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Artist profile

Omar Credle a.k.a. O.C.

Born: May 13, 1971 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.

Years active: 1991 - present

“Non-conceptual, non-exceptional, everybody's either crime-related or sexual ”

Omar was born in Brooklyn, May 13, 1971, and raised in the Bushwick section. O.C. cites legends like Kool G. Rap, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and Slick Rick as his main influences. In 1991, he made his recording debut on Organized Konfusion‘s “Fudge Pudge”. One year later he made an appearance on the remix of MC Serch‘s “Back to the Grill” (which also features a very young Nasty Nas) after meeting Serch on the inaugural Source tour. Following the tour, O.C. signed with Wild Pitch Records in 1994 where Serch was vice president. O.C. also met Lord Finesse and Buckwild on the first Source tour, marking his introduction to the D.I.T.C crew. After the tour he connected with Buckwild and started recording a demo that would become his debut album Word…Life.


By 1994, he finished the album Word…Life, which included everything from his demo, along with “Time’s Up,” the song that would go on to be his most notable single. “Time’s up” was initially a record for Pharoahe Monch from Organized Konfusion. Beyond a quick outro from Prince Po, Word…Life does not have any guest appearances. This was not by design, however, as Nas was supposed to be on the album but never showed up to the studio for the recording session. The album was critically acclaimed and remains beloved in Hip Hop circles.

In 1996, Credle appeared on the Red Hot Organization’s compilation CD, America is Dying Slowly, alongside Biz Markie, Wu-Tang Clan, and Fat Joe, among many other prominent Hip Hop artists. The CD, meant to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic among African American men, was heralded as “a masterpiece” by The Source magazine.

In 1997, O.C. signed to Pay Day Records, where he released his second album Jewelz, featuring collaborations with DJ Premier, Da Beatminerz and Freddie Foxxx. The single “Far From Yours” peaked at #81 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it his highest charting single to date. By this time, he was a part of the underground Hip Hop act known as Diggin’ in The Crates together with Lord Finesse, Showbiz & A.G., Diamond D, Buckwild and Big L. In 2000 the crew released their self-titled debut album through Tommy Boy Records on which O.C. featured on the majority of the songs. In 1998, O.C. was featured on Pete Rock’s “Respect Mine” from Pete Rock’s 1998 solo debut album Soul Survivor.

The 2001 release of Bon Appetit was met with very mixed reviews; the negative accused O.C. of selling out with a polished, shining and toned-down sound. This was although Buckwild produced the large bulk of the album with the only help coming from Lord Finesse and Ahmed (pretty much the same formula that made Word…Life a success). After the disappointing release O.C. disappeared from the scene until 2005, when he released his fourth album with Grit Records; Starchild which only dropped as a very limited Japanese/European import and was met with great acclaim. Later that year, he signed with Hieroglyphics Imperium Recordings and teamed up with Bronx-native producer Mike Loe, and dropped Smoke and Mirrors.

O.C. is also known for his feature on the Clockers soundtrack as part of the Crooklyn Dodgers, which also featured rappers Chubb Rock and Jeru the Damaja on the now classic DJ Premier produced “Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers”. This is however the only time the group has ever collaborated.

O.C. collaborated with fellow D.I.T.C. member A.G. for an album entitled Oasis. The bulk of the album was produced by French beatsmith E-Blaze with additional tracks supplied by Lord Finesse, Statik Selektah and Showbiz who also acts as the executive producer of the album. May 2012 saw the release of a new collaborative album with Detroit-based producer Apollo Brown entitled Trophies on the Mello Music Group label. The first single was “Prove Me Wrong”.

With Apollo Brown on deck, Trophies probably introduced OC to younger, blog-friendly fans as much as it brought his older supporters out to CD stores (the vinyl version of that album has also been repressed several times over). With Ray West in 2014, a producer with a little less buzz than Apollo had two years ago, OC has curated a more laid back and purposefully smooth affair. Besides flowing freely from track-to-track with the help of atmospheric interludes, Ray’s Cafe is noticeably and gratifyingly short at nine tracks long as well.

Released on Red Apples 45, a small label co-founded by West and OC’s DITC sibling AG, Ray’s Cafe is conceptual in approach more than in practice. While the cover-art and some of the subject-matter place the listener squarely in a hazy Jazz cafe from the 1970s, most songs aren’t tethered to the idea too closely.


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