The D.O.C. Talks Accepting His Newfound Voice & Helping Others Find Theirs (Video)

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The D.O.C. is one of the many Hip-Hop artists who appear in The Defiant Ones docu-series. From his days with the Fila Fresh Crew, the Dallas, Texas native MC is one of the few to have worked with Dr. Dre at Ruthless, at Death Row, and Aftermath. In the four-part HBO special, he addresses all three of those periods.

Speaking with HipHopDX‘s Jake Rohn while at the red carpet premiere of The Defiant Ones, The D.O.C. updated fans on the condition of his vocal chords. In 1990, the MC was in a car accident, impairing his voice and delivery. In August of 2015, he shocked some, by revealing (then demonstrating) that his chords had apparently healed, allowing him a smoother vocal tone. “[My rapping voice] works. I have to tweak it, to make the tone happen,” he says. “But it’s hard. It still hurts a little bit. I’m more comfortable with this one. This one feels better.” Despite the setbacks, The D.O.C. released two albums after his accident, 1996’s Helter Skelter and 2003’s Deuce. “To be honest with you, I’m at a point where I’m tired of running from this [voice]. I want to embrace this one… and figure out what the purpose is for this one,” he says of a different tone than fans may have heard in his early days or subsequent work. “[I] quit trying to find the other [voice]. Cause I don’t think that other one is gonna come back.”

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DX asks D.O.C. about his gold-certified debut, which is a focal point in the HBO series. “No One Can Do It Better was basically an album full of freestyles,” admits the artist. “Me and [Dr.] Dre. It took us three weeks of actual work time. And we just worked when [N.W.A.] went on the road. It really wasn’t hard at all.” While rapping was not a challenge, the acclaimed MC acknowledges he was shorter on substance. “If you listen to the record, we’re not really talking about anything other than ‘I’m good.’ I hadn’t even really figured out who I was yet, in my mind; [so] I’m just good.” He adds that Ruthless Records used every song that was recorded.

As far as his current activities, The D.O.C. stays busy. “I’m really trying to help the kids in Dallas-Fort Worth find their voice. And it’s so interesting that the quote in The Defiant Ones says, ‘you’ll never find your voice.’ [For me,] actually I found my voice, I never lost it…because it was in Dre. Or it was in Snoop [Dogg]. Or in Eazy [E]. Or [MC] Ren. And now it’s in these kids in Dallas,” The D.O.C. is referring to the writing he did for peers on albums such as Efil4zaggin, Doggystyle, and The Chronic.

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The D.O.C., who was managed by Suge Knight at the time of his accident, went on to become a vital part of Death Row Records. Upon the label’s 1992 launch, it was Dr. Dre that partnered with Knight on the Hip-Hop imprint. Asked to reflect on those years, The D.O.C. admits, “It was a dark time for me. It was bad, for me.” He was suffering from not being able to be a Rap star anymore, and reportedly battling substance abuse. It was a part of his life chronicled on 1996’s “From Ruthless 2 Death Row (Do We All Part),” produced by Fila Fresh band-mate Erotic D:

“I was in California surrounded by all of these elements that were not a ‘part of my DNA,’ to quote Kendrick [Lamar]. So, it was rough for me. And I imagine it was probably rough for a lot of those guys. But we survived it. We’re here today [as] defiant ones.”