The D.O.C. Explains The Real Elements Of The Rap Formula

On his 1989 solo debut, No One Can Do It Better, The D.O.C. had a highlight single with “The Formula.” The Dr. Dre-produced Ruthless/Atlantic Records track begins with the lyrics, “High energy flowin’ with the wisdom / Sense of a rich man, knowledge and the rhythm / This is what I’m using to come up with a style.” In the ensuing bars, Tracy Curry explained how he cultivated a standout approach to rapping. The Dallas, Texas native and member of the Fila Fresh Crew quickly became one of the most respected MCs not from the East Coast in during the 1980s decade.

Celebrating a new documentary film, which recently premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, The D.O.C. made his latest appearance on Sway In The Morning. Sway Calloways asks his guest about the mindset of today’s artists. Sway mentions Kendrick Lamar and The Game, two MCs who, like The D.O.C., have Dr. Dre in their corner.

The D.O.C. Speaks About Idolizing Rakim & Making Plans To Work On New Music Together (Video)

“When I was young, I wanted to be the greatest,” shares The D.O.C. just before the 19:00 mark. “That’s why I stood in front of ‘The King of Kings’ [statue on No One Can Do It Better artwork]—one of the reasons; I wanted to make that connection. But now, today, I understand that’s not what this sh*t is about. I don’t want to be king anymore; I want to be a servant—because it feels better, you grow more, you get more, you learn more, you do more when you give more.”

He continues, “There’s no such thing as a f*ckin’ king. All you guys that are in the game now stand on the shoulders of great men that came before you. You can’t do what you is doin’ unless they was doin’ what they were doin’.” Even while he appeared on 1987’s N.W.A. And The Posse album, The D.O.C. cites influences, which include some contemporaries as well as MCs who debuted in the first half of the ’80s. “You were talkin’ about ‘The Formula,’ the reason I got to be so good at this thing is because of [Rev] Run, Rakim, KRS-One, and Slick Rick. I studied those dudes to the point to where to whatever they could do, I could do. Then I added a little me into it—and then that’s the formula. Every guy that claims to be a king, that’s the same formula that they’ve used—whether they’ll admit it or not. They studied this guy, this guy [who] thought he was dope. They started doin’ things that sounded like that guy, and over a period of time it morphed into themselves, and that’s how they were made. So you can’t be the king if you added D.O.C. in your sauce. That means we the king.”

The D.O.C. Reveals Which Songs He Wrote For Dr. Dre’s The Chronic Album (Video)

As Sway In The Morning co-hosts Heather B recalls The D.O.C.’s groundbreaking impact, and Tracy G draws modern comparisons, the guest uses his moment to celebrate Kendrick Lamar. “I gotta say this about Kendrick. Because if I’d have lived in that [Rap] space and continued to grow, I would’ve liked to grow into that.” “To become Kendrick?” asks Sway for clarification. “Yeah,” confirms Curry. The D.O.C. appears to be alluding to his car accident, which derailed a promising career after the MC’s voice was compromised- before recent years, The D.O.C. discovered some vocal recovery, including a singing ability.

The D.O.C. continues, “That’s why I love the guy—and this is with all due respect—he has my tendencies. Because he doesn’t have a cadence; he has ’em all. He doesn’t have a way of doing it; he has a plethora of ways that he does it, just depending on what the beat says [to] do. Some rappers, they rap the way they rap—and no matter what the beat is, they’re gonna rap that way. I was never like that because of the way I chose to teach myself. If a beat came in that sounded like [Slick] Rick, you would hear a lot of Rick in the rap—or that sounded like Ra’, you would hear a lot of [Rakim]. You always heard Run because of that voice, that power thing. So yeah, Kendrick, to me, the dude can do anything. He can do what [other rappers] can do, but [other rappers] can’t do what he can do.”

Kendrick Lamar Interviews N.W.A. & Asks All The Right Questions (Video)

Last year, Eminem and The D.O.C. worked together on Dr. Dre’s “Gospel.” In April, The D.O.C. made a cameo appearance in HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of The Lakers Dynasty.

#BonusBeat: The most recent episode of Ambrosia For Heads’ What’s The Headline podcast revisits the Top 20 Hip-Hop albums of all-time, as decided by our readers. That list includes albums featuring contributions from The D.O.C.: