"Moving Target" by Ronin Ro : Source (November 1992)


Dr. Dre is clearly one of hip-hop’s most talented producers, but he is also one of the music’s most notorious figures. The widely-publicized account of assaulting “Pump It Up!” hostess Dee Barnes in an LA nightclub turned out to be only the first of many “controversies” that added real-life drama to Dre’s hardcore gangsta image. Dre knows he’s been portrayed as a menacing troublemaker, a woman-beater, a riot starter and a violent “nigga”-but he claims not to care. 

Over a year ago, printed accounts appeared about an LA rap producer who accused Dre of assaulting him and breaking his jaw. Last November, Eazy E issued a statement that Dre “forced and menaced” him into signing a form releasing him from Ruthless Records. In May of this year, Dre was arrested at a music industry convention in New Orleans after allegedly participating in a melee that left a fifteen-year-old fan stabbed and four police officers injured. Somewhere along the way, Dre’s car was completely totalled, and he was accused of burning down his own home. And on July 18, 1992, it was reported by MTV News that, following a
dispute, Dre was shot four times in the leg. Even as his “Deep Cover” single was climbing the charts, it appeared that Dre could not keep his temper under control. 
Inspired, he says, by Eric “Vietnam” Sadler’s work for Public Enemy and Eric B & Rakim’s first album, Dr. Dre has always come correct with high-quality, hardcore production: from Eazy E’s debut LP (platinum) to NWA’s classic Straight Outta Compton (double platinum); from The DOC’s debut No One Can Do It Better (gold) to wife Michel’le’s chart-topping R&B album; and rounding up with 1991’s blockbuster Niggaz4Life (platinum), which hit #1 on Billboard’s Pop Albums chart. With this unmatched record of success, Dre is looking to continue making hits for Snoop Doggy Dogg--the vocalist on “Deep Cover”--and upcoming acts Rage, Jewell, Paradise and Kurupt--all for his newly-formed label, Death Row Records. And he’s finishing up the solo album which may prove to be his greatest work yet.

27-Year-old Andre Young steers his ride through the streets of Hollywood. He feels a little talkative and openly answers my questions on his upbringing. He tells me he was raised mostly by his grandmother in Wilmington Arms, a housing project in Compton. He attended high schools in Crip and Blood neighborhoods but never joined a gang because “there wasn’t no money in it.” Dre started his career in music by DJ-ing in different Compton-area clubs--recording 4-track demos and playing them for club patrons. From there, he joined The World Class Wreckin’ Kru, whose members wore purple costumes, mascara and lace gloves. Generally regarded as Prince wannabes, the group did deliver decent beat-heavy ballads, such as the hit “Turn Out the Lights.” But years later, Dre’s (and Yella’s) membership in the Wreckin’ Kru would be used against NWA to prove that the group (circa Straight Outta Compton) weren’t really as hard as their records claim they were. “Ran round like Prince?” Dre asks in response to my question. “I’ll tell you what. I never had no motherfucking lace on--that was Yella. I had some way-out shit on. I was motherfucking seventeen years old. I had a motherfuckin’ doctor suit. I used to put on a little get-up, do a show. That was my little thang--a doctor’s suit, stethoscope, get up there and mix...whatever. Me, I don’t give a fuck ‘bout what nobody got to say.” He looks over with hard eyes and tells the world: “Buy the motherfucking records, enjoy ‘em and shut the fuck up!”

