Daz Tells B-Real Who Supplied The Chronic For Dr. Dre’s Masterpiece (Video)
Dr. Dre named his 1992 solo debut album The Chronic and had millions of consumers aiming to catch a contact. The first LP released on Death Row Records took its name from a notoriously powerful strain of marijuana circulating around Southern California at the time. Combined with old Funk records and South Central street narratives, the melodic LP would influence Rap music to come for years. Dre quickly went from a say-no advocate on N.W.A.’s “Express Yourself” to “Puffin’ On Blunts & Drinkin’ Tanqueray” once he was in Dick Griffey’s SOLAR Records Studios with a new crop of talent.
B-Real’s Smoke Box is an appropriate place for Daz Dillinger to speak about the strain and its impact on the album that would mark his own debut, alongside Dogg Pound partner Kurupt. “When we made The Chronic album, we was buying two bags of weed from [Prince] Ital Joe—rest in peace. He had a shop right next door to the studio,” Daz reveals, right ahead of the 7:00 mark. Following Dre’s sudden and turbulent departure from N.W.A. and Ruthless Records, he and his new ensemble used SOLAR’s space at 1635 North Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood, California. “We was paging [Prince Ital Joe] ‘9-1-1, 2-1-1, 1-8-7.’ When he’d see that, he’d come over with his two bags of weed. We really started gettin’ it; we started buyin’ all the weed ’cause The Chronic was out. It was a good thing.” Joe’s store, Jah Juice, was a longtime staple at the neighboring intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga. Daz also alludes to a 1992 arrest of everyone in Death Row’s studio and Jah Juice. According to chief engineer Rick Clifford, Dre was running late, and missed the sweep that took Daz, Snoop Dogg, and many others into temporary lockup. Prince Ital Joe reportedly bailed the ensemble out.
Prince Ital Joe is an interesting figure. Born Joe Paquette, he was a Dominica-born musician and actor. In a store adjacent to Death Row’s first headquarters, Joe self-produced recorded 1983 Reggae cut “Poverty Sucks,” at the same site as his shop. The dread-locked musician appeared in Steven Seagal action film Marked For Death. A fledgling musician and concert promoter, Dre and Tha Dogg Pound would take in Joe, and put him on their songs. Eventually released, Joe appeared on an original version of Dre’s “Mr. Officer” (released nearly 20 years later). Eventually, Joe would a make collaborative album with Mark Wahlberg (aka Marky Mark) in 1994’s Life In The Streets. Staying close to the Death Row camp, Daz used his vocals more prominently, on Tha Dogg Pound’s “Respect,” and two songs on Retaliation, Revenge & Get Back. He made a memorable appearance at the end of posthumous Tupac single, “Hail Mary,” ahead of more work with Coolio, Mopreme Shakur, Hussein Fatal, and Gonzoe.
Tragically, Prince Ital Joe died in a May 16, 2001 car accident in Arizona. He remained close to Death Row and Daz long after those two parties split. In the canon of famous suppliers to Hip-Hop, such as New York City’s “Branson B.,” Prince Ital Joe may beckon deeper consideration for supplying “the bomb Chronic sack.”
In the interview, Daz also reveals he’s at work with Goodie Mob member Big Gipp on an album.