The D.O.C. is among Hip-Hop’s most revered songwriters. The Dallas, Texas native worked extensively with N.W.A. and his Fila Fresh Crew before his heralded 1989 debut, No One Can Do It Better. Following the Dr. Dre-produced album, The D.O.C. would partner with then-manager Marion “Suge” Knight in helping launch the label that would eventually become Death Row Records.
During this time, the former Ruthless Records artist suffered a crushing career setback when a 1989 auto accident would compromise his speaking and rapping voice. The damage would remove The D.O.C. from the spotlight, despite a career that persisted into the 2000s. No longer with his full instrument, the man born Tracy Curry became a songwriter at Death Row, and other places. Perhaps most notably, the MC penned much of The Chronic, the would-be solo, multi-platinum juggernaut for N.W.A.’s Dr. Dre.
Asked about the breakthrough single, 1992’s “Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang,” The D.O.C. told Vlad TV, “I knew [it was a hit] when we wrote the record. That’s why I told Snoop [Dogg] to put my name [in his verse]. I knew I was gonna [be in] that video! [Laughs]” The D.O.C. would be featured in Dre’s blue 1964 Chevrolet Impala in what would become one of Hip-Hop’s most iconic music videos. Snoop Doggy Dogg, then a fledgling artist, shouted out The D.O.C. and his album title in the verse. According to the song’s co-writer, it came from a request. “[I said], ‘Put my name right there!’ Dre hates that! [He complained], ‘Why you always got your name in the record?’ [Laughs] C’mon man, I gotta get in where I fit in.”
Notably, seven years later, The D.O.C. would reprise his role in the video for “Still D.R.E.” While Snoop Dogg was again the featured vocal guest, that 2001 single’s verse for Dre was written by Jay Z.
In the same video interview, Vlad checks through much of The Chronic, asking The D.O.C. about his writings. “Deeez Nuuuts,” “Lil’ Ghetto Boy,” “A Nigga Witta Gun,” “Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat,” and “The $20 Sack Pyramid” are all confirmed by The D.O.C. as songs he helped write. Of “Lyrical Gangbang,” he says, “That’s the young ones, but I helped them.” The song featured Snoop, Kurupt, The Lady Of Rage, and RBX. Of X, The D.O.C. also gives the cousin of Snoop Dogg credit for writing on “High Powered.” Afterwards, D’ takes credit for Dre’s verse on album closer “Bitches Ain’t Shit.” Reflecting, the artist with two solo albums after The Chronic admitted, “I was all over that record. Wow!”
Notably, the songs differ, slightly, from those which The D.O.C. is credited for writing. He tells Vlad that at the time, his contracts with the label were not in proper standing. “It’s bad,” said the MC, who would later leave Southern California to return to Dallas. However, he did not lay blame on mentor Dr. Dre or manager Suge Knight. “It’s not about them. It’s me about me. I’m drinking, everyday. I’m probably doing drugs, everyday.” The artist connected his substance abuse to a life of hardship, and a career that was largely perceived as ruined. “[I was] trying to get away from that pain, bro.”
In hopeful news, 2015 saw The D.O.C. publicly admit regaining some use of his vocal chords. This could possibly prompt a fourth album, or new opportunities to the Rap mainstay.
Later in the interview, The D.O.C. broke down his last (and recent) conversation with his former manager. Speaking on the murder Suge Knight is presently charged with, The D.O.C. says similar incidents were commonplace during his time with Death Row. “That’s the kind of stuff I was surrounded by, all the time. It was just nasty.”