Monday, June 16, 2014

Hip Hop Nostalgia 101, Session 36, A 25 Year Retrospective: The D.O.C.'s "No One Can Do It Better" (1989)

"I know The D.O.C. makes you want to take a Valium/So buy a bucket cause upcoming is my album!"

The D.O.C. uttered these words on N.W.A.'s "Parental Discretion Iz Advised," and today's session will indeed cover his debut, "No One Can Do It Better."

Release date: June 16, 1989

All songs produced by Dr. Dre for High Power Productions

1. It's Funky Enough

Sample check

"One, and here comes to the two to the three/And four, then I drop the beat I have in store"

"But in the event that someone will try and juice this/Stop him in his tracks, show him that I am Ruthless!"

CLASSIC opener and a GREAT choice for a first single. DOC makes tremendous use of one of Dre's most memorable beats and it gets the album started on the best note possible.
*Grade- A+

2. Mind Blowin

"To reveal debt, livin it up my life is like a story/Yellin it, cause nobody else is tellin it"

A very DOPE choice to follow "It's Funky Enough" and considering how ruggedly smooth he was flowin' to this beat, it was mind blowing at the time and he pulled it off so well.
*Grade- A+

3. Lend Me An Ear

 "Hard, dangerous, suckas angle this/Cut is raw, why, cause they can't hang wit this!"

Oh man, in today's terms I would say this is one fast paced banger, because that's exactly what it is. It remains dope as hell to bump in the ride and it damn sure wouldn't have been out of place being played at a party in '89 or 2014. TIGHT stuff here.
*Grade- A+

4. Comm. Blues
Lol, quite the funny skit, commercial, interlude, whatever you want to call it. DOC steps away to "take one of them long ass, 8 ball pisses," LOL. Michel'le then comes in to bless us all with a song. And in something that Dre was the first (and probably only) producer to utilize, I always liked how he would "buzz in" and communicate with the artist(s) while he was behind the boards; he also did this on Eazy-E's "Eazy Duz It." It's a small touch but something about it was so effective and he always did it at the right time.

5. Let The Bass Go

Sample check

DOC and Dre do just what the song says, let the bass go, to damn good results too.
*Grade- A+

6. Beautiful But Deadly
Over a NICE rock infused track courtesy of Dre on the drums and good ol Stan on the guitar, DOC talks in depth about a certain kind of woman that has his eye, and the "beautiful but deadly" description fits her perfectly based on his rhymes. The rock vibes here give it a dope touch that's not out of place.
*Grade- A+

After this song, DOC briefly and hilariously tells us to "turn the tape over," lol. "What the fuck you still listenin to this side fo?!," he asks. Lol. I have the original pressing of the CD, but still, lol.

7. The D.O.C. & The Doctor

Sample check

Hot damn, this joint, showing the undeniable chemistry between DOC and Dre is simply awesome (and my system loves it to this day). On the mic, DOC was FEELIN it here and how could he not?! Another classic in a series of them on this album.
Grade- A+

8. No One Can Do It Better

Sample check

"But a warning, to whom it may concern/If knowledge is the key, then I think it's time you learn"

Well, the title of this say it all and when it came to West Coast MCs at the time, who could do it better?
*Grade- A+

9. Whirlwind Pyramind  

Sample check

"Arrange the tempo when I go solo/The beat and the cut to a rhyme , and it's oh so/Raw, cause you want to jam/Then you go damn he's good and you're right cause I am"

This is another one of those songs on the album that does give off a party type vibe (even if they didn't mean to), but DOC (and Dre) make it work. That's HOW GOOD it is, yes indeed.
Grade- A+

10. Comm. 2
While DOC gets his lyrics together for the next record, MC Ren also stops by for the second commercial.

11. The Formula

Sample check

My words simply cannot do this classic any justice. The way Dre reworked Marvin Gaye's classic "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" for a smooth West Coast moment is incredible and DOC was just hard and mellow at the same time here, plus delivering one of the dopest opening verses I've ever heard. Classic material.
*Grade- A+

12. Portrait of a Masterpiece

DOC may have been one of the first to flow this quickly on a track and he succeeded. The lyrics are dope throughout and he manages to keep up with a somewhat fast beat. He even stops towards the end to admittedly catch his breath. A masterpiece indeed.
*Grade- A+

13. The Grand Finale
Featuring N.W.A.

Sample check

And what better way to close this awesome album than the entire crew getting together in the apply/appropriately titled "Grand Finale." DOC, Eazy, Cube, Ren, and Dre close the album in such a tight fashion that it leaves you wanting more.
*Grade- A+

Ok, we have to start with the sad, unfortunate news first. Not too long after the release of this album, DOC was involved in a car accident which left him with a crushed larynx, permanently altering his voice (by the grace of God this didn't kill him). This unfortunate accident effectively changed what was DEFINITELY a VERY promising career, and there's no telling what heights he would've risen too had that accident not taken place.

As for this album, it STILL holds up today and it's incredible, 25 years later. Lyrically? Outstanding. Production? Incredible. What more can I say? I'm sure that he would've been able to follow this up (in 1990 or 1991 perhaps), and again I shudder to think what type of career this man would've had if not for that accident. I also wonder if there is any material of his, prior to this album's release and the accident, that is still in the vault today (if it is, DOC can you GET a release, lol). Three months after its release it was certified Gold. This is one hell of a debut and if you're ever looking for an audio textbook on how to do a debut, this is it. Mad love and respect to the DOC and all involved for this classic.

Final Grade- A+ 

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