When it comes to Cam O’bi’s production credits, it is clear his skills cannot be defined by one genre, spanning across hip hop, R&B and everything in-between. Born Cameron Osteen, ‘Cam O’bi’ knew music was the only career for him when he quit his Las Vegas day job in Kohl’s and became practically homeless, living in a music studio: “There would be a lot of people coming through the studio and I would sell beats for people here and there. It would be all cash, like a barbershop.”
A diligent student of J Dilla, Dr. Dre and, The Neptunes, Cam O’bi got his start in the industry through GRAMMY-winning production team ‘J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League’ who signed him after hearing some of his tracks on a Ustream listening session. O’bi used to believe he’d always stay a producer, going on to say “I thought that being in the background was more believable and more doable… everybody says they want to sing, everybody says they want to rap, everybody says they want to be in the front. So I thought as a kid, if I told people that, they were just gonna kind of doubt me and be like, ‘Yeah, you and everybody else.'” But then you listen to Cam O’bi sing and rap over his debut self-produced single, ‘TenderHeaded’ and realise he was always destined to be in the forefront.
With all this said, many hip-hop fans may not even know Cam O’bi’s name, yet, they know his music. Over the last four years, O’bi has stepped out on his own and quietly become the beating heart of hip-hop’s current soul movement by producing standout songs for Vic Mensa, J. Cole, SZA, Isaiah Rashad, Noname, Big Sean, Jhené Aiko, Mick Jenkins, Saba and, Chance The Rapper, going on to win a GRAMMY of his own this year for his work on Chance’s ‘Coloring Book’: “I was homeless when I first moved to Chicago, sleeping in the fucking studio. Before that, I was depressed because shit wasn’t working. Four years later, I have a fucking GRAMMY and I’m at the GRAMMYs.”
in 2018, he has announced the release of his debut album ‘Grown Ass Kid’ set for later this year. “I’ve always been true to myself musically, no matter what I was working on or who I was around. I never compromised, never did something because I felt like the people or the fans would be more into it”. This definitely bodes well for what Cam O’bi will do with the bigger spotlight that is fast approaching him.
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