In the paper this week I get inside the head of D.O.C., who ghostewrote the bulk of the early Ruthless Records catalog and is all over The Chronic and Doggystyle. His own solo career was ascendent on the strength of his platinum debut No One Can Do It Better before a car accident wrecked his vocal chords.
Though originally from Dallas, D.O.C's a West coast legend, largely responsible for creating the hip hop characters portrayed by Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, and Snoop. He has rarely gotten the proper credit — or cash — due to him over the years, but it's no secret that penned many of the big early gangsta rap classics. Here then, straight from the man himself, are his top five songs he wrote on, in no particular order.
1. “Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang,” Dr. Dre featuring Snoop
“When ''G' Thang' was created, I was living in Agoura Hills, and Snoop and Warren G were living with me. In 1990 me and Snoop each took the beat to different parts of the house to write. Snoop went upstairs, I stayed downstairs, and we met back up in an hour. When he came back downstairs I said, 'Let's take this piece and put it here…This doesn't really work there.' It's really just like a jigsaw [puzzle]. And then I said, 'For the last line [of Dre's verse], let's put my name on there,' because otherwise I wouldn't get to be in the song. That's why Dre says: Like my nigga D.O.C./ No one can do it better.”
2. “We Want Eazy,” Eazy-E
“That was the first day I ever went to the studio with Dre in Cali, in 1988. Dre pulled up the track and said, 'Doc, you got something?' Eazy, Ren and Yella were there — Cube wasn't around a lot. [The song] took me 15 minutes to write. When you're 19 and excited, that shit comes out of you like piss. Eazy started learning it — that took a day or two. He wasn't the most talented motherfucker in the world; it generally took him 12 hours to get through a verse. But when he got it it was good, and pretty soon the song was every-fucking-where. That's a testament to Dre, who taught me 95 percent of what I know.
3. “The Next Episode,” Dr. Dre, featuring Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, and Kurupt
“I'd cultivated that song for such a long time. The very last line of ''G' Thang' is 'Just chill 'till the next episode,' but this song didn't happen for ten more years. We did it three or four times before it finally appeared on 2001. We were just waiting for the right story, and 2001 ended up being a huge record.”
4. “Prelude/Still Talkin',” Eazy-E
“That's my Rakim impression: 'Easily I approach…' That was me giving Eazy East coast impressions that other West coast guys weren't up on…[At that point] everyone was saying I was the greatest. I got a big head. When I came in with a good rap, Cube would have to go home and re-write his raps. We would goof around. Once we pretended we were film critics from London. It was funny to see Cube with his gheri curl, doing a British accent.
5. “Alwayz Into Somethin',” NWA
“This was when Cube had just left the group. I'd just lost my voice. Everyone's wondering, 'How's NWA gonna continue, with Cube gone?' As for me, all I had was alcohol and strip clubs. I was going though a tough time. I wrote that song for everyone, and it made me feel that even though I'd lost my voice I was still valuable.”