09 Nov Real Talk with 3ohBlack
“Tell the truth. When people find out that your music is lies, your career is over. Not everybody has to be a tough gangster rapper.”
words: Sylvie Barnett
In 2019, former Washington D.C. based rapper 3ohBlack rose to stardom with the hit “All Talk.” With a seemingly effortless flow and punchy lyrics, the single and controversial music video put the prodigious rapper on the map. As a result, 3ohBlack officially joined the ranks of an elite group of influential hip-hop artists to come out of the DMV (DC, Maryland, and Virginia) area over the last few years, including Grammy-nominated Goldlink and genre-bending Rico Nasty.
Rolling Stone deemed 3oh’s “All Talk” music video “high art.” While the bars amount to nothing more than “tough talk,” the visuals change things a bit. The theme for the music video is that 3ohBlack’s enemies are nothing more than “all talk” and no action. The music video from the spontaneous, authentic rapper conceptualizes this idea, utilizing a depiction of a bank robbery.
Diving deeper and probing beyond “All Talk,” we come to learn more about 3ohBlack, his lifestyle and lyrical choices. Herein we discover that his life and artistry is largely influenced by cannabis and cannabis culture, apparent through his many cannabis references in his music. The popular rapper will release his highly-anticipated full-length album on Friday, November 13th. In support of this release, we recently had a chance to catch up with 3ohBlack about “All Talk,” cannabis culture and influences, thoughts on 2020, going inside his songwriting process, and more.
Herb An’ Music: How did you get into rapping?
3ohBlack: I was in a GoGo band. A couple of my friends and cousin were rapping. A lot of the GoGo clubs were getting shut down. So I was like why not try this rap thing. And I wasn’t good at all. The way I’m set up with things is if I’m not good at it, I gotta keep trying. Once I set my mind to something it’s over with.
Herb An’ Music: Why did you choose the artist name 3ohBlack?
3ohBlack: My neighborhood nickname is Big 3oh because I’m from 30th Street. When I first started rapping my artist name was Big 3ohBlack but I’m not even big, so I was like why not just go with 3ohBlack.
Herb An’ Music: To what do you attribute the tremendous success of “All Talk”?
3ohBlack: “All Talk” definitely did what it was supposed to and what all my music is supposed to. At the level I was at in DC for so long, “All Talk” definitely did what it was supposed to.
Herb An’ Music: What’s it like to be an artist rising out of the DMV region?
3ohBlack: It was fun being part of a group of artists that popped off around the same time. We were all coming up together. Rico Nasty popped off a year before me. And so many other artists. Black Fortune just signed a deal. Basically all the artists who are coming up are doing it together. We all get to kick the door down at the same time.
Herb An’ Music: How does cannabis influence your life?
3ohBlack: When I first started rapping it helped me out a lot. I’d have so much going on in my brain and it’d help me block out all of my negative thoughts.
Herb An’ Music: What do you see as the role of cannabis in hip-hop culture?
3ohBlack: Snoop Dogg made it cool for other people to try it. Redman, Method Man. When I was little and I saw them, it made me want to smoke some. Different artists do different things but cannabis played a big role in their careers.
Herb An’ Music: Has cannabis played a role in your career/What’s your stance on cannabis?
3ohBlack: I need cannabis to focus. I see a lot of people looking at cannabis like it’s a negative thing but it helps so so many people relax for real.
I feel like if you haven’t smoked you need to.
Herb An’ Music: In your opinion, how is cannabis affecting today’s society?
3ohBlack: I really think it’s helping people. Cannabis is always good vibes versus liquor.
Herb An’ Music: Any positive takeaways from 2020?
3ohBlack: 2020 made me get to know myself better. I got to make more music. It really brought out the creative side in me. All I’ve been doing is making music during the entire pandemic.
The whole pandemic has brought a lot of bad but it’s also brought a lot of good. My music was starting to pop off. I really didn’t get to experience life like the way I thought it was going to be this year. I couldn’t promote a song or perform it the way I wanted to. I’m going to keep dropping bangers for people.
Herb An’ Music: What is the difference between West Coast and East Coast cannabis culture?
3ohBlack: I feel like the whole world is smoking now but the west coast definitely kicked it off. They have the best cannabis out there.
Herb An’ Music: What is your songwriting process?
3ohBlack: I will write one line. Something will go off in my head. It can even be one word. When I go into the studio I will come up with a whole song. I don’t just write. I can’t write a whole song until I hear a beat.
Herb An’ Music: Do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline you’d like to share with our readers?
3ohBlack: I’m dropping a new album on November 13th. I have like six songs on there that I recorded in a real studio. When I record in a real studio, I smoke. There must have been clouds of dust in there. I was probably high half of the album.
Herb An’ Music: Any advice for any young rappers starting out?
3ohBlack: Tell the truth. When people find out that your music is lies, your career is over. Not everybody has to be a tough gangster rapper.