It's easy, sometimes, to forget who the greatest rapper Dallas ever spawned is -- especially when considering that, for the past 20 years, he's worked in a largely behind-the-scenes role, ghost-writing for other rappers and working closely as a mentor to genre luminaries Dr. Dre and Eminem.
But, nonetheless, The D.O.C., the man behind "It's Funky Enough" among other classics, holds -- and deserves -- that distinction, regardless of how content he's been to stay quiet in recent years.
In the piece, in which the rapper also reveals that he's working on a documentary about Death Row Records' early years, the D.O.C. talks candidly about Death Row (a name, he contends, he came up with, although he originally hoped to call it "Def Row" as a shout-out to Russell Simmons' East Coast label, Def Jam), as well as some background to his current relationship with Dre and his thoughts on Dre's way-too-long-in-the-making Detox. Read the piece here -- or just skip to the jump for some choice excerpts.
On his role with the inception of Death Row:
"You couldn't have had N.W.A. like you had N.W.A. had I not left Dallas and came to California and helped those guys build songs. That's just the facts. You wouldn't of had it like that; you couldn't of had it like that. [Dr.] Dre wouldn't of had the career he had.
You actually would've never had Death Row had I not been in California. Because, Suge [Knight] wasn't my bodyguard but he...rolled with me. It wasn't him and Dre that got together and said, 'Hey, let's do this.' It was Dre and I that got together and said, 'Hey, let's do this.' Unfortunately, it was right after that [car wreck I was in] and I was going through a really hard time, really trying to come to grips with what had been taken away. So, I was just being a fuck-up. But, I wasn't being such a fuck-up that I couldn't pull Dre over here and say, 'Look, nigga, this is what you need to do. This is what we need to do. Look at what [Eazy-E's] doing to me. If he's doing it to me, he could be doing it to you.' ... So he and I got together with Suge and this other cat, [Dick Griffey of SOLAR Records], and we all started making plans. Unfortunately, I started falling deeper into the wrong shit, down the wrong hole. And even though I was putting in a majority of the money and a gang of the work to make that shit happen, when it all came down to bear fruit I just wasn't able to grab my apples off the tree. 'Cause my mind was somewhere way somewhere else."
On working with Dre on Detox:
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
"I worked for four years on that record with that dude. It didn't used to take us that fuckin' long. We'd go in, and it was a couple of years maybe [and] we'd have what we needed. But, the game has changed. All the pieces of the puzzle ain't there no more, 'cause the money has fucked up niggas' minds. Everybody gotta be the big dog with the big dick. And that's not how you create records. It's gotta be love, and happy and fun and diggin' it. The 2001 record was one that we had all got a chance to get together [for the first time] since the first Chronic record, and that shit was fun. It wasn't really even about making music, it was just about, 'Man, I can't wait to get to the studio 'cause all my little niggas gon' be there. We gon' smoke weed all day. We gon' drink. Dre gon' play some drums, and then whatever comes out comes out.'"
On the latest Dr. Dre single, "Kush" (see above):
I love this guy like he's my brother, but creatively it's just not where it used to be. We don't see things on the same level from a creative standpoint. I may not have agreed with "Kush" as it stood.
Read the entire piece here.