The man behind the rhymes of Dr. Dre and several other superstar artists reveals to DX the reasons for professionally separating from his "brother."
Hip Hop’s most accomplished ghostwriter, The D.O.C., has ended his working relationship with Dr. Dre.
Speaking exclusively to HipHopDX on Wednesday (January 26th), the mind behind rhymes for Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and several other artists within the Ruthless Records, Death Row Records and Aftermath Entertainment camps over his 23 year tenure in the music industry explained to DX why he has ceased contributing to Dre’s long-delayed Detox.
The author of arguably the greatest debut album of any solo artist in Hip Hop history, (whose powerful voice was reduced to a raspy whisper after a car wreck fractured his voice box just two months after his platinum breakthrough, 1989’s No One Can Do It Better), elaborated in an at times vague, but clearly personally pained way as to how his historic “Formula” with Dr. Dre has been poisoned by greed and ego.
[Writer’s note: The portion of Q&A presented below picks up at the point in D.O.C.’s discussion with DX after he reveals the stem cell surgery he is planning to have performed by an Italian doctor soon to restore his voice. That portion of Q&A will be presented in full in a forthcoming DX news feature]
The D.O.C.: I started talking to this [doctor] a couple of years ago. I was thinking about having this surgery to get my voice back. And maybe do a record, and continue with a [recording] career. But at that time, I was so settled in to helping [Dr.] Dre do his thing that it wasn’t really necessary for me to make records. Because, I can get the messages I wanted to get out through Dre. Detox was coming. In my mind Detox was supposed to be a departure from where we were. We were getting high, so now it’s time to detox. [And] now that we’re 40-plus…it’s time to start talking about some more **** [than what we used to talk about]. But we just have a difference of opinion where that’s concerned. So maybe I should get my voice back, I started to think again. Because I got a lot of **** to say, and it just don’t sound right coming from anybody else but me. Because of the differences in opinion [with Dre], I told you I reached out to [Jay-Z] last week. Jigga’s so far beyond what Rap is on a regular level. He’s an international kinda guy. And, I really need somebody powerful to be some wind at my back to pull everything off the way I want to.
It’s been a lot of negative **** that’s happened to me trying to give in this Rap ****. A lot of it at Ruthless [Records]; a lot of it at Death Row [Records]… All my time [during] my 20 strong years in the game was [spent] helping build two classic ****in’ labels. Even though…by a long-shot I didn’t get what the **** I was supposed to have. *****s got wealthy and damn-near just turned their back on me, and it’s kinda hard to accept on a certain level.
I’m a G-O-D kid. Cash don’t rule everything, God rule everything around me. So when it’s time for me to stand up and speak, I know that that **** is gonna happen. I know that I got this voice for a ****in’ reason, otherwise I’d a been dead on that freeway ‘cause ain’t no ****in’ way you get to live through no **** like that unless there’s a reason.
DX: Let’s just clarify real quick before we go any further, are you saying that you’re not working with Dre at this point?
The D.O.C.: I’m saying that I did all I could do for Dre on this particular record. And I don’t even know if any of my work will be there, because he’s got his own ideas about the way he wants it to go. And you gotta respect that. Even though I played the second set of ears on every mutha****in’ thing else, now we at the stage where he don’t really trust what I’m saying. And I gotta respect him. I love him. So I gotta move back and let him do what he doing. And whatever that is, I’m going to respect it and ride wit’ it – whether or not it woulda been something I would of chose.
I believe that the point we are in the game as far as Hip Hop is concerned, we at a stage in the game where the music itself has become so powerful. Being in the information age, being able to get on Twitter and your site…record labels in 10 years will be obsolete. You won’t need them. So the power is being shuffled around. And those in the most powerful places, they not fin to just let they **** go… They’re going to grab a hold to the *****s with all the money, and they’re going to pull them *****s in a room and rub these *****s on their booties and make ‘em feel like it wouldn’t be **** without them.
I always tell mutha****as, anytime you get a classic record, no matter who sings on it, it took at least five mutha****as that are really good at what they do to make that record. And that’s real ****.
But back to the subject at hand, what I planned on doing was building an album – actually, two albums – and a reality show based around this stem cell operation [I’m going to have] over in Italy. I was gonna take these four or five artists that I got here in Texas, and this one female from New Orleans [with me] – all of which are the ****: two 23-year-olds, a 19-year-old white kid, and a little 9-year-old black kid from [my childhood neighborhood of] Oak Cliff, who was on [The Ellen DeGeneres Show] I think a year or so ago. And all these kids are really good. I know this music is about the young folks. It’s not about a 40-year-old ***** that’s trying to make a ****in’ comeback. That’s not what I’m here for. My **** has always been much bigger than that. I’m always into helping the next mutha****a be great, instead of concentrating on myself being great ‘cause when I came into the game I was already so far ahead of a lot of these other mutha****as that it made me feel good to help them [and] bring them on up in it.
