Thursday, 7 June 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #204 - The D.O.C., "No One Can Do It Better"

Firstly, let it be called that the "Y'all ready for this" at the beginning of 2 Unlimited's No Limits opens the album. I love it when fragments like that are traced back to the original random blurt. Secondly, this is Dr Dre knocking about in the studio in 1989, so almost contemporary with "Stright Outta Comption". Although hip hop was moving so quickly during this period that there would have been considerable developments over the course of a couple of nights.

DOC seems to straddle the Eighties and Nineties ends of the Golden Age. "It's Funky Enough" whines with cartoon aggression like a forerunner of Cypress Hill, while "Lend Me An Ear" has the vintage R&B snatches and 808 bass of the Eric Bs and Eighties East Coast business. Even his flow seems to bridge Ice Cube and the less shouty, more straight-talking styles of Tupac and so on. Bass worship on "Let the Bass Go" ("I make this record for you to jam, so use it") is very welcome. Definitely not that gangster. "Beautiful But Deadly" is very Eighties, demonising women rather than brutalising them into bitches and hoes. Even PE had "She Watch Channel Zero?".

This Ruthless protegee was involved in a car accident which damaged his voice and his promising partnership with Dre was pretty much over. But this album still emerged, a year or two earlier than you might think on first listen. And it does sound packed with possibilities.  "Whirlwind Pyramid" has the Bomb Squad energy of the early Ice Cube albums: jazz pancakes and rattling drums piled up on each other. (But did he say "pywamid"?) "The Formula" hosts the beginnings of G-Funk.

"Hey, baby, what the fuck you still listening to this side for?/You can turn the shit over now." Sounds like Samuel L Jackson. Oh, I recognise the tune sampled in "D.O.C. AND THE DOCTOR" from something of a similar vintage - aaahh, Jungle Brothers' Straight Out The Jungle!! Cool. "Knowledge is the key/And hard work is the fee" - more of the entertainer than the thug-for-life rapping about how much coke he's pushed that week. That's the title track, which manages to avoid James Bond - so thumbs up. "The Grande Finale" even has a live bands with a drum kit and everything. Plus guest spots from NWA colleagues like Eazy E.

Rating: Straight out of Eighties Nineties

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