: drugs, sex, gamblin’, and all this other stuff. You know, but when I wake up every day and wanna look at my kids and kiss ‘em, I’m addicted to them too. I love them, you know. With the sex thing, I just wanted to be the male Lil’ Kim, kinda. I remember that Hardcore album that she came out with. It probably wasn’t as bad as mine, but you know, it was up there. You know what I mean, sex sells (chuckles).

GW: The background of your Myspace page has a woman; she has her teeth on the condom wrapper, ‘bout to take it off. That was ingenious.
O: Thanks. Well, you know, I come up with most of the ideas for whatever I’m doin’. I been in this business so long that I’m basically everything. My marketing team, that’s me. The designers, how I want everything done, that’s me. I just tell everybody what I want and they bring it to life, basically. John, from Pen and Pixel, really took the ideas that I gave him and he brung it out. It’s real easy once he started gettin’ into it. It’s just like, boom, everything’s comin’.

GW: How long have you been in the business?
O: Man, I’ll say, whew, 14 years. Let me tell you, it’s so funny, ‘cause in ’96, I was watchin’ that interview with Coolio. I believe that when Coolio got on with his “Gangster’s Paradise,” he was 33, 34. He said it took him so long, 15 years. So he really was like, “I deserve everything. Everything I’m getting with this one record, I deserve.” So, I was just lookin’ at that and was like, “Man, I’m not gonna be his age tryin’ to get on!” So, here we go, 2010 and I’m still tryin’ to get on, you know.

GW: How old are you?
O: I’m 35.

GW: How many kids do you have?
O: Right now, I have six. I got some “maybe babies” out there (laughs). I got some “maybe babies” that are older and I ended up havin’ another set because I didn’t know whether or not those kids were mine. You know, basically, I’ll give you an example. So like, a girl be pregnant and she’ll say, “It’s not mine,” but later on it came up and she wouldn’t come to me and say anything. So it’s like, you know, rumors. My oldest is 10, he’ll be 11. My youngest is 6 months.

GW: Are they anything like you?
O: Oh yeah. They love music. My eight-year-old and my 10-year-old are already writing rap songs.

GW: What are their lyrics like? What kind of things do they talk about in their rap?
O: You know, one of my sons, he live in North Carolina, so it’s about North Carolina and his dad, and the country, dirt roads, and stuff like that, cornfields. So, it was real cute when he said it to me over the phone. I was like, “Wow.” My older son, he just raps my records. Before I did the Sex Sells and the Can’t Beat ‘Em Join ‘Em, I was more of a revolutionary, Tupac, conscious, backpack rapper all balled up in one. It really didn’t work, you know, people would hear it and be like, “Oh, you’re good, but that’s not what’s on the radio.” They was so used to Lil’ Waynes and all these other guys out. So, you know, that’s why I came up with the concept. I’m tired, I’m getting older, I’m ready. So I was just like, “Well, if I can’t beat ‘em, I gotta join ‘em.” So that’s the concept of Sex Sells and the new album. So I really wouldn’t have lyrics like that on the record but it’s just a part of me that I’ve been probably keepin’ inside and I wouldn’t let it out ‘cause I got my kids listenin’ and other people kids are listenin’. But you know, when you’re sittin’ back and you see more and more people get on and you’re sittin’ back like, “OK, it’s another year,” what are you gonna do? I had a tragedy happen last year where an investor said he was gonna invest a certain amount of money in my career and when I came to New York, he backed out sayin’ that the IRS froze his accounts and I was just tired of so many different things happenin’. You know, the year of the Trade Center, I lost my deal with Epic because of the World Trade Center, so it’s been crazy. You know, Lauryn Hill, The Score was basically my first producer’s music. You know, it’s just a long history with me. There’s been times when I shoulda been there, but it was always something happenin’ that lead it not to happen. I been waitin’ my turn, patiently.