It’s a sunny afternoon in Los Angeles and we’re sitting in Dre’s parked car, pumping unmixed tracks from his solo album. Snoop Doggy Dogg’s distinct nasal voice kicks shout-out disses to Eazy E and Tim Dog, saying both “need a big fat dick.” Then a bit of blaxploitation film dialogue cuts in (“We need to get rid of all the pimps and pushers...”), the same sample that Marley Marl used for the intro to
LL’s “Farmers Boulevard.” The horror-noise of a cut called “Rat-a-tat-tat” blasts out of the system while Snoop, using his “1-8-7” vocal tone, kicks a line destined to blow “How I Can Just Kill A Man” out of the picture. “Rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat, like that/I never hesitate to put a nigga on his back!” Behind this chant, musical machine guns roar. Then Dre stops bobbing his head and, happy that he can play
the tape in an official capacity, he hits the fast-forward button. “This is my favorite shit right here,” he says while starting “Mr. Officer” off. He sits, looking out of his window, in deep concentration, nodding his head once in a while. If White America thought “Cop Killer” was bad, wait’ll they hear this. “Mr. Officer, Mr. Officer/I wanna see you layin’ in a coffin, sir,” the song chants. After listening to more tracks, I follow Dre as he walks up to Snoop Doggy Dogg’s building. When we reach his new partner’s front door (they call it “The Doggpound”), Dre raises his large fist--the one that allegedly did so man horrible things--and bangs on it. Daz--a shirtless Black kid with a stocky build and thick butcher knife in hand--waves us in. This is one of Dre’s boys: he kicks ideas into Dre’s tunes, drinks from a 40 in the studio and flashes signals with his hands to show his
loyalty to his ‘hood. From there, we walk into a living room and plop ourselves down on couches. The TV is on and another kid--taller and light-skinned, also shirtless and big-armed- walks in and punches Dre while snapping on him. This is The D.O.C (they call him “Doc”), whose Dre-produced album reached #1 on the Billboard Black Album chart only weeks before he was involved in a car accident--a wreck that reportedly left him with damaged vocal cords. But today, Doc’s words are loud and audible--he’s even throwing rhymes around the room. Dre, separate from the others, reclines on the couch watching and enjoying a video by DJ Quik. “‘Jus Lyke Compton’ is the bomb,” he proclaims. “That’s some good shit.” When Das EFX’s “They Want EFX” and WC’s “Ghetto Serenade” come on, everybody starts talking; but when the latest En Vogue joint comes on--with rock guitars and short skirts--all eyes are glued to the screen. “That one right there got some good titties!” Doc yells. “I used to try to get with her in high school, before she tried to go with Hammer. I know that girl.” Daz sits back smoking a cigarette--his butcher’s knife within reach on the coffee table--as Snoop Dogg, who is taller than he looks in his video, walks in and shakes my hand. From there, he hits the kitchen and starts hooking up breakfast. After some heavy frying noises, he calls Doc and Daz over to the kitchen table. “Hey Ronin,” he says, “You want a pork chop?” Although he’s the first artist in America to pronounce my pseudonym correctly, I decline. “You ain’t Muslim are you?” he asks. “Alot of brothers from New York are.” Dre still sits there, half-watching the TV screen--deep in thought again, a pensive expression on his face.

“Confused, yo, but Dre’s a nigga with nothin’ to lose”
--Dre (“100 Miles And Running”)

We're in Dre’s private recording studio in Hollywood--part of the Death Row Records’ future offices. Snoop and The D.O.C record vocals as Dre’s hands move across the large $750,000 mixing board--twisting knobs and adjusting levels. “Y’all gotta get crazy on that end,” Dre suggests, doubling over in laughter. They’re doing a skit called “The 20-Sac Pyramid,” a spoof on the Dick Clark game show. Dre listens attentively, making sure that the sound is right as Doc, Snoop and Daz hum the show’s theme song. “I gotta get that first one,” he tells himself while
stopping the tape. Only he knows what he means. Then he starts over. “OK, now this time whistle it,” he tells them. “If you laugh, fuck it, we’ll do it like that.” They whistle. He hits the STOP button. “Damn, we gotta do that again.” His ears are focused--a big part of his music is knowing what will sound right. The RECORD button is hit, and the trio hum. STOP. “One more time,” Dre says. Snoop, who has just borrowed five bucks from me for a bag of weed, answers: “Fuck, man!” The RECORD button is hit. Whistling. STOP. “Now hum it,” Dre says again. They do, and five minutes after smoking a couple of blunts, the skit is done.  Dre walks over and hands me a sheet of paper, his handwritten production notes. “You can write about them if you want.” He trusts me, so I look at the titles on the list: “Fuck With Dre Day,” “Nuthin’ But a G Thing,” “The Day The Niggas Took Over,” “Lyrical Gangbang,” and “Rat-a-Tat-Tat.” From the songs I’ve heard, Dre’s album, The Chronic, sounds like it’s gonna be nothing but hardcore. 

