O.C. is a bona fide megastar in Golden Age-era hip-hop legend. As a member of the Diggin’ In the Crates collective in the 1990s that boasted MCs like Show & AG, Lord Finesse, Diamond D, Fat Joe, and the late Big L, Omar Credle’s first two albums, 1994’s Word…Life and 1997’s Jewelz, are classics in New York’s rap lineage. Most recently, O.C. linked up with Detroit producer Apollo Brown for a collaborative album, called Trophies. Wonderland got a chance to speak with O.C., and talk of the new album – released today on Mellow Music Group – sparked some reminiscing of the early years.
What do you think when you first heard Apollo Brown’s beats?
Nostalgia. It took me back to when me and Buckwild first met. I met Buck in the beginning through Lord Finesse. Me and Buck got cool on the tour with some of the dates he was on. I think Finesse, Show and Diamond was showing Buck how to work the 1200 at the time. He played me some joints and it just clicked. It happened again with Apollo. It just clicked.
What year was that around that you met Buckwild?
I was on tour with Organized [Konfusion]. This was around 92-93. That’s where it all began. Of course, I did the verse on the Organized Konfusion album and everything started from there, but me and Buck kept a bond after that tour. That’s how I was pulled into the crew a couple years later, when I got a deal.
Looking back at that period of time, how would you describe the collective’s core ethos?
Young, and basically not even worrying about… at the time when getting a deal was a big thing… it wasn’t about selling records. It was about being dope on the mic. It wasn’t about money, it was for the love.
Do you stay in touch with Prince Po, Pharoahe Monch, or any of the DITC members?
Yeah, of course. Pharoahe still lives in New York. Prince is on the west coast. I haven’t seen Prince since we did the Beastie Boys festival a few years ago. I see Pharoahe on the regular. I speak to Finesse every morning. I speak to Show and AG every other morning. Diamond I don’t speak to too much, but he’s down south. Buckwild I speak to. We actually all in the lab right now. We are seven deep into this new Diggin’ album.
That’s great to hear!
We aired our shit out, put our grievances aside. It wasn’t even grievances, it was minor dumb shit. We should have been working. At the end of the day, Show said some shit that was real important, like “L probably turning over in his grave right now looking at us like this. This is all y’all accomplished?” I’ve been dead for 15 years. I felt stupid, we all felt stupid. We got a legacy to preserve.
Looking back, how much do you think Big L would have accomplished if he were still alive today?
I always compare him to Hov. Big L found a pocket. If you listen to his old stuff Lifestyles of the Poor & Dangerous, up until the Flamboyant situation he started, he found his pocket. I always compare the situation to Jay-Z – I think he would have been in that situation. I don’t know if it would be that big. Him and Fat Joe, I always felt like they were the superstars out of the crew. There was never a doubt in my mind that they would be stars.
Apollo Brown & OC’s Trophies is out today.
Words: Kelly Frazer