Tale of the Tape | The D.O.C.'s "The Grand Finale" ft. N.W.A.
We’ll be revisiting the track from The D.O.C.’s classic 1989 debut, ‘No One Can Do It Better.’
In hip hop, fans and critics often marvel at and put a premium on the supreme soloists or groups who can craft classic songs and bodies of work while remaining the central figure. However, the most electric moments in the culture occur when multiple emcees collaborate on a track with the sole purpose of asserting themselves as the most lyrically gifted by delivering an epic rhyme spill that outclasses the others. Throughout the years, the songs — which are generally referred to as “posse-cuts” — have become some of the most memorable in the genre’s history, as rap’s most legendary stars team up on wax and bringing the most rabid of rap fans’ fantasies to reality.
In celebration of these historic songs and what they mean to the culture, REVOLT TV presents: Tale of the Tape, our series in which we break down the greatest posse cuts of all time and rank the verses from worst to first.
In our latest installment of the series, we’ll be revisiting “The Grand Finale” from The D.O.C.’s classic 1989 debut, No One Can Do It Better. One key ingredient that went in the making of N.W.A.’s groundbreaking debut, Straight Outta Compton, and that often gets overlooked is the penmanship of rapper The D.O.C., who was also responsible for a majority of the material from Eazy-E’s own 1988 solo debut, Eazy Duz It.
In 1989, Ruthless Records presented The D.O.C. as the label’s next rap star with the Dallas native and Los Angeles transplant hitting the ground running with the hit singles “It’s Funky Enough” and “The Formula.” Both tracks would top the Hot Rap Singles chart, helping bring No One Can Do It Better pass the gold certification mark. Hailed as a critical masterpiece, the album positioned The D.O.C. as an heir to the throne of west coast rap. However, those dreams were dashed in November 1989 when the rapper was injured in a near fatal car accident. The accident would result in his larynx being crush, forever altering his voice.
While The D.O.C. would release two additional solo albums and contribute to the making of Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, his career never reached the heights it had before, making for one of the biggest “what if” stories in the history of rap. With the 20th anniversary of No One Can Do It Better looming, one song from the album that remains revered among rap enthusiasts is “The Grand Finale,” a posse-cut that combines The D.O.C. with N.W.A. While other songs on the album were more commercially successful, this collaborative effort captures the hottest collective from Cali at their peak. It’s a reminder of The D.O.C.’s stature within the annals of west coast hip hop.
Without further adieu, check out a ranking of the verses on “The Grand Finale” below.
With Ruthless Records and N.W.A. putting all of their muscle behind No One Can Do It Better to ensure its success, of course The D.O.C. would headline the album’s obligatory posse-cut. The Los Angeles transplant gets the cue from Dr. Dre before he delves into his lyrical grab-bag, stringing together wordy couplets that display his advanced rhyme schemes, while getting listeners more familiar with his name. That being said, his performance failed to create the epic climax that many were expecting.
Standout Lyrics: “The D.O. to the C. knowin’ the formula/It’s rough, I mean it’s funky enough for me/And you can have a listen, helpin’ and some dissin’/D-O-N-T M-O-V-E yo without permission/From the D.O. to the C., I’m just better than/The normal man and I’ll be damned if a sucker can/Ever compete with the elite, much less speak/It’s like dancing with two left feet.”
Long before rap figures boasted about writing checks instead of writing rhymes, Eazy-E was among the first impresario to truly gain stardom off the strength of another artist’s pen. However, that fact did little to make his verses less entertaining. His appearance alongside The D.O.C. and his group-mates attest to this. The third N.W.A. member to bless the track, Eazy-E is as captivating as ever, sending out threats with an enthusiasm that belies his sinister intentions. This makes for a quotable set of bars from the Ruthless mastermind.
Standout Lyrics: “They made it Eazy for me to come off like the enforcer/Mass murderin’ muthafuckas in a course of/An everyday situation where I would stalk by/Fuck a car, I do a motherfuckin’ walk-by/Eazy-E and the D.O. to the C. and/Run house and yo there’ll be no disagreeing/’Cause if there is some, you feeling staticy/Then I’m arrested (For what?) assault and battery.”
2. MC Ren
In his prime, MC Ren was considered one of the lyrically imposing artists in the rap game. The rapper’s gruff style and no-frills demeanor helped power many of N.W.A.’s greatest hits, making his attributes as an MC indispensable. MC Ren lives up to that reputation with his contribution to this free-for-all, on which he strings together slick punchlines and revels in his thuggery. Ren’s time on the mic is riveting throughout. But, he ultimately has to settle for second fiddle because his verses gets blocked from the top position.
Standout Lyrics: “If you’re weak, it ain’t your fault/Just take a kick in the ass and get turned into a pillar of salt/And niggas that bite me just to taste me/I make the punk muthafuckas buckle up for safety/And those that don’t, they caught from the flash/And swing like a bit when he’s caught in a whiplash/Giving him pain ’cause I’m urgent/Rearrange their muthafuckin’ face like a surgeon.”
1. Ice Cube
Prior to his departure from N.W.A. and Ruthless Records, one of Ice Cube’s last appearances alongside his partners in rhyme came on this highlight. Taking on the onus of being the first to step up to the mic, Ice Cube unleashes his fury in unbridled fashion, delivering a rhyme spill that showcases the lyrical technician in all his splendor. Matching his aggression with wit and guile, Cube puts forth a memorable showing that surpasses the excellence of his cohorts, earning him the top bragging rights on one of the first classic posse-cuts out of the west.
Standout Lyrics: “Hit up, Ice Cube tear shit up like a dude you can bet on/Collide like a head on/Collision, stutter stepping is an incision/Of a nigga saying exactly what I vision/Because I’m gone, you think I left you all/But I stay in yo’ ass like cholesterol/When I blast, I’m solid as Alcatraz/And if you escape, you better swim fast/’Cause I’ll catch ya, physically and mentally/And the capital punishment’s the penalty.”
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