At sunset, Dre’s ever-present crew of roughnecks and female vocalists guzzle brews, preparing to hit a party in Woodland Hills. In his office, Dre sits behind a large, black desk. It’s been a long day, but he’s relaxed as we talk about NWA’s beginnings. The group started at clubs, he says. “We used to take other people’s music--I would get up there and scratch ‘em, and Ice Cube would come up and do a dirty version of somebody else’s rap record. And we would change the shit around, to make it totally street, totally dirty.” They played at a skating rink called Skate Land, where 2,000 people were ready to throw things at any group that was wack. “You had to get up there and get busy,” Dre reflects. “The kind of shit that we were doing on records, we was doing it long before on stage.” At one point, Dre decided it was time to move on from The Wreckin’ Cru. “I wanted to get up outta that shit,” he recalls. “Money wasn’t right, basic reasons. And I just felt like I wanted to be in control of my shit. I was just sittin’ in the studio, knowing what I can do. I didn’t have no input on a lot of that shit that came out.” So Dre decided to find a group to produce, and to find financial investors to back the project. During a trip to Orange County, he ran into a rap duo from the East Coast, and a potential investor, his homie Eazy E, who he says, “had some money at the time.” Dre asked Ice Cube, who was then in a group called CIA (after his stint in The Stereo Crew) to pen some lyrics for the duo, who subsequently rejected them. “They being from the East Coast--it was a big East Coast-West Coast thing,” Dre reflects. “They was like, ‘Yo, man, we ain’t doing that song, that’s a West Coast record, that’s a West Coast rap, we ain’t doin’ that shit!’ So they left...Weren’t nobody in there but me and Eazy; turned out the song was “Boyz ‘N Tha Hood.” And that’s how Eazy start rappin’.” At first, Dre explains, Eazy was saying “I can’t do this shit.” But after Dre urged him on, “Eazy put on his glasses and did the record. And we put it out and we sold it out the trunk--about 5,000 records, you
know, and somebody picked it up, and BAM! There it was.” N.W.A went on
to become superstars. I ask Dre why Cube left N.W.A. “He wanted to do his own thing,” he calmly says. “He felt like he wasn’t being treated right--and he wasn’t--so he said ‘fuck it’ he got out.” Was there any tension before his official departure? Dre answers: “I felt the shit, you know?” His voice tries to hide any disappointment or nostalgia for the early days, but it comes through. “I didn’t feel it till he came over to the house one day,” he sighs. Dre had a studio there, and when group members dropped by to visit, they would all go upstairs to kick freestyle rhymes. On this occasion, Cube opted to stay downstairs watching television. “So I was like, aw shit. I knew something was going on.” When I ask if Cube’s departure had any effect on the group, professionally or personally, Dre flatly responds: “It didn’t affect us. It was like this: [Cube] was just put in the limelight for N.W.A. You could’ve grabbed anybody off the street that could rhyme and could’ve been a fuckin’ Ice Cube. If you saw how I would direct in the studio,
you’d know. I’d sit there and I would ‘punch in’ [begin recording] sometimes on each line. So and so and so and so--boom--stop. On Eazy, that’s what you had to do ‘cause he can’t rap. All the way through the song. And when you hear it back? It sounds like they just flowed all the way through. So I could’a just did that shit with anybody. I taught [N.W.A.] how to be--uh--how to work in a studio.” As to the press reports that he met with Ice Cube after Cube left the group, Dre says: “It was lunch, not dinner.” They had discussed the possibility of collaborating on a few cuts on Cube’s second album Death Certificate. While Dre was at first willing to contribute tracks, he later changed his mind. “I found out about that song,” Dre says, alluding to Cube’s “No Vaseline”--the cut that disses N.W.A. Ironically enough, after helping N.W.A diss Cube for leaving the group (they called him Benedict Arnold on “Real Niggaz”), Dre says he left for the same reasons. After reviewing his contract, he felt he was getting underpaid. And to top it off, his new album’s intro has “No Vaseline” disses on it. “Jerry Heller,” Dre says, referring to N.W.A’s manager, who is once again being accused of underpaying an artist.
“Motherfucker comes in and--uh--pulls Eazy to the side and says ‘Look, what you do, you pay him a certain amount of money. I’ll draw up the contracts for production, and you could be making all this money right here for owning the company’.” Dre sighs, then continues: “And you know, I’m thinkin’, ‘ok, this the homie, I’m’a trust him,’ you know? But it turned out like that. I shouldn’t have. I should’a been a motherfuckin’ gangsta in that situation.” During a telephone conversation with Eazy E, he offers a different view of Jerry Heller. “Jerry’s coo. If he wasn’t, I wouldn’t have him working for me...I don’t have no partners, I own Ruthless by myself.” Eazy explains why accusations thrown at Heller are due to racist sentiments. “They don’t like Jerry ‘cause he’s Jewish and shit. So they’ll be like, ‘Oh, he’s gonna rob you, he’s gonna steal this.’ That’s that Black-white shit from people who don’t know shit about the music business or contracts, telling people they should get this and that--filling heads up with bullshit.” Though Dre says he got a document signed by Eazy which releases him from Ruthless, Eazy says it was signed unwillingly, and he considers the “Deep Cover” single a breech of contract. “It’s like being married to one person then marrying two other people--being married to three people...I can’t have that. People trying to come in and gangster me out of mine...” Eazy alludes to an upcoming lawsuit against Dre, but also hopes that they work together again. “He’s been my good friend for
twelve years,” he reflects. Now, solo released by MC Ren, Eazy E, and Dre are raising doubts about the future of N.W.A. Will there be a follow up to Niggaz4Life? Or is N.W.A over? Though Dre and MC Ren acknowledge that N.W.A.’s members
are not communicating, Eazy E says the group will re-form, “once people get off their high-horse ego trips.” 

