The D.O.C. Readies First Performance In More Than 30 Years

The D.O.C. Readies First Performance In More Than 30 Years

Published Tue, April 18, 2023 at 5:32 PM EDT

The D.O.C. delivered his first verse in nearly 15 years via Codefendants’ new album, This Is Crime Wave, something nobody necessarily saw coming.

In November 1989, a mere three months after The D.O.C. dropped his platinum-certified solo album No One Can Do It Better, the Death Row Records co-founder fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into the side of a Los Angeles freeway. Because he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt, he flew out of the rear window and slammed face-first into a tree. His injuries required 21 hours of plastic surgery and more than two weeks in the hospital. When he eventually woke up, he realized he’d been left with the inability to speak—but it wasn’t caused by the accident itself. A procedure he underwent during the medical melée had crushed his larynx, which he didn’t learn until years later.

Needless to say, he didn’t think he’d ever rap again. 

Enter NOFX’s Fat Mike. In 2007, he signed The Get Dead to his Fat Wreck Chords label and became a close friend of the band’s singer, Sam King. King had discovered indie Hip-Hop folk artist Ceschi Ramos online and ultimately forged a friendship. One day, King brought Ramos to Fat Mike’s house and a collaborative relationship soon blossomed. From there, The Codefendants were born. As The D.O.C. was working on his documentary, The DOC, he met Fat Mike through the film’s producer, Gary Ousdahl, and wound up shooting part of it at Fat Mike’s home. At some point, Fat Mike played him some of the Codefendants music and convinced D.O.C. to spit a verse. The end result was “Fast Ones,” one of 10 tracks on This Is Crime Wave

“I think it was just about showing up and doing the work,” The D.O.C. says. “I wrote that verse in 10 minutes. I wrote it on the way to the studio. When I got there, I had to read it. It was that simple. But I remember saying that I'm not gonna try, you know? ‘Cause if I try…I don't want it to sound like I'm trying. So I just said the words. I didn't put a whole lot of anything into it. I just used what was natural.” 

But as effortless as that was, The D.O.C. has a bigger challenge awaiting him just around the corner. On Saturday (April 22), The D.O.C. will rap for a crowd for the first time in more than three decades as part of the Punk In Drublic Festival in Austin, Texas. 

“I haven’t been on stage rapping in front of a crowd of people of any consequence in more than 30 years,” he says. “So I'm about to do that for the first time. Well, wait a minute. I did get on the stage with Mike a couple of years ago, but I'm talking about rapping, where I'm rapping words and people are listening and probably knowing some of the words and will probably be saying the words. I haven’t done that in 30 years.” 

The D.O.C. is referring to a moment in December 2021 when Fat Mike brought him onstage during a show in Dallas. Full of adrenaline, he ended up singing along to NOFX’s 1995 single “Kill All The White Man” as the crowd cheered him on. Although The D.O.C. calls it “the best night of my fucking life,” it will likely pale in comparison to what he’ll experience on April 22 in Austin. 

As King explains, “We just did it live two nights in a row in Los Angeles, and we have this instrumental break where Zeta does some instrumental stuff where The D.O.C. is supposed to be, and the crowd is already just spitting his verse over the beat. It’s fucking crazy. People were feeling the show, and they’re going to lose their shit when he shows up.” 

The thread tying Fat Mike, The D.O.C., Ramos and King goes well beyond music—and is as punk rock as it gets. Their spirit of rebellion is alive and well, accented by more than just the bright blue hue of Fat Mike’s hair. In one way or another and within a variety of music genres, they all flipped a collective bird to the establishment. 

“That’s why we fuck with D.O.C. so hard,” King says. “He wants to get in and do music that's gonna make him express what he wants to talk about. Like, ‘What do wanna talk about?’ That all this shit is fucked up. This is an antiquated system. Fuck these people and fuck this shit. He’s got the same fucking appetite to destroy this shit that we do.” 

This Is Crime Wave is currently available on all streaming platforms. Don’t be surprised to see more collaborations from the Codefendants and The D.O.C. in the near future. In the meantime, those in Austin can catch The D.O.C. alongside NOFX, Circle Jerks, Subhumans, Pennywise and more on April 22 and 23. Find more information about the Punk In Drublic Festival here

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