So when Eazy-E first started the ****ery, it was shocking. Because, without me, Eazy don’t have a lot of that ****. [So] why would you **** me? Same thing with Dre. Dre, why would you **** me? Without me you wouldn’t have a lot of that ****. Why would you do that?!
DX: Can we just clarify once again? ‘Cause I wanna make it 100%, a 150% clear where your stance is with Dre as of this moment.
The D.O.C.: I love Dre like my brother. There’s nothing that you could do, or he could do really, to take away that feeling. Money isn’t what make – We been through too much; we did too much. I did too much wit’ him to be like, Aw, **** him. But, it’s not where it’s supposed to be. It’s not where it’s supposed to be after all of that. It’s not supposed to be like it is today between me and this guy. He’s surrounded himself with people that [agree with] what he’s trying to say today. And I don’t agree with that ****, so it’s really no need for me to be around it.
DX: Can you cite a moment [where this separation happened]? Was it the “Kush” record, [or] was there something before that where you just knew you had to part ways?
The D.O.C.: Nah. And I haven’t parted ways with this guy. I told you I love this guy like he’s my brother, but creatively it’s just not where it used to be. We don’t see things on the same level from a creative standpoint. I may not have agreed with “Kush” as it stood. I may have thought something else [would have worked instead], [but] I don’t have enough power anymore in that camp to really pull strings like I used to. Them *****s used to listen to every ****in’ word I said. Now it seem like they don’t do that no more.
It used to be all about the love of helping these guys come up. But, ****, they up. I always thought that once they got up, I’d be up – especially after I lost my voice. But that don’t seem like that’s what that is. I don’t need to have a hundred million…I don’t need all of that. It’s not necessary for me to feel like I’ve accomplished something. The art is important to me. It means a lot to me. I didn’t go through all of this **** for nothing.
What I wanted to do was do an album with this voice that I got right now, go over to Italy and have the operation with this doctor, do a subsequent album after I rehab the old voice back, film everything and put that **** on TV Some real reality. And every time that they poke me and prod me and stick me, and every time that **** hurt like a mutha****a, I’ma holla. [Laughs] On some real ****. And at the same time, Americans will get to see some of those beautiful-ass Italian birds walking around. Some good ****. That’s the kinda **** that frees your mind.
But [for the time being] I’m laying in wait. I’m back in Texas right now. I’m not in Cali anymore. I’m laying in wait to see what’s gonna happen on the Detox record.
DX: What do you mean waiting to see – just, which songs they decide to put out?
The D.O.C.: Yeah. I’m waiting to see which songs that he chose, ‘cause he already know which ones I like.
DX: Sir Jinx told me that the stuff he heard, that Dr. Dre played for him, was similar to the song in the Dr. Pepper commercial. Do you know if that’s the stuff that they’re looking at trying to put out?
The D.O.C.: The Dr. Pepper commercial, that’s one of the tracks, but that one was leaked already. That was the one with T.I. on it I think, [“**** Popped Off”]. And that’s not a bad one. I like that rhythm; I like the groove. I’m laying in wait, I wanna see. I’m a fan just like you.
I worked for four years on that record with that dude. It didn’t used to take us that ****in’ long. We’d go in, and it was a couple of years maybe [and] we’d have what we needed. But, the game has changed. All the pieces of the puzzle ain’t there no more, ‘cause the money has ****ed up *****s’ minds. Everybody gotta be the big dog with the big ****. And that’s not how you create records. It’s gotta be love, and happy and fun and diggin’ it. The 2001 record was one that we had all got a chance to get together [for the first time] since the first Chronic record, and that **** was fun. It wasn’t really even about making music, it was just about, “Man, I can’t wait to get to the studio ‘cause all my little *****s gon’ be there. We gon’ smoke weed all day. We gon’ drink. Dre gon’ play some drums, and then whatever comes out comes out.”
But it’s a new day and time now. The kids is taking the Rap thing over. That’s why I really applaud Jay-Z, because he stayed so far above the clouds where the bull**** is concerned. He allows himself to be as great an entrepreneur as he ever was an artist. He allows himself to be a great human being first, an artist second, an entrepreneur and businessman third. And you gotta respect a man who’s strong enough mentally to be able to make all these power moves and do it on a low-key level where he don’t need that **** to blow himself up.