Sound: There are overrated records, there are underrated records, and finally there are records, that, for some reason, just fell out ot of public focus shortly after release, despite being exceptionally good. "No One Can Do It Better" may pretty much be one of that kind. Twenty year old D.O.C. (real name Tracy Lynn Curry) came to LA from his hometown Dallas in 1988, pursuing the carrier of a rapper. Meeting with N.W.A. crew and inking with Ruthless records was a spontaneous move, which lead, in fact, to cosmic changes in hip-hop industry. After contributing lyrics to several N.W.A. songs from their 1988 "Straight Outta Compton" (as well as to Eazy-E's debut LP), D.O.C. went solo. "No One Can Do It Better" was recorded in early 1989 at Audio Achievements Studio in Torrance, CA and produced by Dr. Dre. The Formula of the album was quite simple: Dre lays the tracks, D.O.C. writes the lyrics and raps. Musically, it consists mainly of samples from funk artists, with "Beautiful But Deadly" being an exception more akin to Run D.M.C. rock-hip-hop. But, man, those beats are phat! Sleazy, laid-back G-Funk tones were still couple years away; dense, multi-track layering production of Bomb Squad as an example was ignored. Hip-rock is present only on one track. "No One Can Do It Better" is not a gangsta rap album, neither it's a protest record. The positive vibe existing on it grabs you from the first track's "Y'all ready for this?" to the ultimate posse cut of "The Grand Finale". // 8
Lyrics: Despite being good musically, "No One Can Do It Better" lacks some in the lyrical content. D.O.C.'s rapping talent is undeniable - his flow is powerful, raspy and street-wise, truly remarkable rhyming skills - all here. But if you look into the songs - there's really nothing more than "I'm better than the other rappers" boast type of thing, and that spoils the whole impression of the record. Still, the rhymes lay onto the beats just flawlessly. // 6
Overall Impression: D.O.C. has never gotten a proper chance to prove that he can do it better, than "No One Can Do It Better". That car crash of November 1989 left him unable to perform music professionally any more. Yet, to me, his talent will never be overshadowed by what came after - solo Ice Cube records, Dre with his proteges and the whole plethora of gansgta/LA scene rappers.
"No One Can Do It Better" is a unique blend of East and West Coast at the time when they were quite distant. The rapping style and flow are definitely LA style, but lyrics contain no n-ggaz/b-tchez/AKs/187s/f*ck/sh!t. Beats and overall production are truly West Coast, but, then again, the mood is positive and upbeat, resembling early Def Jam talents. Best songs are "It's Funky Enough", "Mind Blowin'", "The Formula", "The Grand Finale".
With all due respect to the D.O.C., I think the right name for the album after all these years would be "Very Few Could Do It Better". And yeah, it's indeed funky enough. // 9