What's good O.B.A.$, for those new to the name, what's the story behind it?
Peace! Grinding my man, thanks. O.B.A.$. is an acronym for Only Brothas And Sistas. I fell in love with idea of acronym with words back when I heard the Late Great Tupac Album, "Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. in which Pac broke it down to (Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished). I thought that was really dope to take a word and break it down to a positive thing and make that your moniker.
When did you know you wanted to have a music career?
I always loved music, my father had a collection of over 70 vinyl records in our house when we were young and it was music from Haiti, the islands, and Jazz musicians from around the world. Subconsciously It became a part of my being. Later on around after a few bumps and bruises in life, music would be my escape. Back in 2004, I decided to really pursue a career in it and chase it down.
Who are some of the people that inspired you musically and why?
Bob Marley, for being able to unite a world which was so different from his reality and making people open up a positive emotion in them every time you hear his songs. On the hip hop side, definitely, The Late Greats- Tupac and Notorious BIG. They forever changed the landscape of what a pure hip hop mc is to embody, in their short period of time with us, and I am forever there student.
Being of Haitian descent, how does that influence your overall sound? How important is it to you to show your roots musically?
Being Haitian, really is the foundation of my cloth. I was born in Orlando, Florida and spent summer and short little stays in Haiti. The harsh reality of how different life here is compared to there is astonishing. I have the experiences with the best and worst of both worlds, and do my best to draw an illustration and comparison of that contrast. And hopefully it allows for great music content. I believe for any artist it is important to live your truth and allow your listeners to hear that in your music. Mines just happens to be a poor kid from the slums of Haiti and US who is trying to figure this thing called life out while expressing the journey with Hip Hop.
At one point you were heavy on the battle rap scene, how has that experience helped you as you continue to grow in the game?
Battling is one of the elements of Hip Hop, and any mc can't really call themselves that until they have stepped into that ring. It was a key component in my state at that time in my life. I was new on the music scene, the local dj's and promoters along with other artist did not know who I was, so I chose to step in that world to make my bones, and it worked great. I haven't battled in a few years, but appreciate the wittiness and staying on point it gave me. Now, when I write a song, I keep that same competitive edge and try to body the record.
You have released a series of mixtapes in the past called 'Eyez On The Prize' Volumes 1.2 and 3, how did you feel the response was and what differentiated the volumes?
The response was helpful more than anything. On one hand it was great to know I had the support of my home-town, and state. As they listened to each new cd, I would gain more followers, and dj's would play different songs, it allowed me to really get a feel of my growth and what worked. On the other hand it reminded me of how local my buzz really was. Therefore I appreciate the opportunities, and new fans that came with it and the eye opener of really having to step my game up and branch out nationally if I really wanted to make this my career.
What's your most current project and what are you doing to stand out in todays saturated rap market?
First week of March, I am planning to release my new EP, titled, "Teflon Dreams". Eight original tracks produced by some great up and coming producers I found online through heavy research. I have officially registered with Tune Core and partnered up with ASCAP and Sound Exchange, to have a more professional layout this go around beside being on datpiff, my mixtapez and spinrilla. I have submitted quite a few songs via music xray, and other publishing companies for different license opportunities to start receiving royalties. I am attending more great music seminars such as I- Standard, festivals like SXSW, attending a various amount of industry related functions to really start building relationships with people in different areas of the business that can really help me further my cause in this game. As far as my music, I take time crafting and putting together some of the most well written songs coming from an unsigned/undiscovered artist today. Great story lines, vivid words that jump out the speakers and lend in your emotional and brain waves that just elevate the listener to a place where they say, "Hold Up" Damn! "Wait, Wait, did you hear what he just said?" Man, this kid is something else" OBA$ huh? I like this guy" let me go to iamobas.com and see what else he has"! Add prayer and putting one foot forward every day, penetrating this saturated market is only one fan at a time.
What's next for O.B.A.$?
Its all about Teflon Dreams 1, 2 & 3. I will be coming back to back, with this new series. I hear the word "Teflon" and automatically think of impenetrable, and add Dreams to that, and basically my vision is in bulletproof mode. I plan on being here a very very long time outworking the successful and the one's seeking it like me.
Where can we find you online?
Sak Pase to all my Haitians Worldwide, all those who have supported OBA$ and the whole C'est La Vie Movement for all these years. Sak Pase to my man J Hatch aka Mr. Mogul Status himself. Last but not least, Welcome to all the new people that will become fans once they hear my music, and get an understanding of who I am through this interview. Deeply appreciative of you taking the time out to chop it up with me. OBA$ is the name, C'est La Vie is the way of life on the roller coaster of Hip Hop is where I spend my nights. Peace 2 All!