For OMB Peezy, relocating to the West Coast was bittersweet. Downtime in Sacramento and the general malaise of homesickness drove him to dream big, but at the cost of his peace of mind. “Niggas be tryna salt me down because I seen mo’ and my eyes bigger,” the Mobile, Alabama rapper shares with Dirty Glove Bastard on his transition. Peezy was emboldened by the discovery that there’s more to life than struggle, making it a point to stay motivated despite being shunned by his hometown. Still, his love for Alabama (and the Orange Grove projects) runs deep.
With MisGuided, OMB Peezy’s new Gangsta Grillz mixtape, Ms. Lois’ grandson is unafraid of being vulnerable. The 16-track project serves as a follow-up to 2021’s Too Deep For Fears and is the perfect bookend to his era of being lead astray. His approach to storytelling paints a vivid picture of the adversity he faced within the nuanced journey of self-growth. Whether he’s coping with loneliness or reliving the moments of a troubled past, Peezy’s trek down memory lane reveals a coming-of-age story that’s for his own healing and catharsis.
“I’m putting my pain into words for people who really relate to a nigga,” Peezy shares. “And if you don’t relate to it, you gon’ feel how vulnerable I am and that shit gon’ draw you in.”
As he works through his pain and finds release, Peezy pivots from questioning the past to learning from it. In recent years, he’s become more accepting of his mission – a challenge: unlearning what it means to be a hard-nosed rapper from the South and getting back to the roots of life as LeParis, a misguided youth.
What’s your earliest memory of the struggle?
[Laughs] Staying wit my grandmama. I had three grandmamas. One of ‘em, the one on my mama side, her name Daisy. She pulled up to the club and gave my mama to my grandma Lois – who you always hear me rappin’ ’bout. My mama grew up wit my grandma Lois so I call all of ‘em my grandmama. But house to house, roaches, one of my grandma’s houses was a trap: had crackheads asking me for fifty-cent… you know, shit like that. I’m a lil’ kid, I wanna go buy me some candy. You tryna take my money and go buy some crack. That’s the earliest (memory) of the struggle. And being a young nigga, I’m like eight or nine in front of stores asking for change and shit. But back then, I ain’t look at it like it nothin’ bad until I started seeing more in life.
You ended up moving out West for some time, right?
Yeah. My mama had kidnapped us from my daddy and took us out West.
Were there any advantages to relocating or were you upset about having to pick up and leave for a new home?
It helped me. I was getting in trouble, doing young nigga shit – going to jail, in and out of juvenile hall. For the most part, that shit helped me ‘cause it opened my eyes to see how big the world is. That shit let me know it’s a lot of shit I could be doing. And it really helped me on some shit like I gotta help my people see what I’m seeing. I gotta have my people witness this shit. (Relocating) just gave me that extra motivation that a lot of people from my city ain’t have. It be a lot of people from my city talking me down, talmbout, “He ain’t really from the city.” “He moved out..” – Aye look, everything I learned ‘bout life, the basics, I learned in Mobile, so how can a nigga cheat me ‘bout that. I look at it like this, I was homesick for nine years. Homesick, like I wanna go home, at 12,13. Out of every rapper in the city, I done gave way more money back to the city. You can’t disown me. I’m from Orange Grove projects forreal. Niggas be tryna salt me down because I seen mo’ and my eyes bigger.
What’s the hardest part about being you?
Tryna explain to people who I am through my music. Sometimes I might come off a lil’ aggressive – I might say “bitch” or “hoe” and shit like that. A mufucka might not understand that that shit come from a soft part of my heart. I’m not calling you a hoe or bitch to fuck you up or nothing like that. I love you, bitch you fine as fuck to me, hoe. The hardest part about being me is getting people to understand my mental state. I’ve been misguided. All my life, I’ve been hearing niggas wit they girl like, “This my lil’ hoe” type shit. Some people not understanding our lingo in the city, so they a fuck a nigga up, man. Be like, “He ain’t supposed to be talkin’ ‘bout women like that” but they not knowing I’m the type of nigga that love women. I love being around women, so once they started saying that shit, that shit kind of hurt my feelings forreal, forreal.
Personally, I would describe MisGuided as a cry for help. Is it hard reliving those painful memories that made you into the person you are today?
