Doc La – Look What They Did

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Doc La comes out of this song, his debut single, as an immediate force to be reckoned with in the rap and hip hop game. The high Billboard chart placement, number four as of February 1st, is thanks to “Look What They Did” chronicling Doc La’s struggles making his way into the music world and the various indignities of dealing with the “snakes” who demonstrated no respect for his heart and ambitions. This is a resounding statement of making it in a cruel world and he’s arrived with all the strength and class he can muster. He doesn’t rely on any of the posing or posturing that some might assume is natural with hip hop performers. Instead, he accomplishes his artistic goals because he completely understands what makes a terrific rap song and conveys his own personality with passion and vivid language. The language, perhaps, is the song’s greatest single highlight.

It’s a combination of street lingo, distinctive turns of phrase, and sometimes eyepopping imagery that makes you wonder why it ever took this guy so long to break out. You’ll hear few recent rap performers who attack their lyrics with such verbal ingenuity, yet retaining immense control over their delivery throughout. Doc-La takes listeners confidently through each verse, his voice moving in lock step with the music, and never stumbles over even a single syllable. The chorus is a strong peak in the song as, while the lyrical content is comparatively simplified, the emotional quality that Doc-La introduces into his vocal sets it apart from the more declamatory style he adopts in the verses, His insistence on announcing his name repeatedly will annoy no one. Instead, it serves as an almost second refrain that puts an added edge of attitude on an otherwise fine song as if to make the entire world aware of his presence.

The music is primarily constructed around bass and drums with some added synth bits thrown in for a lighter melodic touch. The connection between the bass and drums creates a strong groove from the outset without ever vying with Doc-La’s vocals for superiority in the mix. The song takes a relatively unexpected turn in the second half when the arrangement transforms into a much more suggestive, atmospheric piece with Doc-La’s voice still at the center of the song. His practically scat like vocals bring in another rhythmic quality to the song that distinguishes it from the first half while still sounding like a perfect fit for the song. This artist is already making an impact with his charting on Billboard and further chart success is expected thanks to the single’s steady rise, but the sky is the proverbial limit regarding how much further he can go from here. It’s a monumental achieve to already be experiencing the sales success that Billboard has chronicled Doc-La is an immediate force to be reckoned with in the hip hop and popular music community at large with songs like “Look What They Did” serving as the first superb building block towards greater things.


Shannon Cowden