Whenever people talk about slept-on emcees, the name OC is always mentioned. Omar Credle's history of under-promoted albums and sample clearance issues is familiar to anyone who knows their hip-hop history. In 1994 his classic debut album Word… Life knocked the wind out of people's chests and put the Bushwick, Brooklyn emcee on the map.
But somehow after 13 years, 5 albums, and a dozen movie soundtrack inclusions, OC has remained largely unnoticed by the masses but loved loved by his peers.
OC first got into music as a kid when he learned how to hijack power for his Technics turntable from street lamp posts. As he watched his neighborhood come to life as he spun records, OC knew music would always be a part of his life. By high school he was writing rhymes and made his recording debut with neighbour Pharaoh Monch on Organized Konfusion’s 1991 classic "Fudge Pudge". This initial success led to him being signed by MC Serch’s (3rd Bass) production company and he hit the road on the first Source Tour in 1991 along with Biz Markie, Lord Finesse, Shante, and Buckwild.
While on tour, OC and Buckwild quickly became friends and began working on concepts for an album that was to be his first taste of commercial and critical success: 1994's timeless Word…Life. With virtually no promotion, the album sold well and created a buzz on the streets. Word of the album made it's way to Puff Daddy who approached OC with an offer to remix the album. OC declined Puffy's bid on artistic grounds and instead opted to join one of hip-hop's most beloved and respected crews, Diggin' In The Crates (D.I.T.C.).
In 1997 OC dropped his sophomore album, Jewelz, which featured high-profile appearances from Organized Konfusion, Freddie Foxxx, and DJ Premier. Similar to his debut album, this record was a critical success but was under promoted and didn't do well commercially. The next few years saw a flurry of activity, including songs on the first Lyricist Lounge compilation, the soundtrack for "A Low Down Dirt Shame", and the single "Bonafied" featuring Jay Z. 1999 saw the release of Diggin In The Crates self titled album and the death of his good friend Big L.
OC released his third album Bon Appetite in 2001 featuring production and guest appearances from his DITC co-harts; Show and A.G, Lord Finesse & Buckwild. It was a testament to OC's history, touring, and reputation as a true lyricist that the album sold well despite not having a video or any promotions.
With his good friend gone and his under promoted album languishing, OC found himself at a crossroads. He wasn't enjoying making records anymore so he took a break for a few years.
In early 2005, OC returned with Starchild and ended the year with Smoke and Mirrors. Starchild, one of the most bootlegged albums of the year. Only available in Japan, the 5000 official copies flew off the shelves in a matter of weeks. Word of the limited edition album spread worldwide and fans everywhere downloaded the album. "I was in Europe performing in front of 600-800 people every night and I was trippin' because everyone there was singing the lyrics right along with me", says OC. Smoke and Mirrors was the first East Coast project for venerable Oakland-based indie hip-hop label Hieroglyphics Imperium.
Smoke & Mirrors was O.C.'s reflection on life and the entertainment industry. Behind all the glitz and hype lies the reality of the business; superficiality, empty promises, boot licking, and soul selling. O.C. called upon his experience as an underground emcee to craft a concept album that explored those paradoxes. In Smoke & Mirrors he explored how contradictions are a part of life and how nothing can be taken at face value.
These are good days for O.C. It's been a bumpy road from his days spinning records at park jams in Bushwick to his current position in the industry. Despite his tribulations along the way, OC has always maintained his integrity and never looked back. He is a testament of perseverance in the fickle entertainment industry.
Stay Tuned for OC’s 6th Studio album entitled “My Soul 2 Keep”.