The D.O.C. Breaks Down His “Formula.” He Says Yawning Helped Him Speak Again (Video)
In late August, it was revealed that The D.O.C. had regained use of his vocal chords. Displaying the regenerated ability in a Sirius XM interview then, the Dallas, Texas native has enjoyed a busy few months since. The former Ruthless Records star and Dr. Dre protege was portrayed in blockbuster Straight Outta Compton. His latest musical discovery, in a career that’s included Erykah Badu, MC Breed, and Six-Two is an artist from his same home city named Justus. Justus is one of several new acts who appear on Dre’s first album in nearly 16 years, Compton.
With so much to discuss, The D.O.C. spoke by phone with WHO?MAG TV. There, he elaborated on just how he learned of his rejuvenated vocal chords during a 2009 incarceration. While imprisoned in Texas for an undisclosed charge, the MC born Tracy Curry revealed, “I just yawned one day, and I felt [my larynx] move. It took me about a couple months to figure out how to make it do it when I was yawning. But [the chords] were moving. Gradually, it’s gotten easier for me to use ’em. It still feels a lil’ weird, like if you put your shoes on the wrong foot.” Over the last six years, The D.O.C. said his abilities have improved drastically. “If I speak using those chords using the manipulation—there [are] tones. It’s still not super strong, but the vocal chords work. It’s a blessing.”
Also in the nearly half-hour interview, The D.O.C. praised Straight Outta Compton. “100% behind those guys and that movie.” Although the F. Gary Gray-directed film has caused criticism and legal action, The D.O.C. is one artist who accepts some creative interpretation. “It’s not 100% accurate, but what Hollywood movie is?”
In 1989, The D.O.C. released No One Can Do It Better, a groundbreaking time piece for Ruthless, Dre, as well as lyricism in general. Recently, Ambrosia For Heads readers deemed the work among the Top 10 Rap albums released in the 1980s. In stepping towards that work, The D.O.C. admitted that he drew from MCs who would soon be his contemporaries. “The formula that it took to make D.O.C. is simple: it was a little Run, a little [LL] Cool J, a little Rakim, Slick Rick, a little KRS-One, and a lot of me.” He elaborated, “I added all of those pieces together, and take the parts of those acts that I loved the most and helped create the rapper that I wanted to be. Run was confident. Slick Rick, his stories were so cool. KRS-One was the most intelligent. Rakim was the god. I took what I loved about all those guys and made myself.”
The interview reveals World Classic Wreckin’ Cru member Dr. Rock moved from Compton, California to Dallas, but afforded Doc’ a life-changing association to Dr. Dre and DJ Yella. “I didn’t like him. He was skinny, and he thought he was the shit. I thought I was the shit,” candidly said The D.O.C. of his would-be producer and friend. The pair first worked together on “Tuffest Man Alive,” and forged a mutual respect.
In this intimate interview, The D.O.C. was unafraid to revisit some of the tensions surrounding the group that introduced him. “Everybody likes the dope boy swag, and Eazy-E personified that swagger,” he says of the man who first signed him. “Whenever it was time do do interviews or take pictures, [N.W.A. would] ask me to step up out of the way,” he said of his affiliates, adding that it was “hard to deal with.” He added that much of No One Can Do It Better was recorded while N.W.A. toured, in studios at large.
A particularly lucid memory comes from The D.O.C.’s recollection of “The Formula” music video. The MC reveals it was actually shot one day before his career-changing, near-fatal car accident. Looking at that specific moment, the esteemed rhyme writer analyzed, “I was high as hell, on top of the world, and trying to have sex with all the young girls I could find. It was cool. But that next day, it was a terrible day. But God blessed me, ’cause I’m still here, and I still got a shot at making a difference, and gettin’ [my message] out the way I always [wanted].” The D.O.C. adds that he recently welcomed another son into the world.
In grabbing Rap anecdotes, The D.O.C. says that “It’s Funky Enough,” another hit, was recorded in one take—while intoxicated. Admitting that he was drunk, the MC said that he and another N.W.A. affiliate, Laylaw, were high—prompting The D.O.C. to rhyme with a Jamaican-inspired patois.
WHO?MAG TV’s Will Hernandez also asked The D.O.C. about Six-Two, a prominently featured artist on Dr. Dre’s 2001 album. Months following, he would appear on the third D.O.C. album, Deuce. “Me and [Dr.] Dre got into a big argument. It made me have to take [Deuce] and put it out as a D.O.C. record, a D.O.C. compilation.” Released in early 2003, Deuce featured Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and Nate Dogg, with extensive Dre and Jazze Pha production. Of the disagreement, he simply reflected “Sometimes those kinda things happen.” Of the late 213 crooner, The D.O.C. also plainly stated, “Nate Dogg is probably the realest one I met in Southern California.”
Lastly, The D.O.C. gave fans something that seems to have evaded the history written about the great MC and writer. He explained what his acronym truly stands for: Dallas Oak Cliff, his hometown.