Old-school alum O.C. has long been a hip-hop staple, if not one of the most ill-promoted emcees in history. Originally signed by MC Serch in 1991, O.C. had a string of hits, and at least one classic album in 1994s Word...Life. He hit near-immortal status through his affiliation with the Bronx-based Diggin in the Crates crew. But these days, the rapper (aka Omar Credle) isnt afraid to try his hand at some West Coast ingenuity.
This record finds the rap vet freshly signed to Californias Hiero Imperium, the homegrown label launched by the Hieroglyphics, and his sound is admittedly different. Smoke & Mirrors is, essentially, a concept album that chronicles the emcees 15 years inside the music biz. Whats impressive is that he takes an ice-cold look at hypocrisy and contradictions within hip hop, often pointing the finger at himself. Songs like Shorty call out rappers with a proclivity for underage girls, and You Made Me pulls the skirt up on a bevy of rap imposters. And its clear that O.C. has little patience for those who crow on wax about their drug deals (They got a special task force that listens to this rap shit, you idiots).
These days, O.C. is a decade older than his aggressive verses that blew away fans on Word...Life, but 2005 finds the ripened O.C. notably subdued, maybe even formulaic. But its lazy to assume that O.C. has lost his ability to spit searing lines; after a few listens, its apparent that Mr. Credle has finally figured out a way to cookie-cut the shit and keep it real.
Jonathan Cunningham writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.