The D.O.C.’s No One Can Do It Better vs. King T’s Act A Fool. Which Is Better?
One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as determined by hundreds of thousands of voters. Now, “Finding The GOAT” returns to ask a new question: what is the greatest of all time Hip-Hop album?
“Finding The GOAT Album” will consider 120 albums from three individual eras (40 in each), with options for wild card and write-in candidates. You and your vote will decide which album goes forward, and which one leaves the conversation. While there will no doubt be conversation between family and friends (virtual and real), only votes cast in the voting tool below will be counted, so use the power of your click.
From the same Southern California Gangsta Rap movement emerged two lyricists. The D.O.C. would-be a Texas transplant who adapted beautifully to his new sonic surroundings, while King T had all the trimmings of a late ’80s MC star. With hard-hitting drums and collages of Funk samples, both MCs crafted debut albums that would endure for the long haul. Which one is the better album though? Your vote settles a score that Hip-Hop Heads from Compton to China have pondered ever since (click one then click “vote”).
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No One Can Do It Better by The D.O.C.
After working alongside N.W.A. since 1987, Dallas, Texas native The D.O.C. distinguished himself in debut No One Can Do It Better. Entering the 1990s, arguably the most exciting lyricist in Hip-Hop was from below the Mason-Dixon, thanks to the linguistic gifts of Tracy Curry. The Doc, as he is also known, made an album that maintained the N.W.A. attitude, but brought attention to intricate lyrical displays. “Lend Me An Ear” presented a fast-flowing, energetic MC who pushed rhymes with a raw urgency. “Let The Bass Go” slowed things down a great deal, but showed just how comfortable a technical MC could get inside a wide, melodic Dr. Dre beat.
Before Snoop Dogg three years later, The D.O.C. was the first soloist to completely mesh with Dre’s sound. Produced largely alone (as opposed to DJ Yella co-productions on other Ruthless efforts), this is the album that made Andre Young one of the proven musical auteurs. “D.O.C. & The Doctor” took a Run-D.M.C./Beastie Boys-style routine, and advanced the rhymes, delivery, and the complex, dynamic beat. Listen closely, and The Chronic is rolling up as Dre sequences the Funk into drum-driven Rap tracks. “It’s Funky Enough” does the same, as D.O.C. used all the verbal tools to command attention from the album’s start. “The Grand Finale” was the perfect closer. As Marley Marl and The Juice Crew were flaunting possé cut perfection on their brand of beats, N.W.A. and Doc did the same, with a foul-mouthed lyrical dunk contest. No One Can Do It Better was fearless in its title, and honored its word in execution. Although Dallas has yet to produce another Rap star on D.O.C.’s level, this album is great beyond the geography. A producer sought out a talent and made a musical marriage, which explains their faithful working relationship more than 25 years later.
Album Number: 1
Released: August 1, 1989
Label: Ruthless/Atco/Atlantic Records
Highest Charting Position (Top 200): #20 (certified gold, September 1989; certified platinum April, 1994)
Song Guests: N.W.A. (Eazy E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella), MC Ren, Michel’le, Dr. Dre
Song Producers: (self), Dr. Dre, DJ Yella
Act A Fool by King T
From the same streets of Compton as Eazy-E and Dr. Dre, King Tee (as it was spelled at the time) had a similar narrative. With a grabbing and melodic vocal tone, King Tipsy rapped about gang colors, hydraulic-outfitted cars, and tucking pistols for protection. Although he was from a dangerous place, the beer-swilling MC maintained a carefree attitude, and waxed stories about things the rest of the world understood. “Bass (Remix)” was a speaker-blowing jam, more akin to LL Cool J’s style than Ice-T (who actually mentored the MC). “Ko Rock Stuff” provided a succinct routine between T and DJ Pooh—who coincidentally had just wrapped Bigger And Deffer.
Just 10 tracks deep, Act A Fool is a fast, easygoing listen. Along with clever arrangements from Pooh, weaving in would-be sample staples, King T joined Ice Cube in showing how lyrical gangsta rappers could be. “Payback’s A Mutha” was a vengeful tale, showing King’s regal skill as a storyteller over a subdued James Brown snip. Tila (as he is also known) had the charm, the timing, vocal clarity, and totally different interests (drinking, smoking, lowriding) than his contemporaries. A top influence upon The Notorious B.I.G., this debut album was a breakthrough for one of Rap’s first major label gangsta rappers. This skill-set has made King T ageless in the eyes of the Rap fan, sought out by Ruthless and Aftermath more than 10 years into his career, and sustaining well in the 2010s. Roger McBride made it cool to dumb out, and used that escapism to survive his own South Central reality.
Album Number: 1
Released: November 15, 1988
Label: Capitol Records
Highest Charting Position (Top 200): #125
Song Guests: Mixmaster Spade, Breeze, DJ Pooh
Song Producers: (self), DJ Pooh, The Unknown DJ
So what’s the better album? Make sure you vote above.