OC from NC: «I am an artist first, the recognition that came along was a bonus»
We interviewed OC from NC, a rapper from North Carolina, who told us about his opinion on how it is to live in this area of the United States, about his background, his musical journey,the Little Brother, his personal top 3 from North Carolina and much more…
Hi OC, we are grateful for your willingness to answer some questions for our magazine, as we really loved your last album “The Black Phillip Tape”. Your name may not be known to many people yet, but project after project you are making your name spin in the underground Hip-Hop scene: being from Burlington, North Carolina, can you better describe the local Rap scene in your state? How difficult do you think it is to emerge from it? Do you think there is a solid underground scene out there or to emerge with music like yours is more difficult than elsewhere?
OC FROM NC: “Thanks for reaching out. Glad you guys dig the music man. Much respect. Burlington is pretty small, so it’s tuff to make it from there doing pretty much anything. The radio in North Carolina, surprisingly, plays little to no NC artists. I would describe the radio as more of an Atlanta sound.
There is definitely still an underground scene here somehow, but we just have to put in a little more work to push through”.
And what was it like growing up in your city? How would you describe North Carolina and Burligton to those who live thousands of miles away?
OC FROM NC: “It can be tough like most places. We have our good and bad sides but being from here I can honestly say it’s a dope place to be.
So many creatives here just waiting to be found in a very small market. Everybody here has a hustle.”
From your voice and what you rhyme about it is clear that you’re definitely not a kid, but a grown man with some life experiences in your baggage: Have you been making music for a long time? What has been your path in the Rap music scene up to now? And where does your name OC From NC come from?
OC FROM NC: “I am definitely on the OG side of the fence. lol. I have been writing since I was a teenager and recording about the same. But it was very much local or for the homies I would say nothing we were trying to put out there.
I am an artist first I would say: I just enjoy making dope music. The recognition that came along was a bonus, but I think I’d be making this shit regardless. It’s just kinda my thing. OC comes from my first name, Octavius. It’s “from NC’ because I want the state on my back when I leave home. Wherever I go I want it known. The best writer alive is from North Carolina. I stand on that”.
Can you tell us something more also about your life background, which of you usually give some flashes of in your songs?
OC FROM NC : “It’s interesting. My father was murdered when I was 3 years old. Single parent home. MOM was super dope. Probably my best friend. lol.
We moved to Burlington when I was fairly young for a new start. Found a home. I found hip hop here, the streets, weed(lol), love, and real knowledge of self in this little place. That’s why I rep it so hard!
Your last album “The Black Phillip Tape” is fire from start to finish. How and when did you put it together? What is the concept behind the title you choose and the album? Who made the beats and what about the cover artwork?
OC FROM NC – “Thank you. I started working on this album directly after my last project “Dope Sell Itself”. It took me less than a year to complete it. Myself and B squared (producer of the full project) started crafting the idea at Livewire Studios in Greensboro NC.
We came home about 4 songs in and knew where we wanted to go with it. It had a certain vibe already. The first song recorded ended up being the title track, Black Phillip. We finished it in his at home studio in the next couple months. It came together pretty easy. The Black Phillip persona I created just came from anger of being inside the house honestly. Maybe even depression. lol. Either way I could feel it manifesting in the writing and knew exactly what to call it. The goat: Black Phillip”.
For those like us who may have recently discovered you, in your opinion which are your most important works to date from where to start listening to your music? And why?
OC FROM NC: “In 2014 I dropped a mixtape by the name Twenty14. That’s technically the starting point. From there it’s Higher Learning, The Second Renaissance, It’s Not You it’s Me, Crown Royal, and Dope Sell itself. All full albums. Basically what i’m saying is, all the music is dope. There is no wrong starting point. That’s just the order. Thanks in advance for listening!”
What are the things in life that you draw the most inspiration from when making music? And are there any artists or albums (Hip-Hop or Not) that have particularly inspired you over the years?
OC FROM NC: “I would say my family and my environment. My children most of all but I draw inspiration from my everyday life honestly. Typically if you heard me say it, it happened. I think that’s just the way it should be. lol! I would say Nas’ “Illmatic, Biggie “Ready to Die”, Wu Tang “Enter the 36”, Blackstar, just to name a few”.
When we think of North Carolina, we immediately think of the legendary group of Little Brother: from what we heard, in a certain sense, we can feel their influence among the smooth jazz and soul flavoured beats you often pick. Is it just our impression? Have you ever had a chance to link up with any of them or let them hear your music?
OC FROM NC – “Definitely. I would say they are part of the reason for the sound on the underground scene here. Very influential. We have all met. We are all cool. North Carolina is small and the hip hop scene is smaller. We pass each other regularly. They know who I am and they dig the movement”.
But what’s your all-time top 3 of emcees from North Carolina? And today who are the strongest names in the state scene, in your opinion?
OC FROM NC – “Top 3 from NC is tough. Phonte, J Gunn, J Cole, maybe? Ask me tomorrow and that could be different. Honorable mention to Median”.
Are you already working on the next step of your career? Can you tease us with something?
OC FROM NC: “New album with DJ FLASH. January 2022!!!! THE GODS TALK!!!”
Peace to OCfromNC! This Brother is the truth! Reppin’ us lovely! I’m sure we’ll work in the future.
Let’s be clear: OCfromNC is the hottest thing in NC right now, no question! Hw hels it down through the whole pandemic so far!
Peace to him and D.R.U.G.S. Beats (the hottest producer in Carolina right now!).SALUTE!!!
I’m up next!
Peace & Respect!
Vern Large The Beat Merchant