Written by Calvin Schneider
A few months ago, Philadelphia rapper OT The Real linked up with Heatmakerz own Rsonist. They only made one song that night but they established that going forward that they could create great music together. Over the course of the next few weeks, OT would travel to NYC about once a week, and each session they would undoubtably record another hit. About five sessions later, they realized they had enough to drop a tape. The Irishman is a very fitting title for this project. While in prison, OT found himself doing a lot of reading. One of the books he read was I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt. OT was very intrigued when he found that the author of the book was from the same town he was being charged in and that he was running around in the same neighborhoods OT knew and loved. When OT came home, he tried bringing the idea for this project to a couple people, but nobody saw the vision the way Rsonist did. On The Irishman, OT reflects on his time spent in jail, fighting for his life, being groomed by the prison system, and more. Music Xclusives spoke to OT The Real on the evening of the projects release. Read what he had to say below.
Less than an hour before The Irishman drops. How are you feeling right now?
Feeling good. Ready to let the world hear, you know.
How long have you been working on The Irishman?
Me and Rsonist from Heatmakers got together about five times. We made about two tracks every time. Ended up with like eight joints.
Why did you choose Rsonist as the producer to make this project with?
I mean, that’s a no brainer. He’s a legend. It’s an honor to work with a legend like that. We made some joints and we were really feeling them so we just kept going. Added the features in and boom it was done.
What does The Irishman mean to you?
You know, there’s a lot behind that. A book I originally read in jail was, I Heard You Paint Houses. I was fighting four armed robberies when I read that book, basically fighting for my life. At that time I was reading everything in the book, and I saw that the author was from the town that I was getting charged in. So it was kind of a mind-fuck a little bit. Then when I came home, they made the movie and I read up and I found out that he was running around the same neighborhoods in Philly that I was running around in. It related to me. I was like, damn, nobody else could do this but me. They wouldn’t really relate. If you see the streets he ran on Lehigh and Edgemont, that’s my zone if you look up where I’m at, thats soup kitchen. I took the vision to a couple of people, but not everybody was seeing my vision. Once me and Rsonist got together, everybody was like, damn, I see it, you know?
Do you feel like being from Philly has made an impact on your sound?
Yeah, Philly definitely. I would say Philly is the leading responsibility of my sound. Like, yeah, I always rapped, but Philly is what groomed me. Philly and the prison system, you know, which is part of Philly as well. That shit groomed me.
What was your favorite song to work on off this project?
You know, other than getting to work with Joell Ortiz and Jim Jones, I also got to work with Opera Steve. Opera Steve is basically backing me up on vocals throughout the whole tape. He’s a legend just like Rsonist. Every track in its own way was real unique to work on. This is a different type of album.
What was your favorite moment while working on The Irishman?
When I was working on the tracks, I didn’t have Rsonist send them to me. Once they were all done, he sent them all to me. So that process, I really enjoyed because I didn’t have to worry about nothing. I was working with a producer who was mixing and mastering everything himself. I didn’t have to worry about how the splits are going to go we already worked that out. It’s much like when I worked with my brother right here, Thoroughbred Bangers. We dropped Survival last year as soon as Covid hit. I recorded it with Thoro and he got to take that jawn, and that’s the same with Rsonist. This project was Rsonist’s baby. He had it in the incubator. I left it there and trusted him with it and the product that I got back I’m more than satisfied with.
Any message or anything you want to say to the people listening to the Irishman?
Just keep bumping that shit, keep keeping it real. If you want to go get that merch, my Shopify is about the drop. Make sure you go to TheLabelLtd. Make sure you go grab these hoodies. They’re selling out real fast.
What else can we expect from OT The Real in 2021 besides this great album?
We came in the year strong. We dropped with Big Mike, we dropped Evil Empire. Now we’re dropping the Irishman with Heatmakerz. When the summer comes, you can look for my Green Lantern tape coming with some big features on that.
Interview by Calvin Schneider