David Weldon grew up in South Central Los Angeles. As he was coming of age as a hip-hop producer in the early '90s, he got caught up in a feud between the two biggest West Coast rap names of the time: Eazy-E and Dr. Dre. The pair had great success together with N.W.A, bringing gangsta rap to the masses, but Dre left the group over a financial dispute and allied with former bodyguard Suge Knight, as part of the upstart label Death Row Records.
Weldon, who goes by Rhythm D, was initially aligned with Death Row, and left not long before the release of Dre's legendary 1992 album The Chronic, complete with its eviscerating Eazy-E disses on "Fuck Wit Dre Day." "You fucked with me, now it's a must that I fuck with you."
Weldon instead joined the camp of Eazy's Ruthless Records, stepping into Dre's role as the label's in-house producer. Weldon's most memorable production to come out of this era, Eazy's "Real Compton City G's," was a response to "Fuck Wit Dre Day," and was equally raw: "Watch the sniper, time to pay the piper," Eazy rapped, as well as mocking Dre for the feminine outfits he'd worn in his previous group, World Class Wreckin' Cru.
Weldon went to great lengths to convince Eazy that the G-funk sound on "Real Compton City G's" set the appropriate tone. That the song was a hit — and helped Eazy get the last word in the famous battle — owed much to its sinister beat. Rhythm D's star was in orbit. But his newfound notoriety came at a cost: Those involved with the Ruthless/Death Row dispute had reason to be scared for their lives, and Weldon was watched over by a bodyguard named Big Animal. "I couldn't go nowhere," Weldon says. "It was a real beef."
Indeed, such beef would take the lives of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, and by the early 2000s Weldon had had enough. The Southern rap sound was ascendant, and he began making frequent trips to Atlanta. "Our music was caught up in gangsta rap instead of making people dance and have a good time," Weldon says. "The business was flourishing out here more than anywhere else. Instead of being mad at the South I came down here."
Working with rapper Bonecrusher and shown the city's ropes by V103's DJ Nabs, he became increasingly enchanted with Atlanta. "People here are a little more warm, with the Southern hospitality," he says.
Following the death of his sister from cancer, he quietly moved down here permanently in 2010, and now resides near where Atlanta meets Cobb County, off of Marietta Street. Not a lot of Atlantans realize they have a '90s production legend in their midst; Weldon also crafted the classic Paperboy track "Ditty," and helped Bone Thugs-n-Harmony define their sound on their first album