When he first moved to Sacramento, California at the age of 12, OMB Peezy immediately stood out from the rest of the children in his 7th grade classroom. The Alabama native’s thick accent made him an instant sensation among his peers, who begged him to repeat words in his rounded-out drawl and over-enunciated his given name, LeParis. “When I came to California, I didn’t like how they said my name,” he remembers. “It was like they were on Disney Channel, so I was like, ‘Just call me Peezy.’” Soon, teachers, and even the principal, were following suit.
Nearly a decade later, the 20-year-old rapper brings this same uncompromising attitude to his magnetic songs, painting vivid pictures of struggle, revenge, and betrayal with a sound that captures the blues-tinged inflections of his Southern predecessors and the boundless energy of his Northern California contemporaries. Peezy’s unique style has shattered geographical confines in 2017, landing him a record deal with 300 Entertainment, and earning high praise from The FADER, who recently hailed him as “The New Voice Of Regional Rap.” The accolades have come swiftly for Peezy, but he’s always been able to adapt on his own terms.
As a young kid growing up in Mobile’s Orange Grove projects, Peezy was constantly surrounded by music. He played drums and piano in the church and sharpened his skills as an orator with the help of his uncles, who were pastors and preachers. Peezy closely studied Boosie Badazz, admiring the Baton Rouge rapper’s ability to create songs “for any situation life puts you through,” as well as local heroes Mr. Bigg and C-Nile, who rapped detailed accounts of the pitfalls of Mobile street life. “It’s crabs in a bucket,” he says of his hometown. “If one crab tries to make it out, they gon’ pull ‘em back down.” Seeking better opportunities for her children, Peezy’s mother moved the family to Sacramento, where the young rapper began to develop his voice.
Peezy’s breakout song, “Lay Down,” released in December, is a tribute to all the mileage that he’s covered, combining the intricate melodies and dexterous rapping of his regional rap influences to create a sound that’s entirely original. The ominous track, and the anthemic follow-up “When I Was Down,” quickly found traction in Northern California, reaching the ears of rising star Nef The Pharaoh and Bay Area icon E-40, who has taken Peezy under his wing. “He’s been in the game for almost thirty years and he’s still moving strong,” he said of his mentor. “That’s what excited me the most: that someone who can teach me so much was interested in what I was doing.”
As he prepares to release his debut mixtape, Loyalty Over Love, Peezy is looking to emulate the longevity of Boosie, 40, and other rappers who have put their area on the map and made long-lasting impressions on the genre. “I’m trying to tell my story and make a complete project,” he says about the tape. “I want people to grow into me as an artist instead of just paying attention to one or two hit songs.” Though Peezy is still young, the emotional weight of his delivery suggests a wisdom far beyond his years and the potential to expand upon his distinct technical abilities. “Chances make champions and history repeats itself but opportunities don’t,” he says, repeating his motivational mantras. For now, Peezy is focused on the task at hand.