There have been too many rap success stories of 2017 to possibly declare a definitive one, but OMB Peezy surely deserves a special place of recognition. Barely old enough to purchase alcohol, he has overcome a nomadic adolescence and a myriad of struggles to ascend to the upper echelons of West Coast rap – counting E40 as a fan and mentor.
His distinctive voice, buoyant, classically-Cali production and undeniable charisma came a to a head this year with Humble Beginnings, an EP he created with producer Cardo which was quietly uploaded to SoundCloud in October. The two months since have seen an already rising MC rocket up through the hip-hop scene, in addition to his single with YoungBoy Never Broke Again – “Doin Bad” – becoming something of a minor hit.
We caught up with both OMB Peezy and Cardo to discuss bringing one of the year’s most top-notch SoundCloud projects to life, the true ‘humble beginnings’ behind the title and what’s next for one of the year’s essential discoveries.
Tell us a bit about the creation of Humble Beginnings. How did it all come together?
Peezy: “Me and Cardo linked up and he started sending me beats and I recorded a song on every single beat he’d sent while I was on the road. We went back and by process of elimination made the tape what it is.”
Cardo: “When I heard his music, I hit the big bro Stretch [Peezy’s manager] about it: ‘Where can I get music to this kid at?’ and Stretch connected us. He had the energy and mind for it. So we decided to just put this project together. We did it in a month. I was just constantly sending him beats to his phone because he was on the road the entire time. That was the easiest way. He was telling me he was using every beat. Within two or three days he was sending these records. It meshed perfectly. We haven’t even met each other yet. Just imagine us actually linking up in person and what we can possibly create. That’s what I’m excited about.
Of the six tracks on the EP, which proved to be the most difficult to bring to life? Why do you think that was the case?
P: “The song that was most difficult to write on the EP was “Block Up.” I’ve been rapping about killing n*ggas my whole life because that’s how I grew up, but now it’s getting harder and harder to write about those subjects while I’m living the life of an artist and traveling the world and going on tour. It’s becoming harder to write about the murder shit being removed from it, because I like to write about what I’m going through in the moment. But it’s still important for me to have songs like “Block Up,” because that’s still a part of me and how I came up, and people are only now getting familiar with my music. And because people love ‘murder murder murder’ music.”
What’s one of your favorite moments on this EP, lyrically or otherwise?
P: “‘Doin Bad,’ because that’s the story of my life in one song.”
Cardo, can you tell us a bit about what you were thinking about when creating the production? Did you feel the need to reflect Peezy’s dual Southern and Cali upbringing?
C: “It was me just being a fan of his music. He already had a voice that meshed the production I’ve been working on for the time being. He reminds you of a younger Boosie from the early to mid 2000s. You can hear the pain in his voice and his stories, and that’s what I like about him.”
Now that it’s out in the world, how are you guys feeling?
P: “I ain’t going to lie, my real fans are loving the project. But the rap world always moves slow, so people are only starting to get put on to my music and this project. I’m just waiting on people pick up on it.”
C: “It came out dope to us. I still think a lot of people are sleeping on him because he’s not all the way out there yet. Soon people are going to hear his story and relate to it. With him being from Mobile, Alabama and making it all the way out to Sacramento, people want to know about that journey. Being the kid that he is, so humble, people are going to love to see him flourish. There’s a lot more records that didn’t come out. In 2018 he’s definitely going to be on top of shit.”
How autobiographical is the title Humble Beginnings? Can you speak a bit about what growing up for you was like?
P: “When I say ‘humble beginnings,’ I’m speaking about how I want to move in the beginning stages of my career. Some people come in the game and feel like they’re popping. I want to be humble at all times because this is just the start of my journey. I’m paying respect to people before me, like Boosie or 40. I have a lot to learn. I ain’t going to lie, I didn’t have much of a good childhood. I was always moving around state to state; I didn’t really get to sit down and enjoy the normal shit. I was always the new kid at school. I’m happy that my own son doesn’t have to go through that struggle; he’s just enjoying life, and gets what he wants, spending time with his family when he wants to.”
How did you come up with your moniker ‘OMB Peezy’? What does it signify?
P: “OMB Peezy came from people not knowing how to say my real name, Paris, when I moved to California. I made it easier by going with Peezy. OMB stands for Only My Brothers, which me and my homies came up with and ran with.”
For more of our interviews, read our chat with Jesse Boykins III, Def Jam’s trippiest new signee.
- Imagery: Keith Welch