|Obie TriceA combination of drive, passion, talent and a healthy work ethic is arguably the best prescription to ward off a sophomore jinx. Eminem protege Obie Trice has no need to worry. Since the release of his platinum 2003 debut, Cheers, which sold more than 250,000 copies during its opening week, he has been in prep mode. In between joining Eminem on the Anger Management Tour in the U.S. and abroad, Obie has been gearing up for his latest set, Second Round's On Me.Flexing his honed lyrical chops, Obie opted to rhyme all of the lyrics on the spot without writing them down. ?I would say eight bars, and then I would listen to the beat and then punch in the next eight bars,? Obie says. ?When I heard the music, I was ready to go. I did not want to sit down and write on paper. I would get an idea and want to say it at that moment.?Last summer, Obie gave fans a dose of the new album when he leaked the rock-fueled ?Wanna Know? which samples Van Halen. The song was featured on Entourage, the hit HBO comedy series produced by Mark Wahlberg. ?Snitch,? the album?s official first single and collaboration with Akon, is a melodic lesson on the perils of betrayal. Neo-Soul singer Jaguar Wright joins him on ?Love,? a compelling account of relationships gone awry. Nate Dogg provides the hook for ?After Party,? and ?Detroit Boys? includes appearances from Eminem, Big Hurk, and Trick Trick. ?Cry Now,? the last song recorded for the album, is also one of the most poignant.Over humming bass, kick drums and sharp horns, ?Cry Now? was written as Obie recovered from a near fatal gun wound in the head. On New Year?s Eve 2005, Obie was shot while driving on a Detroit freeway. Though he was treated and released from the hospital on the same day, the doctor was unable to remove the bullet from his skull.In the emotional song, Obie professes that he does not want to be the next hip-hop artist slain: ?Catch me in a Benz like ?Pac/ Catch me in a Tahoe like Big/ No.?When recording ?Cry Now? Obie let the adrenaline take over. ?I had a whole lot of anger in me,? he says. ?I had a whole lot of confusion in me. I didn?t understand why these dudes would come at me like that, especially since I am an artist who shows love to my city. I was just in a zone.?While making his hip-hop rounds in Detroit, Obie met another D12 member Bizarre, who saw Obie?s potential and later introduced him to Eminem. Impressed with Obie?s talent, Eminem did not hesitate to bring Obie into the fold, and lined up feature spots on D12 and Eminem projects, including the soundtrack to Eminem?s theatrical debut 8 Mile. Among the first noted appearance was a shout-out on Eminem?s comical ?Without Me? during a dis to electronica artist Moby, ?Moby, you can get stomped by Obie.?With the release of Second Round's On Me, Obie is determined to connect with his fans. ?I just want the listeners to first of all see the growth in me as an artist,? Obie says. ?And I just want them to get an idea of the things that go on in Obie Trice?s head, and see who I am a person.?