The D.O.C.: The D.O.C. and the Doctor (Noisy Mix)
From 12″ (Ruthless, 1989)
Above the Law: Murder Rap
From 12″ (Epic, 1990). Also on Livin’ Like Hustlers (Epic, 1990)
Breeze: L.A. Posse
From 12″ (Atlantic, 1989). Also on The Young Son of No One (Atlantic, 1989)
Bonus-D.O.C.: Portrait of a Masterpiece (Remix)
From “Mind Blowin'” 12″ (Ruthless, 1990)
“KDAY…1580…AM STEREO!” I’m sad to say, I discovered KDAY late in its life, maybe about a year or so before it got sold off and turned into a Spanish-language station. Before that though, KDAY was THE rap radio station – not just on the West Coast, but the only 24-hour hip-hop presence on the AM waves anywhere in the nation.
The great thing about KDAY – apart from the talent that passed through their hallways (Dr. Dre was an early KDAY Mixmaster, among many, many others) – was that, as an L.A. station, it helped relay all the hot hip-hop pumping out of NYC but it wasn’t about to neglect its home turf in So Cal either. Especially for anyone who’s ever remotely appreciated L.A. hip-hop pre-Chronic, you’ll realize that gangsta rap aesthetics were hardly that far from all the new school jams coming from the East. If anything, what folks like Dr. Dre, DJ Pooh, Sir Jinx (just to name the most obvious cats) were putting together was as hard-edged as anything you’d hear from the five boroughs.
For me, all of 17, just coming into hip-hop awareness, KDAY was like a godsend for opening my ears to all sorts of artists. I know, for a fact, that the station (along with Dee Barnes, as it were) was my first exposure to:Boogie Down Productions, X-Clan, Public Enemy, Ice Cube and a host of other, now-legendary artists who would help form my initial personal canon. I was so enamored with the music that KDAY was introducing me too that even Professor Griff’s “Pawns in the Game” sounded hot.
So I’m throwing a small little shout-out to KDAY through this post, highlighting a few songs that I grew up listening on their station, including some of my all-time favorite L.A. songs of all time. The first is from one arguably one of the most talented rappers to ever pass through the West: The D.O.C. Before a car accident destroyed his vocal chords and ended what would have been a career that could have made Snoop seem like a little doggy dogg, D.O.C. was THE Man. Powerful voice, untouchable flow, and just a presence on the mic that towered over the entire NWA posse. “The D.O.C. and the Doctor,” was my first introduction to him and it remains my favorite song by him even though he’s had bigger hits (“Funky Enough”). It’s just how ill the song opens – the thrash guitar, the convo b/t him and Dre, and the explosive: “I’m the diggy-diggy-Doc-ya’ll” which is only outdone by the opening to the 2nd verse: “When I hear a BASS drum/I gotta get dumb.”
Keep in mind: the version here was also what they used for the video but the “Noisy Mix” was not on the D.O.C.’s No One Can Do It Better album – that version was less punchy. You gotta roll with the 12″ if you want the Noisy Mix and believe me, you want to roll with it.
No less ass-kicking is Above the Law’s “Murder Rap,” whose klaxon sample rang loud and true for months on KDAY. I’m probably wrong about this, but ATL’s Livin’ Like Hustlers album was the first that I recalled Dr. Dre handling that was outside of the WWC and NWA camps and Dr. is simply killing it on the entire LP with cut after cut of the sickest funk breaks you could imagine. “Murder Rap,” isn’t the only explosive track on that album but to me, it’s always hit the hardest – a sledgehammer to the dome.
Breeze’s “L.A. Posse,” is closer to the Cali sound that most expecct: some fat-clap P-Funk grooves. Breeze, aka The Young Son of No One, busted out with this one in 1989 and while I never remember his actual lyrics, that hook stays with you: “whoo! L.A.! Cali-for-nigh-aaaaay!” Twist up the W.
I included another D.O.C. cut as a bonus track: the hip-house remix of “Portrait of a Masterpiece.” The LP version is on some fast n’ furious steez but Dre dips back to his WWC days me thinks for this version. I’m sorry but while I like some hip-house (Mr. Lee!), this just doesn’t quite work for me. Someone as rough n’ rugged as D.O.C. just doesn’t sound right over these cheap basslines and four-on-the-floor beat. Cheesier than fondue.