The D.O.C. Recalls The Night Of His Car Accident With New Details (Video)
For many Hip-Hop Heads, The D.O.C. is widely regarded as one of the most skilled lyricists and songwriters. A native of Dallas, Texas, the artist born Tracy Curry linked with Dr. Dre in the late 1980s to make history. After assisting with the writing on N.W.A.’s Grammy Hall Of Fame-inducted Straight Outta Compton, The D.O.C. would release No One Can Do It Better in 1989. Less than six months after that album was released, the MC was involved in a Ventura Highway automobile accident that nearly cost him his life, and forever altered his vocal cords. In a recent episode of The David Banner Podcast, D.O.C. came to Atlanta, Georgia’s Patchwerk Studios, to discuss his career. During the two-part discussion, the heralded rapper relived that night, providing some new information.
At 28:00 in the first part of the interview, The D.O.C. recalls opening for N.W.A. in the late ’80s. Even as an opening act on Eazy-E’s fledgling Ruthless Records imprint, he recalls the impact of watching fans know every word to “It’s Funky Enough.” “For a guy that came from nothing, where nobody expected anything of him, when [fame] happened, I wasn’t prepared for it. And it got the best of me, and I started really being sort of an egotistical guy, and tellin’ mothaf*ckas how cold I was, and tellin’ ’em I was ‘better than you.’ I’d walk in the studio with [N.W.A.] and be like, ‘Alright, now we can make records,'” he admits to Banner and the panel of co-hosts.
He continues, “I think that probably got on a lot of mothaf*ckas’ nerves. You know how folks is: you get to talkin’ that stuff; they don’t want to hear that sh*t. ‘Ni**a, you not from up here.'” That period of glory was interrupted by a 1989 car accident. At 30:00, David Banner asks his guest to speak about those circumstances, and the moments leading up to the crash.
“I mentioned to you earlier about [how] my mother wanted to send me to the Army, and I [asked around] and somehow got [Dr. Dre’s] phone number, and I made that call,” begins The D.O.C. As a member of the Fila Fresh Crew in Dallas, he was able to link with Dre. The two artists who worked on N.W.A. And The Posse established a bond that allowed The D.O.C. to move to L.A. and work with Ruthless and N.W.A. As a result of that opportunity, the MC’s mother no longer pushed him to enlist. “When my mother came at me with this Army stuff, I was in Texas; I was living at my sister’s house. And I got on my knees, next to her couch, and I prayed as hard as a human being can pray. I asked God, ‘Please let me do this; this is what I want to do. If you would allow me to do this, I promise you [that] when I get there, I will let everybody know that it was you, not me.’ Then Dre’s number pops up on me, and I call the guy, and the rest of that is sorta history. Now, when my album came out, if you know my album cover, it’s me standing in front of a statue of Jesus. The statue reads ‘King of kings, Lord of lords.’ Well, when I saw that statue, I was uplifted, and I [decided that it] was how I was going to begin my testimony. This is how I’m gonna start to tell them, ‘It was Him, it wasn’t me.’ But the kids thought I was talking about me. They wore it on their rings, they wore it in their hair, they had the trench-coats with [airbrushing] on the back of it. I think at some point it got to be too much; I was like, ‘Well sh*t, maybe it is me. Maybe I am the king of kings, lord of lords around this b*tch.'”
The D.O.C. continues, “So [No One Can Do It Better] came out, and it was at about 750,000 in the first couple months. After that third month, I had an accident. I was high as a kite, drunk-driving down the 101 freeway. What’s funny is I had just gotten stopped by police in Beverly Hills, leaving the Beverly Hills Palm hotel, finagling with finaglers. Police stopped me [as I was] trying to get back to the crib. But I had N.W.A.’s gold records in my backseat. They saw the gold records; I start telling jokes—they gave me a ticket [after] taking pictures with me and the gold records. They let me go, f*cked up. Thirty minutes later, I fell asleep behind the wheel and lost my voice. When I woke up, I couldn’t talk. It was just crushing. I really don’t have the words to make you eloquently understand how deep that hole was, right? I didn’t have a voice, and I can remember tears just streaming, and I didn’t have the energy to try to make a sound to go along with the water. It was a bad place. I stayed in that hole for about 10, maybe 15 years. I’d show at up at the studio, at The Chronic sessions, and put my work in. I gave [Snoop Dogg] all I had to give during that time period. And when I was away from the studio, I’d be with the whores, being a whore—and being doped up, being drunk, ’cause that’s the only way that I could get back to a happy place.” The D.O.C. says that became a cycle that lasted him on jobs with Snoop and the late M.C. Breed.
The D.O.C. emotionally proclaims, “I thought that the success of those things—The Chronic [and others] would be a way for me to get my high back. But it seemed the higher that everybody else went, the lower I got.” D.O.C. credits Flint, Michigan’s Breed with creating an opportunity for him. He speaks on upsetting Dr. Dre by signing a six-figure deal with Giant Records to make Helter Skelter. That album, a follow-up to No One Can Do It Better, stole its title from a rumored Dre and Ice Cube album that Death Row promoted in 1994. The D.O.C. speaks about the complexities of his relationship with Dre. He also claims writing elements of “F*ck Tha Police,” “Straight Outta Compton,” “Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang,” and other hits.
In recent years, The D.O.C. has been able to get his melodic voice back, something he discovered through yawning. Following some appearances alongside Bishop Lamont and fellow Ruthless alum, Above The Law’s Cold 187um, he says that music may be coming soon. However, the veteran writer spoke at length in the second part of the documentary about Peter Johnson, a Civil Rights activist from Dallas who was reportedly the youngest person on Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s staff. He speaks about the film at length at 14:30 in Part 2.