GW: Does it seem like it’s coming?
O: Yeah, once you can’t beat ‘em and you join ‘em, I mean like I said, I get good reviews, people sayin, “Oh yeah, Sex Sells, that’s hot, I like that,” you know what I’m sayin’. I would have music with a song called, “No Disrespect,” where on the dance floor I got tired of women complainin’ about bein’ disrespected so I write that song. People like it but, you know, it’s not like, “Stop, Look, and Listen.” They was like, “Yeah, I love that,” I was like, “You got to be kidding me.” (Laughs) It’s all good. I just felt that, you know, basically Sex Sells and Can’t Beat ‘Em Join ‘Em is like my 13th, 14th albums. I would write ‘em, and some of ‘em, nobody’s ever heard. I’d write ‘em and just go on to the next one, on to the next one, to the next one. Matter of fact, the past two years I done five albums. That’s how Pete (manager) met me. Pete met me at an audition, not last year, but the year before. It was an Interscope audition for Shady Records. I told my girlfriend at the time, we had just left New York shopping for the kids, I was like, “We need to go right back,” ‘cause I seen it on Craig’s list. I was like, “If anything, I’m gonna meet somebody there.” You know, a lotta these little showcases are live. They just great artists and really nothin’s gonna happen.

Just like that, nobody got signed, nothing like that. They just gettin’ $35 from artists and selling tickets to line their pockets. But, that’s where I met Pete and Pete heard I was like the best guy there. The song was talkin’ about everything, all the artists have ever done to ruin hip-hop. I got so much love, Ness, when I came from performin’, they was like, “Oh yeah, he talkin’ ‘bout all ya’ll,” some of the MC’s was like, “He talkin’ about you, you just performed. Yo that’s hot!” Pete walked up on me, he was like, “Yo, you’re the best person in there. Why you ain’t on?” I’m like, “I don’t know, man.” I gave him three CDs of the three albums I just worked on. I had changed my name to The New South, representin’ New Jersey and Virginia. I did three albums: Up North but Down South; Out With the Old, in With the New, and I’m the Best Lyricist, “F” Rappers. That’s what I had. I gave him the CDs and I’m tellin’ you, Ness, he called me the next day and was like, “What is goin’ on, are you cursed? Do you have Voodoo on you?” I was like, “Nah.” He was like, “Yo, you just blew my mind at the audition and now I’m hearin’ all this stuff. What’s goin’ on?” Then I got with the investor and he was gonna put up $300,000. Then, like I said, when I relocated to New York, did what I had to do, he backed out. I cried like a baby, I tell you. I knew that I had to go back to Virginia and I didn’t wanna do that, after I had a big celebration. It just really hurt. So I got mad. One of the producers I work with gave me a CD with 149 beats. I just went through ‘em and grabbed the most commercialist. Some of the beats I got, it sounds like people already made money off of. It’s actually joining forces with “the grain.” I was goin’ against the grain with the positive rap. Now I’m basically going with the grain. So maybe when people hear my stuff and if I can get these two albums jumpin’ like I want to, then I come with the rest, it’ll just be like a maturity phase as an artist. I’m workin’ on my next one [album]. I’m 15 albums into this game.

GW: What got you into rap?
O: Tragedy. I was raised by neither parent. My mom always abused me. I guess she was mad because something my dad had did. I don’t know him, he’s somewhere with another family too. My mom married interracial and at the time, they wasn’t havin’ it. She got with a family that was really mad and she brung it out on her bastard child, which was me. My mom, she didn’t raise me but when I turnt nine, I went to live with her in Maryland. I stayed there for four years, from fourth grade to eighth grade. It was a bunch of abuse and it was just crazy, Ness. An uncle of mine that always wanted to adopt me and always wanted me to go to college and do right, he was the one that kept the family together, he would pressure my mom on adopting me and she would just be like, “No.” I guess she’d rather abuse me. He passed. He died in a fluke accident. My uncle is the reason why trucks can’t ride in the far lane on the Turnpike and the Delaware Turnpike. They changed that rule because the truck flipped over the divider and landed on top of his car coming back the opposite direction. It [the accident] just really crushed my whole family. They didn’t talk to each other no more. They were tryin’ to get the insurance money so everybody was sayin, “ Well, I was closer to him.” I just remember all of that. My first rhyme and letter was to mother. I wanted to leave and I knew that that was the burden and why her and her husband couldn’t have a good relationship. I had two other little brothers by my stepfather and maybe if I left, they could have a better life. I could have a better life. That was basically my first rhyme. I started off writin’ poetry to girls. My cousin would use me to write love letters to his girlfriends.