The “Dee Barnes incident” is a tale Dre wishes would just be forgotten. Shortly after Fox Television’s “Pump It Up” aired an N.W.A interview with an Ice Cube soundbite dissing the group, Dr. Dre allegedly approached the show’s VJ, Dee Barnes, in an L.A nightclub. According to the May ‘91 issue of The Source, Dre “began to hit Dee in the face and on her upper body. He stomped on her hands with his feet. At one point, Dee got away and ran into the women’s restroom but Dre followed her and continued the assault.” After Ren and Eazy boasted about the assault to the media, Dee Barnes pressed charges against Dre, and the state pursued a criminal case. In December ‘91 The Source reported that, “of the two lawsuits against him, the criminal suit (the state of California vs. Andre Young)
has been settled by a judge and ended with the following sentence: a $2,513 fine, 240 hours of community service, 24 months on probation, a $1,000 donation to a victims’ recovery organization and a requirement to do an anti-violence public service announcement.” Dee is hoping to have the second suit against Dre--she’s seeking $22.7 million in punitive damages--in front of a judge by December. “He just...still in the denial stage, like he didn’t do it, like it didn’t happen,” Dee told me. “There’s a lot of women that he beat up, a lot of women that he smacked
around. But I’m the one that fuckin’ pressed charges.” Before discussing the incident, Dre says: “Fuck ‘Pump It Up’, they can pump up these nuts.” Then he gets serious. “She’s another one out to get paid. She knew she had fucked up, so she was like ‘Yo, it wasn’t me, it wasn’t me.’ I saw her and--damn, what happened after that? Oh! I was walking over to her and I got ready to talk to her. Somebody came, got in between us, was pushing me back. My boy that was with me hit him,
‘Get your hands off of him.’ That kid [an independent record promoter and former N.W.A associate], he got hit [by Dre’s boy]. Broke his tooth--he got his tooth broke for getting in the fucking way. I couldn’t even tell who it was. I almost fucked up Ed Lover [MTV].” Dre says that he was “rushed right out of there” by his friends.
“Next thing I know, Dee Barnes called me on the telephone, right? The very next day, sayin’ ‘Yo, that shit was fucked up. What happened, that shit was fucked up.’ I was like, ‘Yeah.’ She goes like ‘Well, um, I ain’t gonna press no charges or nothing like that.” I was like, ‘You ain’t gonna press no charges for what?!’ She was like, “Well, so and so and so and so.’ She said she had to go to New York to film the show. She left the next day. Next thing I know, I’m getting a call from her again saying she’s gonna take me to court. If I don’t want her to take me to court, I have to do three songs for her, something like that. I think it was three songs, without putting my name on it or anything like that and they would forget it. What?! I start thinkin’--I ain’t do shit, but just to keep the motherfuckin’ air clean, I’ll put together some shit. I’m like, ‘Fuck it, get back with me and we’ll see what’s up.’ so finally, I start talking to a coupl’a people and they like, ‘She can fuck you up, you know, because of the shit that went on.’ I was like, well fuck it, I talk to her again, fuck it, I’ll do the song. They send me some contracts down--I sitll got the shits in the house--sayin’ what was gonna happen.” Two days after Niggaz4Life went to number one on the pop chart, Dre says “Dee calls me again, saying ‘Fuck it, I don’t want the songs, I want a million dollars.’ I was like, ‘What? Fuck you, take me to court.” Next thing I know, the shit is in every motherfuckin’ newspaper there is and I’m in court.” But are you in a state of denial, I ask him, like you didn’t do it? “I didn’t do shit, I didn’t touch her ass.” What was the nature of your relationship with Dee Barnes before that night? “We was cool! We used to
hang out, go out and shit--me, her and her homegirl.” Was there romantic nvolvement? “So-so.” On what kind of terms did you separate? “It was friendly, ‘cause if it weren’t, we wouldn’t’ve never did that interview in the first place. We wasn’t doin’ too many interviews back then. We was like ‘Dee, we gonna do this shit.’ Then bam, bam, boom--I’m being accused of assault.” Dee Barnes strongly denies ever being romantically involved with Dr. Dre.