It be hard sometimes but this how I look at it – I’m sacrificing myself by going through this shit and being vulnerable to help somebody get through it or get over it, or prevent themselves from going through it. I’m putting my pain into words for people who really relate to a nigga. And if you don’t relate to it, you gon’ feel how vulnerable I am and that shit gon’ draw you in.
That’s a heavy cross to bear.
God put his toughest battles on his strongest soldiers.
Soldiers need someone to confide in, too.
I’m confining in (the fans). I talk about my life and they listen. When a mufucka come to me and say, “Peezy, I fuck wit yo shit,” that shit therapeutic to me. It’s like I just talked to a therapist – a million therapists.
Has there been a DM or fan interaction that made you realize how much of an influence you are?
I got a dude that DM me everyday and tell me I’m the best rapper alive. Everyday, at the same time every morning. That shit make a nigga feel good: “You the best rapper alive, bro. Keep going.”
When you’re an artist… when you put out your art, you never know how people gon’ receive it. You can be painting a picture and that mufucka look beautiful to you, but soon as you flip the canvas around, people think it’s ugly. When you’re an artist, you never know how people gon’ take (your art) so that shit just always feel good.
How is the (‘Big Lyfe’) tour coming along for you?
It’s going good, man. If it was up to me, I’d never stop touring.
What’s keeping you on the road? I love my bed too much [laughs].
I like the culture part of (touring). Every city got they own culture, they own way of doing shit. I’m in Albuquerque, New Mexico right now – all these bitches telling me I need to go get some tacos and shit. You know, shit like that.
I know this isn’t your first time traveling across the country and performing out of different venues, but has anything changed for you this time around?
My stage presence and shit. I learned a lot about being on stage, how to interact with fans while I perform.
Do you jump into crowds, or what exactly goes into an OMB Peezy performance?
This the thing about performing, you give the energy and (the fans) give that energy back to you. However much energy we giving each other, that’s how that shit finna go. If I come out this mufucka wit a lot of energy and they give it back, that shit gon’ turn me up mo’ – I might be in the middle of the crowd wit my shirt off.
How do you know which songs to perform? Your catalog runs deep.
Now, I’m on tour wit Kevin Gates, so I’ll pick storytelling songs or something where I’m talking about my life. Heartfelt shit, something that’s gon’ touch a mufucka soul. When I go on my tour, I’ma perform some of my biggest songs and (music) off my tapes… the songs that don’t got videos and shit. When I’m touring with another artist, (my setlist) depend on what kind of music they make.
That said, MisGuided is meant to be played out loud. This project is arguably your most narrative-driven body of work to date.
Exactly. I ain’t gon’ lie, I be feeling like God be putting shit together like that. I couldn’t even tell ya how this shit came together. That’s another guarantee for me that I’m made for this shit. (MisGuided) one of my best projects because I painted a picture that I really wanted to paint. I been tryna paint this picture since I figured out that I was being misguided, feel me. This the most well put together tape I done did.
Talk to me about your creative process. Did you come into this release with a specific sound in mind?
I ain’t have no sound in mind. The beat really just be talking to a nigga. The beat make the song. (The beat) give me the melody, all I gotta do is find the words to go to it. The words just be coming to a nigga. All I gotta do is think about what a nigga been going through the last few months.
Was it hard trying to align your feelings with DJ Drama’s creative direction?
When I sent the songs over to him, he was like, “Bruh, you rappin’ ‘bout all the shit I’m going through right now,” so it all just tied in together. That’s why it feel organic like that ‘cause bruh was really going through that shit so he had something to talk about. I feel like bruh understand me as an artist.
Do you care to be understood with your art?
Yeah, I do. But I feel like the people who understand it, it’s for them. If you don’t understand it, it’s just not for you. Ion really beat myself up ‘bout being misunderstood. When I used to be rapping at school and people would be like, “Ooh, you hard,” that shit made a nigga wanna go back home and write another one. I feed off the positive comments and feedback.
Would LeParis be proud of the person that OMB Peezy has become? Despite being dealt a bad hand in life, you made the best out of your situation.
Hell yeah. This all (LeParis) wanted. He didn’t want nothin’ else but to be performing in front of mufuckas, sharing my story. This all I wanted to do in life, bruh. I know for a fact that if I could travel back in time and tell my old self, “You doing this shit,” I’d probably start crying [laughs].