D.O.C. (August 2011) | Interview By:
Since arriving on the scene as an integral writer and creative force behind
pioneering west coast rap group N.W.A, the D.O.C. has been penning all-time
classic hits since 1987. Whether it be for Dr. Dre (The Chronic, 2001),
Snoop Dogg (Doggystyle, The Blue Carpet Treatment), M.C. Breed (Big Baller,
Flatline) and others, the D.O.C. continues to lend his writing prowess to
some of the hottest records to date.
We are all to familiar with the story on the D.O.C., of how he wrote for
Eazy-E and N.W.A. during the Ruthless Records glory days, and would later
break on the scene with a Dr. Dre-produced debut album No One Can Do It
Better, which is considered an all-time classic hip-hop album. But then
tragedy struck shortly after the release of that album, where the D.O.C. was
involved in a car accident that stripped him of his golden voice. The D.O.C.
would eventually manage to release two albums of his own, 1996's Helter
Skelter(1996), and 2003's Deuce, where D.O.C. wrote the raps while others
vocally delivered the lines, D.O.C.ís.
In 2009, it was first reported that he was seeking a voice therapist, where
it was found that The D.O.C.'s vocal cords were not irreparably severed or
crushed, and that his voice could still be surgically restored by up to 70%
or more. The D.O.C. is currently undergoing final tests before the
controversial stem-cell surgery takes place with Dr. Paolo Macchiarini at
his world-renowned clinic in Florence, Italy. There have been recent
headlines made about the D.O.C.'s documentary film he plans to make about
the early days of the D.O.C. and presumably his accident, drug addiction and
road to recovery. D.O.C. is also writing a book about his experiences on
Ruthless Records and Death Row Records, his vocal surgery, and subsequent
In this Dubcnn exclusive the D.O.C. shares his thoughts on preparing for
the upcoming procedure on his voice, working on a project that includes DJ Quik, Ice
Cube, Andre 3000 and others, his relationship with Erykah Badu, why he
hadnít done this surgery earlier in his career, and much more!
Interview was done August 2011
Questions Asked By: Chad Kiser
A Dubcnn Exclusive
By: Chad Kiser
Dubcnn: What thoughts do you have leading up to your procedure on your vocal
I feel pretty good, trying not to get too emotional about it one way
or the other. But you know if I go and see what these people can do and if
they can give me just a little more power and control of my sound, then the
world changes. I canít even explain to you how the whole rap thing changes
Dubcnn: When ďNo One Can Do It BetterĒ came out that was the shit as far
as Iím concerned with records and it was kind of like losing that ability
from you to come correct like that on the microphone and then having to
write for everybody and all these hit records, and now be faced with the
possibility that you could have that restored and come back it has to give
you some type of relief, I donít even know if that is the right word or not?
It is something you know, I am really excited! Like I said before, I
am trying not to allow my emotions to get ahead of me, but the whole reality
and the new talent angle I am using to find these young people to help me
get my voice back. That part is exciting too, there is a young kid named
Mike Bond that I found out of Texas, small town called Granbury, Texas,
little white kid 20 years-old, and writing songs with him is actually kind
of cool. He puts the energy back into it that used to be way back in the day
when shit was brand-new when I was with Dre and them for the first time.
Dubcnn: So are you working on stuff? Are you currently recording a
project now and then after the hopefully successful procedure you are going
in for, you are going to do another project on the heels of that? What is
your work schedule right now as far as all of that is concerned?
Iím building an album now, right at this very moment with a lot of
my old friends like DJ Quik, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Erykah Badu, Andre 300,
and E-40. Iím going to get everybody and do this record, I donít know what
it is going to be called yet, but a lot of the music on this record will be
new artists. I am going to write the record and produce the record, but I am
going to find young people around America, for lack of a better way to put
it, to be my voice for me until I get my voice back. Thereís a website
called I got my voice back I had set up in Texas that invited young kids to
come out and rap stuff I had written and allowed them to download it and
download the words and re-record it and upload it back so that I could hear
them; that is how I found the kid Mike Bond, who has a really cool voice and
who is really humble and appreciates what I am doing for him. I am actually
working on a record of just him because I believe he is really that special
of a talent, but thatís going to be the MO, to help find the people that are
going to be the voice for me on this record. So it may be someone with no
record ever and be on a song with Snoop or Cube or 3000 or this person or
that person, produced by me. Maybe after I have this surgery and spend some
time recuperating I can go back in and re-record the parts that were
supposed to be mine over again.
This is all about giving the new talent an opportunity to really be on some
classic shit coming from nowhere. You know, itís like with the American Idol
thing for rappers the only difference is Simon Cowell isnít coming to you,
but you can get your sound to me and if you sound dope Iíll come knocking on
your front door and get you.
Dubcnn: Speaking of Erykah Badu, I know that there are a lot of people
just in general are a little surprised about discovering that the D.O.C. of
west coast rap lore and ďThe First Lady of Neo-SoulĒ Erykah Badu have the
relationship that you guys have. How did you and Erykah first get together
and build that relationship together?