My uncle in Maryland, right before I left, who was like 11 years older than me, he seen I was listenin’ to DC 101 and all the rock songs and Tears of Fears was my favorite group. He was like, “Na, you supposed to be listenin’ to Heavy D and Salt N Pepa.” I was like, “Who is that?” So he gave me their CDs and those were the first [people] I fell in love with as far as rap; Heavy D, “Mr. Big Stuff,” and that album with “Push It,” and “Take Your Man.” I moved to North Carolina and knew that in order to take myself away from all of this drama, I would write music. Not just write rhymes, I would make up song titles first and then I would actually fill in the blanks. So I wrote, like, two albums for material; songs like “Flashback” and “Come Fly with the T.” I would make these song titles up and fill in the blanks. Once I started sayin’ ‘em [lyrics] to people, my classmates, they was like, “You’re good, yo.” I was like, “Aight, aight, I’ll keep going.”

GW: When you would make these albums, did they relate to your life at the time?
O: Yeah. After I left North Carolina, I came to Virginia and I started doin’ it more. Then I got into high school and started gettin’ into a group called, Thunder Based Productions. That’s when I wrote my first rhyme for, like, a crew. From there, I would do my own little solo thing and I’d say around, like, ’93 I caught a charge comin’ from New York. I was in the car, I was ‘bout 19, I was tryin’ to do some hustlin’. We got caught on the Turnpike and I ended up havin’ to switch my address from Virginia to New Jersey because I couldn’t get out on bond. They wanted more money and the other two people that was with me, they had already bonded out and left me there. I was like, “Somethin’s wrong.” While I was there, I wrote some more songs, you know, storytelling songs. My aunt, I never knew her, came to the jail to bail me out. She put her house up for me to get out. It was crazy ‘cause she was like, “I don’t know you. I’m just meetin’ you, but you a tale in your family. I know your story that you really don’t have anybody, so I’m gonna put my house up for you.” I called her when I was goin’ back and forth to court and said, “Look, instead of me bein’ in Virginia runnin’ around catchin’ more charges, can I come stay with you in Jersey and try to pursue my rap career?” She was like, “C’mon.” So that led me to New Jersey and I started meeting crews and getting into battles. People was like, “Who’s this new guy coming from VA named, O, that’s comin’ up in studios recordin’ like 15, 16 songs?” I just remember, Ness, one time comin’ to that studio, Backroom Productions, there was, like, a crowd of people at the studio. I asked the producer, Bozak,“Yo, what’s goin’ on?” He was like, “Everybody here to see who this kid who just came up and doin’ all these records.” I was like, “Wow,” you know what I’m sayin’, because I didn’t really have an avenue to actually spit it on the mic. I would just write it and put it out.

GW: You just got out of the hospital. Tell me a little bit about that. What happened?
O DA ADDIC: Well what happened was, I had just finished shootin’ the end of my new New Yorker video in Queens Bridge and I wasn’t feelin’ too good, so I headed back to Virginia to take care of some business and I just felt real funny. I was jokin’ with some friends and I kinda, like, pulled my head back and it just felt like somebody smacked me in the back of the head with a truck. I knew something was wrong, and they [friends] was like, “Oh you got a pulled muscle.” I was like, “Na, something’s real wrong.” So I called the ambulance and, you know, when I got to the hospital they really didn’t know what was wrong with me ‘til I vomited. The last thing I remember, I heard a doctor say, “Get him to the MRI, something’s wrong.” I was bleedin’ on the brain. So I woke up on, like, the 5th [March, 2010], and then I got outta the hospital on the 15th. I got one more doctor’s appointment on the 13th [April] and they should be clearin’ me to do whatever I gotta do. I’m just glad to be alive, ‘cause a lotta people don’t survive ‘em [brain aneurysms]. I have family members that have passed from ‘em. I just, I see a new light now. You know, I get a little emotional now and then, but it’s OK.