After the incident, many hip-hop feminists rallied around Dee Barnes and made Dre out to be a woman-beater. Even Tim-Dog--eager to capitalize on the controversy--accused Dre of beating Michel’le on the Penicillin on Wax album. “Tim Dog?” Dre says, mildly skirting the issue. “He’s a punk motherfucker that has no motherfucking talent. He had to say my name to sell some records. The only songs you know about a Tim Dog are the ones that he’s sayin’ my name in.” Then he adds: “The most popular song on the last Ice Cube album is talking about me, talking about N.W.A. That should tell people something.”

After the problems with Dee, an unnamed “Los Angeles record producer” claimed that Dre broke his jaw. “Busted him up with my hands?” Dre asks. “I’m’a tell you what happened in that episode. This kid had been harassing [a female friend] a few weeks before that incident happened. And she found out that he had--uh--slept with her little niece that was like fourteen years old, something like that. So, one day I was over there kickin’ it, came out, gettin’ ready to get in the car and leave and she saw him pulling up. She hit the motherfucker! She hit this
kid. Next thing I know, this kid’s sayin’ I hit him, broke his jaw and all this kinda shit. I figure, it’s like...hard as a motherfucker works to make his money, there’s always somebody out there workin’ just as hard to take that shit away from him. Always.” His eyes look tired and he sighs. “Damn, everybody’s tryin’ to get paid. All this shit was fallin’ right at the same time, too.” 

I tell Dre there’s even more that I’d like to talk about--for one, his house burning down. Rumor has it that Dre was having a drunken barbecue, but again, the facts are not known. He says there was a fire (which caused him to move back into his mother’s home for a while), but denies that he caused it. “Oh shit,” he says. “I’m’a tell you what happened with that incident. I don’t know how the fire started. This is what the fireman’s saying: some motherfuckin’ electrical problems with the air conditioning.” Dre says he and some friends were having a barbecue in the backyard while the fire was starting in the front of his house. “One of the neighbors came over and said ‘Yo, the side of your house is on fire’,” he explains. “We went over there and put it out. And the next thing I know, it was on the roof.” He lost his home but expects to have it repaired “in about eight or nine months....I’m insured--it was like $200,000 damage.” Then we talk about New Orleans, where Dre and four other men were arrested after a fight in a hotel. A fifteen-year-old fan was stabbed and four police officers were injured during the incident. The New Orleans District Attorney’s office was set to press charges of criminal damage, resisting arrest, battery of officers, and inciting a riot. One
of the men arrested, The Source reported, was The D.O.C. Dre recalls: “The New Orleans thing got pumped up so out of hand. Me and a friend of mine...We was kickin’ it and a group of guys walked up--I guess they was from New Orleans- and they was sayin’ some shit like...matter of fact, we were kind of drunk, right? And wer were imitating the movie Harlem Nights, Eddie Murphy...you know the part
where the kid stutters? It’s like, ‘Come Friday night, I’m knockin’ somebody the fuck out.’ And these kids overheard us sayin’ this shit, right? So they walk up to us, just out of nowhere, and say, “Yo, I bet you can’t knock my homeboy out right here”--talkin’ to my boy. My boy’s like ‘Go on wit that shit, get outta here!’ So the kid walked up on him, and my friend pushed him back; and he walked up again, so my friend hit him. BAM! And all this shit broke out. They start comin’ at us--BOOM! We got in a little tussle and I start headin’ for the front door. Police grab me--boom boom boom- throwin’ me in [the police car]. I’m like, what y’all grabbin’ me for?” Dre says he was arrested while the real troublemakers walked free.
He denies hitting any police officers, or even being a part of the “riot” described in press accounts. “They sayin’ I beat up seven police, incited a riot and some other shit. I was like, damn, that ain’t sayin’ much for your motherfucking police force if I beat up seven police.” Then Dre says he was accused of stabbing the fifteen-year-old. “I’m like ‘What?!’ I ain’t even know nothing about that shit. I didn’t see nothing like that. Matter of fact, we got the shit on videotape. This kid from New Orleans sent us a video of the whole episode. It has me on videotape--it doesn’t have how it started--but it has me goin’ to the door then you hear a big ruckus. Yo, man, I didn’t do jack.” Dre also denies that he was recently shot four times in the leg, despite confirmed broadcast and printed reports. “Yeah? How long ago was that? I got shot how many times? Hmmm. They say I got shot four times in the leg?” After a short pause, he quips: “Walking pretty good, huh?” He even offers to show me his legs. Then he gets serious for a second. “I don’t remember that shit, though.” You didn’t get shot? “Uh-uh. Heh heh heh. Oh shit, oh man...Shot at.” Really? I’m not trying to say you’re a
liar but...”Oh shit [laughs]--I got shot at a whole bunch of times. They never reported it before though. It’s funny how all that shit is happening at the same time--heh heh heh- funny shit.” A minute later, after more coaxing and reports thrown at him, Dre says: “That incident happened like this: we was talking ‘bout this girl that came up for one of my homeboys and she was all fucked up...uglier than shit. So we came downstairs to talk about her, right? Shots rung out, we ran back into the hotel. I don’t even know where they came from. And that’s that.” But
how did it get on MTV News and into magazines like Rolling Stone? “Like
I told you they called my mom’s house. All this Spin, Rolling Stone, Rap Masters with--what’sername?--Kate Ferguson? All of them was callin’. I was like, yo, I ain’t got nothing to say to y’all.”

