Plan ahead

Ozie Ogbebor

Hip-hop artist Ozie Ogbebor’s future is so bright he has to wear shades.

Hip-hop artist Ozie Ogbebor’s future is so bright he has to wear shades.

Photo by AMY BECK

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Some people believe that life is nothing more than a series of surprises. Others claim that it’s the individual who determines his fate. Realistically, however, the sensible man will tell you that life is a balance of the two. Outbox recording artist Ozie Ogbebor seems to be resigned to this truth. We can plan our lives and strive to accomplish our dreams, but sometimes shit just happens.

On one hand, there’s a certain ambivalence, or resignation to circumstance, in the way Ogbebor, who is 19 years old, speaks about being signed to Outbox.

“Basically, I put out a song called ‘WhoAmI?,’ Tree Woods heard it, he gave Danny [Fiorentini] my number, and they put me on Outbox,” says Ogbebor.

But, on the other hand, you can consult the Northern Nevada native’s lyrics to easily find a refutation of this shit-happens Gumpian philosophy, as in his song, “Don’t Want to Come Down”: “Life is like box of chocolates like Mr. Gump would say, except I know exactly what I’m getting ’cause I paved the way.”

It’s no wonder these same themes weaved into his EP WhoAmI? as well as in his personal story, because they are essentially the same thing.

“I am writing about the things that I go through,” says Ogbebor. “Mostly, it’s storytelling.”

For someone who has achieved relative success at a relatively young age, he doesn’t seem affected by it in a negative way. He seems abundantly calm, and this calm works in tandem with a perceived sense of level-headedness. He talks passionately about his music, and about how his presence on Outbox’s website has not only exposed him to a wider audience, but also a better arsenal of beats to choose from.

The way he talks about where he sees his life going, he seems quite practical.

“I kind of just live based on logical situations,” he says. “It wouldn’t be logical to quit school so I can do music. It doesn’t make sense to my life. It’s a back-up plan.”

Like many young Renoites, he talks about moving to a bigger city, in his case New York, but it’s not for the reasons you might suspect.

“I want to eventually move to New York, not for music, but because they have a good pharmacy school.”

Currently he’s attending Truckee Meadows Community College, getting his pre-requisites out of the way, so he can eventually enroll in pharmacology school. For Ogbebor, pursuing his passion for MCing and furthering his education are one and the same, just the realities of taking on more responsibility as one ages. Whichever ends up being his career, it will be part of his plan.

“Either one I’ll be happy with,” he says.

For Ogbebor, it doesn’t matter where he goes, as long as he’s progressing, moving forward, which is where he sees a problem with a lot of older local MCs.

“A lot of MCs, they still rap about the shit they would have when they were 17,” he says. “That doesn’t give the youth of Reno anything to look up to.”

His plans don’t necessarily involve MCing forever. After a certain age, if he hasn’t achieved what he wanted, he plans to direct his energy to helping younger talent develop their skills. He sees no point in trying to hold onto something from his past, nor worrying about an uncertain future. If you live the present the way you should, the future will take care of itself.

Just like he raps in his song “Past, Present, Future”: “I’m moving forward in my present, ’cause in the future I’m ahead.”