Published Mon, March 13, 2023 at 4:27 PM EDT
With co-signs from Erykah Badu and Snoop Dogg, The Codefendants don’t have anything to defend when it comes to pumping out intriguing content.
On Thursday (March 9), indie Hip-Hop juggernaut Ceschi Ramos, NOFX’s Fat Mike and the Get Dead’s Sam King dropped a new video for “Fast Ones” featuring The D.O.C., which arrives nearly a year after the single’s June 2022 release. Boasting cameos from some of the underground’s most prolific characters, including 2Mex, Freestyle Fellowship’s Myka 9, Awol One and producer Factor Chandelier, the video puts Ceschi and King on the witness stand during a makeshift trial about a dirty cop who goes on a killing spree and tries to frame The Codefendants. The D.O.C. is tasked with playing the role of an irate attorney while Fat Mike acts as the presiding judge.
Throughout the roughly four-minute visual, they touch on polarizing socio-political topics such as the fentanyl epidemic and police brutality. But beyond the thought-provoking imagery, lyrical excellence and menacing beat, the track contains the first verse from The D.O.C. in nearly 20 years. In 1989, The D.O.C. had just released his debut album No One Can Do It Better and was undoubtedly on his way to rap superstardom when he suffered a near-fatal car accident. In a cruel twist of fate, he survived but was left unable to speak. Contrary to popular belief, the accident isn’t what crushed his larynx, it was the medical care he received during the treatment process that stole his voice.
“The night of the accident, it was like a 24-hour period where I had tried both cocaine and ecstasy,” he admitted in an interview last April. “And then it just quit working when I was driving home.” When asked if he wished the officers would have arrested him, he replied, “I did that for about 30 years. But here recently, I understand that those officers were just a part of that time. Had they taken me to jail, I wouldn’t be here where I am right now today. Now, I have insight into an understanding that allows me to help a lot of other people who are in that same space.”
Thirty-four years later, The D.O.C. has accepted the hand he was dealt and, by all intents and purposes, made the best out of it. He penned numerous hits for N.W.A, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg (to name a few) and recently made a documentary about his life called The DOC, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year. Basically, he didn’t sit around feeling sorry for himself—at least, not for too long. There was a period of substance abuse and some unresolved anger he had to quell, but he made it. His zest and gratitude for life have become two of his most outstanding qualities.
“Once I finally got to meet The D.O.C. I was struck by how humble, wise, hilarious and down-to-earth the man was,” Ceschi tells ROCK THE BELLS. “He was extremely supportive of what we were doing. Although I knew I was in the presence of a Hip-Hop giant, it felt natural to be around. There was a moment when I helped record some of The D.O.C.’s vocals on this track and noticed he was pretty shy about having people around him, even though we all genuinely thought his voice sounded unique and amazing.”
And there’s a sense The D.O.C. is more comfortable about his voice than ever. The reception he got from the track’s initial release was overwhelming positive and endlessly encouraging.
“I never thought of it in terms of a return to rap,” he tells us. “I did it because Mike asked and I consider him a good friend. It actually felt great to be a part of making something someone else would hear where I could be as honest as I wanted. I don’t have fear with music. I’m comfortable there even with this voice, but I’d gotten comfortable working for others. But it’s really dope that people seem to appreciate it. I’m grateful for all of it ‘cause I know it’s a G.O.D thing not a D.O.C one.”
Fat Mike and The D.O.C. met through The DOC producer Gary Ousdahl, and many of the scenes were filmed at Mike’s house where Mike first played him The Codefendants’ music. Like The D.O.C. spits in his verse, he was enthralled by what he heard the minute Fat Mike played it for him. As he raps in the song, “But I saw light on that fuckin mic /That fuckin Fat Mike played some shit that I fuckin liked/Sketchy mufuckaz from the night painted fucking right /We gon’ stick our fuckin fingers into the world’s dykes/Trying to get these words out.”
There was a time when The D.O.C. didn’t think he’d ever get another word out again. But he’s persevered and carved out a life for himself he could’ve never imagined. Simultaneously, he’s blossomed into someone others take life lessons from, including Ceschi.
“I’ll never forget how inspiring it was to just have him remind me that what I do is special, that I can’t give up on myself or my art,” Ceschi says. “He seemed truly excited to be back on the mic and working with people who did this for the love of the music. Being around someone who has seen the absolute top of the game and was humbled by reckless choices made young in life. That helps put a lot into perspective for me as well since I’ve made plenty of wrong choices that could have lead to worse situations. I ended up in prison, kissed death and violence too many times to count. Meeting a man who has walked away from the rubble of disaster with kindness and gratitude on is face, that’s some truly inspiring energy to be around.”
“Fast Ones” serves as the fifth and final installment of The Codefendants’ ongoing video series before the album, This Is Crime Wave, is released on March 24. And like Ceschi says, “We don’t do this for the muddafuckin fame /That’s so fuckin lame.”