I ask Dre to describe himself and he tells me: “I’m a motherfuckin’ calm, laid-back motherfucker. I don’t talk that much around people that I don’t really know. I like eating motherfucking hamburgers--a laid-back, down-to-earth motherfucker, that’s it. I like kicking it with my homies, just chillin’, just having a good time.” But I still feel there’s a violent side to him. “There can be. Yep, there definitely can be,” he agrees. “But I try to stay away from those kind of situations now. I done sat with a couple of older people that talk to me. It’s like, ‘Look, you can’t do the shit you used to do--you can’t go to the party with your homies and just hang out, party on the dance floor and kick it. You can’t do that kind of shit no more.’ I’m like, ‘Yo, you right!’ Everybody out there is trying to figure out a way to get some from you.” Dre says he doesn’t put himself in situations where he’s gonna have
to defend himself anymore. He goes to the studio and he goes home, he says--concentrating on the new album. “I’m only doing one solo album--the only reason I’m doing this album is cause D.O.C talked me into it. Definitely, the best record to me. It’ll set the pace for the record company.” From here, Dre says he’ll stay behind the mixing board and get into real estate--he doesn’t want to end up broke like old crews he’s seen. He foresees that eventually, “Music’ll be like a hobby, not a job.” His voice is hard-as-hell, unrepentant--Dre doesn’t really give a
damn about how the public sees him. He reasons that, with every negative article printed about him, his name is just being kept alive until the release of his next record. “People are gonna keep pumping that ‘controversy’ shit up all they want--to try to stop me. But it ain’t. I’m’a keep on doing what I’m doing, making my music, and it ain’t gonna have no effect on me.” Dre gets up from the table, concluding our talk. “Just write: fuck all y’all.”