Weíre both from Dallas. We grew up around the same time and a lot of
the same circles. I just left Texas and went to California and had success
before anybody else. Erykah and I used to hang out at the same clubs when we
were kids, and she was a rapper known as Apples. Sheís a Texas girl, sheís a
great girl, beautiful woman, a beautiful person and I love her very much. I
tease her all the time and tell her that after I get this voice thing
popping with this ďI Got My Voice BackĒ reality shit, Iím going to be in the
lane already so weíre going to do a reality show together, she and I, and
weíre going to get married at the end of it. She didnít say yes, but she
didnít say no. Besides, my daughter keeps telling me that I need to marry
Dubcnn: With the surgery that you are getting ready to have, tell me
about going through with this and why now, because I donít think youíve come
out and said it, but other people have said that you could have done this 20
years ago, so why now?
Well the truth of the matter is I couldnít have done this shit 20 years ago.
The technology that exists to even attempt this is still brand-new. This is
actually just a procedure this is not a stem cell operation, this is a
procedure that the stem cell doctor, whose name is Paolo Macchiarini, that
he wanted me to have before we get off into the stem cell thing, because the
stem cell thing is so new and it is so extreme that he thinks that maybe all
I need is this procedure. He recommended this guy Peter Velasquez at UC
Davis, and said if he was having this type of operation he would have this
guy doing it. So I scheduled a time to see this guy to do the procedure.
What he is going to do is reinforce the vocal cord that doesnít move, they
are going to inject some stuff into my neck and support that vocal cord, the
one that doesnít move, pushing it a little further towards the middle so
that the one that does move can touch it hopefully. Thatís my problem, my
vocal chords wonít touch, they canít meet so the sound that you can make I
canít make. So if this guy can reinforce that chord and they come together
and make a sound then it is going to be a much stronger sound than the one I
am using now. Macchiarini thinks that it can be as much as 70 percent and he
is optimistic that I could get my old stuff back.
I am putting it into Godís hands and I got faith that he didnít bring me all
this way for nothing. My spirit is good, Iím not the same alcoholic kid that
I used to be, I am not concerned about how many joints I can smoke, how much
money I can have in my pocket, my idea of things have changed. My story is a
great one, I think that me making it this far is such a remarkable thing
that it has to give people who are going through other issues in their life
the sign to say no matter what, never give up, you dream no matter what, as
long as youíre breathing; as long as you are above the ground there is
always opportunity and God is always waiting to give you exactly what you
want if you believe hard enough. So Iím in this bitch to win! Like I said,
working with these new kids gives me a lot of happy feelings because I enjoy
making music, but God knows if he gives me one more time to get on that
microphone and spit itís going to be like 1990 all over again.
Dubcnn: So theyíre not actually going to cut into your throat or anything
like that, this more like an injection kind of thing right now?
Yes, it is totally non-invasive. They have to do a lot of picture
taking of the organ to see exactly where to push and they stick these
needles into my throat, they stick a scope up my nose and down my throat
with a camera attached. They have to deaden my whole face so I donít choke
to death while the camera is laying my throat and then they inject these
needles in and try to move the chord, itís really freaky, but I am recording
this whole thing for the reality show. I want people to get a real idea of
what I have to go through to try and get this stuff to work and give them a
sense of how much I love making this music and love the art of recording and
how much it kills me not to be able to do it; the lengths that I go to get
just a little bit of that back.
Dubcnn: So what is the prognosis of your recovery time and to actually
get your voice back and see if it responds the way they are hoping it to?
Itís a day surgery, it should take a couple of days before I can speak and
when I open my mouth nobody knows what they are going to hear come out. I
might start talking like Barry White, and if I start talking like Barry
White that means itís on and popping!
Dubcnn: So are you going to go to the studio that day and start
You know I probably wonít go that day, but it wonít be long after
because I got a shit load of songs that Iíve written that nobody can do but
me. Iíd probably make the fastest record in history; it would probably take
me like two days.
Dubcnn: Whatever record you are going to make is not going to be
obviously sound like 1990, so what kind of flow, what kind of style are you
envisioning coming back with after all this time?
I take a lot of pride in the way that I write. I really work hard
and I am as good as anybody is in this game. Iím as good as anybody that
raps, east coast, west coast, north, south, overseas, I Ďm as good as I was,
if not better than I was in 1989, when I made ďNobody Can Do It BetterĒ and
that is the Godís honest truth! As a matter of fact, I am a lot better than
I was then because the one thing that I always did when someone or something
new came out I always incorporated it into my thing, you know, I am not a
hater; like if you are dope youíre going to influence me, Iím going to grab
a little bit of what I think is dope, and I really love about you and I am
going to stir that up in my formula and thatís going to make a whole new
Dubcnn: You said that you were working with Ice Cube on a couple of your
new projects. I am curious to know how you feel about Cube saying, ĎFuck a
ghost writerĒ and whatnot, and with you ghost-writing platinum hits for Dr.
Dre, Snoop Dogg, MC Breed, and others, how does a statement like that hit
Cube is pretty close to an icon, if heís not already, in movies and
in music and I love his Coors Light commercials; he can say whatever he
wants. I have always hated ghost writing because even when I was writing for
Eazy E I never got any of the credit, they never acknowledged me; they
always pushed the name to the side. I am a Texas guy, Texas guys are really
giving. There is a difference between Texas guys and LA guys, I expected
those guys to act like me, be like me, but they just werenít like me. They
just want and take whatever they can get. I love to write some records and
for Cube Iíd do it all day long, if thatís what he chose and wanted.
Dubcnn: DOC, thanks for your time and weíll catch up with you again soon!