The D.O.C. Dr Dre N.W.A. Texas Los Angeles old school No One Can Do It Better Lend Me An Ear vocal golden voice Rakim Kool G Rap West Coast rap hip-hop
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The D.O.C. - “Lend Me An Ear”
When I first got into old school rap, I fell pretty hard for the talents of Tracy Curry, otherwise known as The D.O.C. He was one of the few emcees who really outright impressed me with his vocal capabilities, both in ability and sound. On the mic he was nimbleness personified, delivering these dense lines of smart rhymes at a breakneck pace, and never did he falter (well, he did on one song, just to point out how damn good he was). His voice too was quite mellifluous, as he had this raw, gritty drawl which revealed his Texan origin and sounded so striking and more than capable. No other emcee sounded like The D.O.C., and very few could match how gracefully he delivered his lines. To me, The D.O.C. still ranks as one of the best to ever pick up a mic.
His incredible skill can be heard throughout his debut, 1989’s No One Could Do It Better. At the time, The D.O.C. was unofficially a member of the World’s Most Dangerous Group, the rabble-rousing, Conservative mind-blowing outfit known as N.W.A. D.O.C. was one of the group’s go-to writers, picking up the slack after Ice Cube and Ren and becoming particularly good buddies with producer Dr. Dre, who produced the debut. Musically, No One Could Do It Better has all of Dre’s classic, pre-Chronic cues, with slick grooves with a crisp electronic sound, the perfect backdrops for Curry’s fantastic vocals. The album is a definite classic, with several tip-top tracks I found myself bumping for a quite a while.
“Lend Me An Ear” is by far my most played from the record. Believe me when I say that there was a good month of this track on repeat for me. What really drew me into this particular listen was the speed of it. Dre goes nuts here, throwing in frenzied breaks and numerous samples over a beat that runs like a cheetah driving a Ferrari that’s also on fire.
And The D.O.C.? Well, he completely demolishes the bitch, delivering endlessly wonderful quotables. Hell, it’s been years but I can still recite most of the lyrics off the top of my dome on this one. I still love the bit about multiple choice questions.
It makes it all the more sadder that Curry would lose his golden voice, as his vocal cords were severed in a car accident not long after the record’s release. He spent several years sidelined as a result. Had that not have happened, there is no doubt that he would’ve been just as revered as top-flight emcees like Rakim and Kool G. Rap. But with his lyrics and No One Can Do It Better, he still left one hell of an impact.