GW: Do you feel OK now?
O: I mean, I feel the same but it’s a little different. I can’t do a lotta things that I used to do. So, it’s kinda like a different Addic, but it’s the same Addic, tryin’ to come back. You know, I know I can’t get into debates with people anymore. It’ll get my blood pressure up, you know (chuckle). I’m always debatin’, honey, I’m a Virgo so you know; we always debate and try to analyze everything. I can’t do that really, no more. Yeah, but other than that, people don’t even know. They look at me and they think I’m lyin’. I have to show ‘em the paper work.

GW: You bring up not being able to do a lotta the things you used to do. Your album, it’s called Sex Sells. I guess, [since it’s] talking about sex, are you still able to do that?
O: Uh, yeah, not ‘til after the 13th (laughs). Once he clears me on the 13th, I’ll be back in business.

GW: There are a lot of people trying to make it, selling themselves out to an extent, to get famous. They’re kind of lying , a little bit, about the things that they do. What you talk about, how sexual you are, is that really who you are?
O: Yeah. But it’s like, you might be a freak, Ness, but you don’t want everybody to know what you do. A couple of guys that might be like, you know, Ness is a freak, you know, that’s just your personal sexuality. I figure, you know, why not use what I got to get what I want. Everything that I’m doin’ is me, it’s never made up. Everything you hear in them songs, is very true. There’s nothing made up, it’s all reality but I was always fighting that guy, like, “No, I don’t want the kids to hear that. Hip-hop should be about the struggle.” Back in the day, was in a group called The Wild Pack, that was affiliated with Lauryn Hill and we was goin’ to showcase the next day. G Rock, who was part of the group, he would always have me and the other guy do things he wouldn’t wanna do. So he was like, “Oh, O, call the psychic and see, when we do the showcase tomorrow, are we gonna get signed.” I called her and she was like, “I don’t see nothin’ happenin’.” So, I was like, “You know, forget it, am I ever gonna get signed?” She was shakin’ some little thing in the back and she was like, “Yeah, but it’s gonna take a long time. First you’re gonna move to DC.” I’m like, “DC? What I’m gonna move to DC for? Well, who I’ma sign to?” She was like, “Deef Jam.” I was like, “Def Jam?” She was like, “Yeah, Def Jam. But it’s gonna take a long time. ” So the next day at the showcase, no one showed up. That was like the ending of my management with that guy and the group. They kicked me out the group later. So, all these years, I been like, is that gon happen? But I keep goin’, Ness.

Right now, I’m not in a mid life crisis, I’m in a hip-hop crisis. I’m like, did I give it up because I see Gucci Mane and I see Lil’ Waynes and Nicki Minajs, and I have no problem with them but when it comes to artistry, that’s the only problem I have. They been talkin’ about that same stuff for years. Can we grow with this music? I know it’s about money and it’s cool but there’s kids listenin’ to that and sometimes they don’t wanna hear that. They wanna hear how bad it is so they can rise up. They don’t wanna hear, “Well, forget about it. Hustle. I’m this, I’m that.” You know? That’s what bothers me and that’s what kept me goin’. I’m dealin’ with it again. I’m like, “Is this worth it?” I coulda been doin’ somethin’ else by now, you know, and probably would have been successful. I’m in that little thing right now. But I don’t wanna give it up, ‘cause every time I turn on the radio I hear Gucci Mane, and I hear all these songs, I’m not hatin’ on you guys, but I just be like, “Wow,” (laughs) like, really? Is this what’s goin’ on? I would love to raise the bar, Ness, I would love to. I would love to raise the standard of hip-hop. I always felt I could do that. I remember listenin’ to Nas interviews and they were sayin’ the next guy to change hip-hop is unknown. He’s never been on a mixtape, he’s never been on a cameo, he’s somewhere fightin’ to get on and can’t. I always used to say that was me, and still to this day.

By: Ness

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