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Music

2.14.2020

Your Weekend Playlist, Courtesy of Cam O'bi

2020 has had an interesting start, to say the least; through all the ups and downs one thing we can all take away is to spread more love. With that being said, and without further ado,  meet Cameron Osteen, the Las Vegas native, artist, and producer better known by the moniker, Cam O’ Bi. Osteen’s musical career started out in production where he’s worked with some of the most influential artists in music (Chance the Rapper, SZA, No Name, Smino and many more.) As he transitions into becoming an artist himself, Milk sat down with him to discuss his life, his instant love for beat-making, and his passion for curating playlists. 

Tune into Cam O’bi’s Valentine’s Day Playlist: 

Cam, where did this journey all start out for you?

I started poking around making beats when I was 11-years-old and I just instantly fell in love with it. Around that time I started to read this autobiography on Quincy Jones and I remember vividly doing a school project shortly after where they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said I wanted to be a producer. Reading that book made me realize that I can actually do this for a living, and that was it.

How would you rate yourself as a producer when you first started?

I thought I was insane. I remember posting my stuff online for the first time when I was 13 on this forum called featureproducers.com. A lot of big-name people came off of that platform, people that I actually know still to this day, such as Hit Boi, Campbell, Bangladesh, and Ryan Leslie. It was my first time showing my beats to anybody besides my family and friends and I was mad cocky. I uploaded this video I made while at Guitar Center and the people on this forum ripped me apart. Everyone told me I was terrible; it hurt my feelings to the point where I quit. 

I went back to school the next day and while in class I was having a conversation in my own subconscious telling myself that if I need to believe in myself first before anybody can believe in me. And then after that, I went home and was back at it again. So I quit for just that one day, went to sleep, and the next morning was back at it a new sense of purpose.

Who were some other influences earlier in your music career?

J Dilla. I remember watching his documentary many years ago and I really related to it at the time, but I realize now how much I have grown since then. He was an individual who preferred not to be in the spotlight. All he cared about was the music and being in the background and I related to that very much. Until I got to a certain point where I realized Dilla came up at a time where he was surrounded by great talent, which is not a stab at current artists, but it feels like currently, people are doing music for the sake of making music. At the time Dilla was coming up he was surrounded by Busta Rhymes, Big Daddy Kane, P Rock etc. So, he didn’t have to be an artist. Because there were so many artists around him that were so great that all he had to do was make beats. And that’s what I wanted to do too.  If you want to have a career, you had to really be good at it. You really had to care and love it. But nowadays, I find myself looking around and I’m not as inspired by my peers as I am by the music of the past. And that’s part of the reason that I ended up becoming an artist, I felt like it was out of necessity.

How has the transition been into making your own music?

I put out a song called Tenderheaded in 2018, before that I never had written a rap. Around the time, I was working with Smino on some of his stuff. I showed him that song and he loved it. Although I was timid at the time, his validation gave me confidence in making my own music. I started to become an artist because I felt like it was the only way that I can get my sound out the way I wanted to and I feel like it’s ironic. Working with so many people over the course of ten years, I tried to push people out of their comfort zone. Meanwhile, I realized I should be putting out this music for me. Before I die, I need to bring pop music into a new place. So I’m trying to use myself as the first guinea pig.

Segwaying into your playlist, I fell in love with it immediately. Can you describe how you made your selections? And if there are any particular songs within that playlist that kind of stand out for you, or are they just your daily lessons at this point?

Side Note: making playlists is one of my passions. You know, it’s a lot like making an album to me, but just with songs that are already completed. You get to make the whole experience. That’s why DJing was such a big thing for me because you take people on a ride.

Going back to your question, “Suzie Thundertussy” by Junie Morrison. I’m in love with that song, it just makes me feel so powerful. “Never Feel The Same Again” is another one; that song was so tight. Even before I was really heavy into beat-making I still loved that song because of the feeling of it. Also, Ghostface (Killa) is one of my favorite rappers too. And as I got older, I remember revisiting the song as I began making music.  I realized the beat is actually dope because it is very similar to the style of my own music. 

The song in itself is Ghostface and Raekwon talking about being heartbroken but in a very vulnerable way. Ghostface is talking about being cheated on and eludes to somebody else potentially being better than him for his wife. Most rappers are not willing to be that vulnerable and that is what drew me to that song.

I was thinking twice about putting that on this playlist but not everybody’s in love on Valentine’s Day. Some people are experiencing heartbreak so this playlist is about both ends of the spectrum.

Talk to me about your music and what we can expect from you this year?

I have two songs out at the moment, “Tenderheads” and “Grammy’s Babies.” When I was a kid making music, I had that mentality where I need to be really good at my shit before I released anything. So the rollout is deliberate and now I have an actual campaign. Once I start putting out music, I don’t want to stop. So when the time comes, I will have new music coming out every month. 

Images Courtesy of Lamont Roberson II

Stay tuned to Milk for more Weekend Playlists.

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