An innovative entrepreneur, San Diego native Steven Ozbun is a veteran entrepreneur and music producer bringing much-needed attention to a genre of music that combines rap with house music. He is also currently the CEO of the sunglasses and apparel brand TradingLooks.com. Ozbun always had a passion for music, even at a young age. After arriving on the music scene in 2020 with his double single ‘Come Get It,’ Ozbun has continued to make waves in the music industry under the musical nickname of “OzMusicNation” unleashing several massive EDM anthems that have been making their rounds through Spotify.
From listening to rap records with his older sister as a kid, Ozbun borrowed her mixtapes and made copies of records by Slick Rick, Eazy-E, Too $hort, and Snoop Dogg for himself, then listened to them with his friends. It was from these early days in his life that his love of music grew, and ever since then, his goal has been to create music that everyone could relate to and enjoy. As Ozbun developed his identity in the music scene, he began to create his own style, finding a way to combine the raw energy of rap with the soulfulness of house music, blending them into a unique style. The result was a style unlike any other, skillfully combining heavy EDM beats with rap lyrics and golden age flow.
Bakes, on the other hand, is a solo rap artist described by many as lyrical, intelligent, intricate, and comprehensive. Their paths initially crossed when he had started modeling for Ozbun’s sunglasses company, TradingLooks.com. However, they didn’t meet until Bakes later attended Ozbun’s infamous birthday party, which was thrown and announced just 24 hours before other celebs were seen at the party, including Tom Sandoval and DJ James Kennedy, and rapper Too $hort. The party was thrown by Irma Penuruni of BurgerRock, OXBs publicists. Ozbun debuted some music at the party and had used his vocals in a track. Afterward, the two talked about collaborating. Ozbun thought it would be amazing to link up with a skillful lyricist; the actual storyline from Bakes’ music was hitting home as Bakes wrote it. There were lots of parallels and synergy between the two artist’s lyrics and beats, so it was a natural progression toward releasing music together. Thus, OXB was born.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with OXB to discuss their journey in the music industry, and here’s what went down:
How’s the sunglass business going, Steven?
O Z: Very good! This past winter, we opened our first location in Little Italy, San Diego. So things are definitely starting to pick up. Now that summer is hitting; the online store is doing great as well as Tradinglooks.com. We’ve seen Paris Hilton, Too Short, and many other celebs as well. You have to hit it up if you’re ever in San Diego. You can also find Bakes’ merchandise there and soon OXB as well.
What does OXB stand for literally and symbolically?
O Z: It’s an acronym for O Z x Bakes. We were initially going to go by both of our solo names combined but decided to shorten it and give our duo its own identity.
What is the name of the music genre in your own description if you had to review it?
O Z: A true mash-up of hard-hitting, uptempo electronic production and lyrical hip-hop vocals. Truly blending the hip-hop world with O Z’s tech-house style – “RapTech” is what we’d call it.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
Bakes: My solo rap style is described by many as lyrical, intelligent, intricate, and comprehensive. I never dumb it down too much; I keep it witty even when it’s simple. O Z, Beat wise, is very diverse and eclectic; We can artistically go many directions with our music, but overall we strive to make it positive, conscious, and substantial.
Who inspired you to make music?
Bakes: Originally, my mom was heavily influential on my musicality because she always sang and played guitar herself. I discovered hip-hop early on and gravitated toward the rhythm and spoken word element. I loved how the beats made me feel and how the lyrics could tell a story with syllables and rhyme schemes.
O Z: Growing up with so much music around me, I really wanted to start making music at some point. Once I sold my business to a company, I decided now was a good time to give it a go. I grew up listening to legends like Cher and Elvis playing every day thanks to my parents, and I followed rap legends such as Too Short, E-40, Ice Cube, and Snoop since I was a teenager, thanks to my sister. When House came out, I loved the liveliness of it, and I wanted to one day blend the two genres together.
What is your creative process like?
O Z: We constantly write song ideas and lines throughout the day. Whenever we start a new track, we begin by scrolling through our song notes and pulling parts that fit—piecing together songs.
What is your new album called?
Bakes: Our new OXB album is themed around the 9th Dimension, showing listeners our diversity in sound and multi-directionality of music. We’re bringing our worlds together for a progressive sonic landscape.
What’s the best piece of advice another musician ever gave you?
Bakes: Music is meant to be felt, not heard. This resonated so much with us because we’ve always been very technical when crafting our music, focusing on little imperfections and fine-tuning it to get it perfect. But, sometimes, those imperfections are what give it its life. We judge the music now off vibration and the feeling it gives us.
What is one message you would like to give to your fans?
O Z: That anything is possible; you can literally create your own world and reality if you have the right mindset, intentions, work ethic, and carry a high frequency. It’s all about the journey and being open to growth.