Complex simplicity would best describe Osha Taylor better known as O DA ADDIC. His life story is etched with various high and low points which provide the inspiration for his artistry. With over 15 years under his belt, O DA ADDIC has been perfecting his craft despite various false starts and broken promises. “I was supposed to become a member of Flip Mode Squad. I believe that Busta Rhymes chose to pass on me,” says O, who eludes that the situation fell through due to jealousy or intimidation. With a potential deal with Epic Records in the early 2000’s, the glimmer of hope quickly tarnished with an industry being rocked by the death o f R&B star Aaliyah and the September 11th terror attacks. His resilient resolve has led him to this very moment, being positioned to release his latest album, Purple Cologne, courtesy of a joint venture deal between Vindio Records/Street Scholar Music Group/Bungalo Records/Universal Music Distribution Group.
Finding his voice and purpose, O’s life rivals a Shakespearean tale of loss and redemption. “I got my start when my favorite uncle died,” O reflects. “It was a trigger for me to pursue my passion as a Hip-Hop artist because when I was around 13, he encouraged me to rhyme. I had another uncle introduce me to the music of Salt-N-Pepa and Heavy D.” It was those experiences growing up that fueled O’s interest in the art form and lifestyle known as Hip-Hop.
Coming into himself as a man and artist after various stints of incarceration and a major health scare from years of indulging in destructive behaviors, “I grew up in a very abusive environment; my family background was very broken,” says O. At one point a decade passed where he was out of touch with his mother and step-dad. “I suffered a stage three aneurism,” he says.
This was an epiphany to get his life together both personally and professionally. “Between being locked up with lots of time to think about the direction my career was heading, I realized that I needed to stop going against the grain and decided that my approach would be that if I couldn’t beat them I’d join them,” O says—after coming through dead-end opportunities from his unsuccessful attempt with Flip Mode, Epic Records and even ties to former Fugees breakout star Lauryn Hill. Years would pass and O found himself somewhat of a transient, living between New Jersey, Virginia, and Queens, New York. In one of his many trips to network and showcase his skills, he met his current manager Pete Smalls and subsequently the two became business partners and Vindio Records was born.
With over seven albums to his credit, Purple Cologne, his newest project, is one that O is personally proud of. “The singles that will lead this project are, ‘GMGP,’ which stands for ‘Get Money, Get P*ssy,’ and ‘Rihanna’,” says O, who credits the production wizardry of Barri Black as a driving force to much of his music. “When I recorded songs for this album, I had in my mind the themes of concept albums that were classics in the 90s and 00s,” he says. O points to Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur as artists that made concept albums that became music classics.
Epitomizing resilient persistence, O has transitioned from a tormented past and transitioned to a man and artist with vision and direction. Over his career, he has evolved and undergone various persona changes, from Osha T, Sha’Kil, to O DA ADDIC. Still within the cocoon of creativity, O has plans to document his journey and ascension in a book that he plans to write entitled, Sometimes The Best Never Make It: The Life & Death of O Da ADDIC. “I have a love for literature,” he says. His book is just another facet to his ongoing evolution. “If I had continued on the destructive path, O DA ADDIC wouldn’t be here. The symbolic death of my moniker, O DA ADDIC, will allow me to transition into ‘Osha Shakur’, the next phase of my life as a man and artist,” he says. On what he desires his legacy to be, O passionately explains, “I want to be that dude that did his part to save Hip-Hop if I am given the platform that so many others before me have been given. I want to elevate the genre.”
Being so close but so far for so long, O DA ADDIC confidently stands on faith that this moment in time will belong to him. For his sake it’s better late than never.
By Justin O. Cooper