SNOOP DOGGY DOGG: 1-8-7 On Phony Gangsta M.Cs

After Snoop Dogg tells me what he does in his spare time (“Basically, I get high, smoke weed”), he says that Slick Rick’s an influence on his lyrics. Then he adds that he’s trying to bring back the old school “rhymin’-with-a-singing-jingle” style--but on the gangsta tip. Then he starts running down his history in music. In 1981, “I was eleven or twelve, just a local--a little nigga from the neighborhood that could rap. ‘82, ‘83, I’m progressing’, gettin’ better and better. But I leave it alone for a minute ‘cause I get into the dope game--makin’ money--I’m a ‘hustler’ now. ‘84, ‘85, I start makin’ tapes. Niggas from the neighborhood appreciate them. Then I get caught up and sent to jail for 8 months.” Snoop got out and went back to making tapes, gaining a rep in his neighborhood, but “Niggas with a little money don’t wanna do nothin’ for me, youknowhumsayin’? They don’t have faith no more.” So in ‘90, after banging with a Long Beach Crip unit, his DJ, Warren G, slid a tape over to Dr. Dre and a meeting was arranged. “I started writing songs for Dre and they was aw-ight,” he says. “But as I stayed and hung around niggas like The D.O.C., it made my rhymes real strong and hard--like they are now.” As a result, he came to national prominence with his appearance on the single and video for “Deep Cover,” a tune that’s won the heart of every single real nigga in this country actually living the shit, as well as the wannabes in search of a violent thrill. “Dre told me what he wanted to start off with-- ‘Tonight’s the night I get in some shit/Deep cover on the incognito tip’--then he left to go work out. When he came back home, 90 minutes later, I had the lyrics together. And I took some of my old shit-- ‘1-8-7 on a motherfuckin’ cop’--and just made it ‘undercover cop’ cause that’s what the movie’s about.” But since he hadn’t seen the film, he did what any other real MC in his position would do. “It was basically my past--selling dope-- ‘cause I got caught for sellin’ to an undercover cop, but y’all don’t wanna hear about that. The way the song is tellin’ about my life, it’s real. That’s why motherfuckers is really feelin’ my shit, ‘cause it ain’t no bullshit about this and that. It’s real shit. Crooked cops gave me a grip of time, but now I’m out doin’ my thing, and they can’t see a nigga like Snoop Dogg from Long Beach.” When he mentions Long Beach again, I ask why is that name so familiar. “In ‘84, at The Fresh Fest concert, Run-DMC had to pack their bags and get up outta there real quick.” Six people were killed at the event, in the days when L.A gangsta rap hadn’t yet gone national.  By : RO

THE D.O.C.: Hoarse But Still Hardcore

The D.O.C has been on the down-low for a couple of years. When his debut album No One Can Do It Better was released in 1988, this Dre-produced prodigy caught rep coast-to-coast for his lyrical skill and rapid-fire rhyme-style. The album went to #1 on the Billboard Black Charts and sold 980,000 copies, leaving many hip-hop fans eager for another album. But within weeks after hitting #1, The D.O.C got into a tragic car accident that damaged his vocal chords and abruptly halted
his career. Rumors abounded that he was drunk behind the wheel. “I was fuckin’ up,” he says of the crash. “Doin’ shit I had no business doin’.” With a hoarse voice that may prove to be a little too raspy for records, the D.O.C (they call him “Doc”) delves into his history. “I started in Dallas, Texas,” he tells me. “Dre had gone up there to do a show [with N.W.A.], and he heard me rappin’ with The Fila Fresh Crew and said, ‘Man, you need to come to California.” After difficulties with his
former group, D.O.C took Dre up on his offer and headed for Cali, where, he says, “Niggas are 100% real--like they are in Texas--but it’s a different kind of real.”
After a bit of culture shock, he started writing lyrics for the crew. “I was fuckin’ around with Eazy E and N.W.A’s shit back then; I wasn’t even fuckin’ with my own shit until almost a year after I got here.” He wrote several songs on N.W.A’s classic Straight Outta Compton and appeared on the original “Fuck Tha Police” as a judge and a cop. Later, he played a wino on Niggaz4Life (his voice makes him perfect for the part).
As an insider during the early recording sessions, D.O.C claims to have had a friendly rhyme writing competition going on with Ice Cube, which resulted in better music for the group. “But Ren always had his own shit,” he says. And Eazy? D.O.C insults his rapping skills and says: “We made him a star.” Now a member of Dre’s inner circle, D.O.C is sticking close to Snoop, who has become a close homie. And in addition to helping Dre get Death Row Records off to a strong start, he’s once again writing lyrics for Dre. But D.O.C still plans to make a comeback. “For now I’m behind Snoop Dogg, making sure he don’t go through none of the bullshit I went
through, ‘cause it’s his time,” he says. “I’m takin’ my time, lookin’ and learnin’. Then when I come back, ain’t nobody in the motherfuckin’ world gonna be able to touch me.”  By : RO

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