"No One Can Do It Better" than The D.O.C. As Reminded By "Expanded Edition" of 1989 Dr. Dre Produced West Coast Rap Landmark

Posted by Billyjam, June 5, 2016 09:30am | Post a Comment

  The D.O.C. No One Can Do It Better (Expanded Edition)
Among the releases to arrive at Amoeba Music this week is the newly reissued version of a West Coast hip-hop staple: No One Can Do It Better (Expanded Edition) by The D.O.C. This must-have hip-hop classic, originally released back in 1989 on Ruthless Records and executive produced by Eazy-E, is truly a landmark West Coast Rap album. Coming at a time when N.W.A. were at their career peak and reigned supreme (Ice Cube was still in the group) the album featured the definitive production of Dr. Dre which perfectly complimented the dope flow of this extended family member of N.W.A. Oft overlooked and not given near the same level as props as some of his fellow Golden Era emcees, the Texas born to Compton transplant hip-hop artist was a superbly talented lyrical master of his genre with a unique and commanding style of rapping, coupled with excellent rhyme writing skills.

The D.O.C. "It's Funky Enough" from No One Can Do It Better (Expanded Edition)

Sadly his career as rap vocalist (read more detailed early in following paragraphs) would be cut prematurely short due to an auto accident that destroyed his vocal chords. This late 80's solo debut album of his, that would not have a follow up until the middle of the next decade, offered so many  great songs like the well worn single "It's A Funky Enough" that defined the West Coast golden era sound. In years since "It's Funky Enough" has been commissioned to appear in such games as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Madden NFL 2005 and True Crime: Streets of LA. In addition to the emcee's flow, credit for this album goes to his producer Dr. Dre who was on fire at this time. This newly released Expanded Edition of No One Can Do It Better record comes via Real Gone Music, the label that reissued the album on LP back in April for Record Store Day 2016. On this new CD version you get seven additional tracks including remixes and some instrumentals. There's an Acappella as well as an instrumental of the artist's best known hit single, "It's Funky Enough." The remixes include "The D.O.C. And The Doctor (Noisy Mix)," "The Formula (Funky FM Mix)" and "Mind Blowin' (Remix)." The remaining two bonus tracks are "Somethingtabumpinyacar" and an instrumental of the album single "The Formula."

The D.O.C. "The Formula" from No One Can Do It Better (Expanded Edition)

Tracy Curry, or Tray as he was known by friends, was  born in Houston,TX but moved to Dallas where in 1986 he became a member of the hip-hop trio Fila Fresh Crew along with Fresh K and Dr. Rock.  Originally he went by the rap name Dr. T but later switched it to Doc T.  The Fila Fresh Crew would migrate west to relocate to the Compton area of Los Angeles where, through Dr Rock's World Class Wreckin Cru era affiliations with a talented young DJ/producer named Dr Dre, landed several of the trio's tracks on the 1987 album N.W.A. and the Posse. This Macola/Ruthless release was essentially a compilation showcasing the talents of extended N.W.A. family including Eazy E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, DJ Yella, and the Arabian Prince, plus the Fila Fresh Crew. Four of the Fila's tracks were featured on the N.W.A. LP including "Tuffest Man Alive." That title, Tuffest Man Alive, was also the name of the group's own album that, featuring the same songs,  would be released on Macola a year later. Receiving a lukewarm response for their album and its single from it, "Dunk The Funk" the Fila Fresh Crew would soon after disintegrate. 

By the time the Fila Crew had come to an end the D.O.C., a skilled battle emcee who displayed a superior lyrical finesse and a knack for writing memorable rhymes, had already moved on to work with the members of N.W.A. In no time he had proven himself an invaluable part of the Ruthless creative team.  In tandem with the young and talented Ice Cube (the main writer) he ghost-wrote a good deal of Eazy-E's 1988 debut album Eazy-Duz-It (the two also guested on the opening prelude track "Still Talkin'" ). Not long afterwards he got busy both ghost-writing for and contributing vocals to N.W.A.'s landmark 1988 Straight Outta Compton album on which he appeared on the track "Parental Discretion Iz Advised."  By this time he had officially changed his rap handle to "The D.O.C."  apparently abbreviating "Doc" to  D.O.C. as a direct influence of N.W.A.'s use of periods between each abbreviated letter of their name.

The following year, after spending several months holed up in the studio with Dr. Dre who reutilized much of the same magic that he had applied to Straight Outta Compton, the D.O.C. released his own solo debut, 1989's No One Can Do It Better. Reissued this week as No One Can Do It Better (Expanded Edition) the album, which went platinum, displayed his bountiful versatile skills as an emcee/lyricist and cemented his place in the hip-hop history books.  Photographed on the album cover was the D.O.C. sporting an LA Kings baseball hat (the unofficial N.W.A. uniform) standing in front of a Christian looking stone statue and proudly wearing a medallion with the Afro-centric red, black, and green colors that was popular in hip-hop at the time, encompassing several aspects of hip-hop culture.  Meanwhile the album's tracks offered an equally all-rounded diverse collection that simmered with tough, anti-authoritarian, yet conscious lyrics grounded by head-bobbing, hard-funk driven trademark Dr. Dre tracks. Other styles represented included the reggae flavored "Funky Enough" and the rock-rap hybrid "Beautiful But Deadly." Fans and critics alike were in awe of the D.O.C. and rated him among hip-hop's elite.  In his book Hip-Hop America author Nelson George referenced, "two of the best lyricists ever, Ice Cube and the D.O.C."  

Like a pre-written VH1 Behind The Music special the artist's career would take a tragic downturn right as it was about to fully blossom. Not too long after the release of No One Can Do It Better a terrible tragedy struck when the D.O.C. was in a serious, near fatal, car accident in which his vocal chords were severed, prematurely ending his promising career as a vocalist. The smooth flow he once possessed was gone, replaced by a gruff gravely raspy voice that was difficult to understand in speech alone, never mind as a rapper.  Accepting his tragic fate but refusing to give up on music altogether the D.O.C. continued to write for others, acting as a ghost-writer to such key West Coast albums as N.W.A.'s post-Cube Efil4zaggin, Dr. Dre's The Chronic (scan over album cover image below for details) and Snoop Doggy Dogg's Death Row debut Doggystyle.  And in 1996 he would attempt a fully-fledged return to the mic with the album Helter Skelter (and again in 2003 with the album Deuce) but since his larynx never fully recovered from the accident and his voice a shadow of its former glorious self, this emcee  would never recapture that magic of his 1989 debut. While The D.O.C. has since remained active and relevant behind the scenes, as a performing artist his career is best captured on the 1989 solo debut album of his re-released this week as No One Can Do It Better (Expanded Edition)

Relevant Tags

Ruthless Records (1), Doggystyle (1), Snoop Doggy Dogg (5), West Coast Rap History (3), The D.o.c. (2), The Chronic (2), No One Can Do It Better (2), N.w.a. (12), Dr. Dre (11)