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July 4, 2009

An Interview with Reggie Osse


Reggie Osse is a writer, an ex-music industry entertainment lawyer, author of the book “Bling: The Hip Hop Jewelry Book”, and known to some as Combat Jack With The Daily Mathematics,

Without further ado, Here’s the interview that took place:

I want to thank you for your time, Reggie. As we begin, I want you to know you can go as long as you want about a topic, brevity is not an issue and in fact, considering the length of most of your blog posts, would be ridiculous, right?!

Let’s begin

First, a little background on you. Where did you start in the industry?

I started in the music industry August 1989. I started interning at Def Jam Records. Then I ended up getting a meager salary.

Favorite client?

Too many. Clark Kent, Manny Halley (who now manages Keisha Cole) Antonique Smith (who played Faith in “Notorious”), Shamello (who produced “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See”), Mike City, Lumidee, Tragedy Khadafi, Smoothe Da Hustler, Nice & Smooth, The Hustler and Trigger Tha Gambler, Deric “D.Dot” Angelettie, Nashiem Myrick, Ced Gee, 3LW, Jaz-O, Rockwilder, Ski Beatz, Lords Of The Underground. I even worked with Allen Iverson in connection with his record deal with Sony. Heh. Too many for me to claim one favorite.

Who was your main influence during your time in the industry?

Louise West. She is a pioneer in the game. One of the first Black women in the business. Started in the 1970’s. Mad connected. She is a genius with music publishing, but at the same time, knowing the other elements of the industry, could really get gangster. Taught me a lot about how cats never like to pay their lawyers, and how to get around that.

Most (and Least) fashionable client?

Jay-Z stayed on point dress-wise from day one. Dude was always clean. Least fashionable, a lot of the r&b producers and singers that I worked with during the early ’90’s. They were caught in between the end of old school r&b and the start of the new Hip Hop movement industry going on at the time.

Favorite song of yours to come out of your tenure as an entertainment lawyer?

Because I repp’d a lot of producers, my office held down the top singles almost every year. Some songs that I worked on:

“Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” (Busta Rhymes), “Hypnotize” (Notorious B.I.G.), “Who Shot Ya?” (Notorious B.I.G.), “Get Money” (Jr. Mafia), “Player’s Anthem” (Jr. Anthem), “Broken Language’ (Smoothe Tha Hustler & Trigger Da Gambler), “Regrets” (Jay-Z), “Brooklyn’s Finest” (Jay-Z featuring Notorious B.I.G.), “What’s My Name?” (DMX), “U Remind Me” (Usher), “Stroke You Up” (Changing Faces), “Uh Oh” (Lumidee), “L.A., L.A.” (CNN, Tragedy Kadafi, Mobb Deep), “Remember The Times” (Michael Jackson),” Ain’t No Nigga” (Jay-Z), “21 Questions” (50 Cent), CNN’s entire War Report album, “I Wish” (Carl Thomas), “Around The Way Girl” (LL Cool J), “Where My Homiez?” and “I’ll Take Her” (Ill Al Skratch), “Cold Rock A Party” (MC Lyte), “Poison” (B.B.D.), “Let’s Chill” (Guy), “Hate Me Now” (Nas Feat. Puff Daddy), “Let Me Be The One” (Intro), “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow” (Nice & Smooth), “No Digggity” (Blackstreet).

Those are just a few. Once again, so many to remember, to name.

In regards to the notorious movie you reviewed, you said: “in terms of factual content, flawless.” Being this movie was a period piece, what in particular did you think about Anthony Mackie playing Tupac’s role?

Anthony Mackie is one of my favorite up and coming actors. He’s really good. I thought he was miscast as Tupac in “Notorious”. Tupac was a force of nature wrapped up in a little guy. Plus, as my wife pointed out, his (Tupac’s) features were very distinguished. Mackie was a bit distracting visually as well as in the role. Maybe it wasnt fair for him, but he wasnt able to channel the spirit that was Tupac Shakur.

I also wanted for you to share with our readers about you getting on HGTV.

That was a fluke. A friend of mine who works in television was looking for a job in craigslist. My wife and I just brought our home in Brooklyn. He saw an ad for a home makeover show and sent it to me. I responded on a whim. I had never heard of Genevieve Gorder since I never watch HGTV. They actually responded and chose us as the first family to be featured on the “Dear Genevieve” show. We beat out over 60,000 families. Like i said, it was a fluke.

What inspired you to write: “Bling: The Hip Hop Jewelry Book”? And can you really make diamonds with charcoal, peanut butter, lighting fluid, and a microwave?

I was in the process of leaving the music industry. I was winding up my law practice. I had fired one of my last clients, Jaheim. I received a call from a law school colleague who knew a small book publisher in Chicago who wanted to expand their market by publishing entertainment related books. We got connected and the publisher wanted me to refer some clients. I knew I had some decent ideas so I nominated myself. I threw some ideas/ concepts their way and bling stuck. I went ahead and put together a kick ass proposal, which resulted in being way bigger/ better than the publisher had anticipated/ had expected. They backed off and now I had dope proposal. I ended up getting repped by an agent in the literary department of ICM. Ended up getting two offers and my co-author (Gabriel Tolliver) and I ended up signing with Bloomsbury, which is the publisher that owns exclusively the Harry Potter book franchise. It was an incredible opportunity, especially since I never ever set out to be a writer, an author.

Regarding the whole diamonds, charcoal, peanut butter, lighter fluid and microwave thing, from what I know, it’s possible. Even though our recipe was “debunked” on the show “Mythbusters”.

Many thanks go to Reggie Osse for allowing this interview! “Bling: The Hip Hop Jewelry Book” is available for purchase on Amazon and various other book retailers.

posted by: Andre Sanchez
to a friend
labels: Music,Q&A

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