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Finding my voice: A conversation with Tracy 'The D.O.C.' Curry

“Don't get caught up in the glitz and glamor that Hollywood shoves down your throat… It's time for a change and if I am to be the vehicle for that change, first I must change myself.” - Tracy “The D.O.C.” Curry
Photo: Tracy Curry/courtesy - dlewis33/iStock
Graphic: Elodie Reed
“I'm living. I'm walking. I'm walking in the power today. I wasn't so much back then. But now things are beginning in such a way where what was once a hindrance is becoming a superpower.” - Tracy “The D.O.C.” Curry

Tracy “The D.O.C.” Curry is the OG of hip-hop, one of the originators of the genre itself. In 1989, a horrible car accident damaged his vocal cords at the height of his career. On this episode of Homegoings, Tracy shares how he found his voice and his purpose again on the other side of tragedy.

This is the latest episode of Homegoings, a podcast that features fearless conversations about race, and YOU are welcome here. Follow the series here.


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In November of 1989, Tracy “The D.O.C.” Curry was on top of the hip-hop world. He had a platinum-selling album No One Can Do It Better, was a writer on massively successful songs like N.W.A’s “Straight Outta Compton”, Eazy-E’s “Easy-Duz-It” and Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. Tracy even cofounded Death Row Records with Dr. Dre and Suge Knight. Tracy had money, ladies, fame, everything he’s ever dreamed of and more – he was invincible, or at least that’s what he thought.

But all of Tracy’s fame and glory came to a screeching halt – literally. At the age of 21, one bad decision and one tragic car crash put Tracy into a coma. When he woke up a couple of days later, he found that his voice was gone. After 21 hours of surgery to repair a crushed larynx, the doctors diagnosed it as irreparable. Tracy had completely lost the gift that had given him his livelihood.

The loss of Tracy’s voice has gone on record as one of the most tragic tales in hip-hop. Because he was a founding member of the movement writ large, it changed the face of the entire genre.

In good news, Tracy is alive and speaking. He may not sound the same as he did in the late ’80s, but regardless since his accident he’s done a lot of self-reflection and healing, released more music and these days he’s using his voice to help and empower others.

Deep listen

This track, from Tracy “The D.O.C.” Curry’s 1996 album Helter Skelter, lays out the story of his rise to fame, the tragedy of losing his voice and the triumph of finding it again.

HG-16-Finding My Voice-The DOC-From Ruthless 2 Death Row


This episode was reported and mixed by Myra Flynn, with help from associate producer James Stewart, and edited by Saidu Tejan-Thomas. The music was composed by Myra Flynn, Tim Sonnefeld and Miles Hooper. Elodie Reed is the graphic artist behind ourHomegoings artist portraits.

See you in two weeks for the next episode of Homegoings. As always, you are welcome here.

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Myra Flynn joined Vermont Public in March 2021 and is the DEIB Advisor, Host and Executive Producer of Homegoings. Raised in Vermont, Myra Flynn is an accomplished musician who has come to know the lay of dirt-road land that much more intimately through touring both well-known and obscure stages all around the state and beyond. She also has experience as a teaching artist and wore many hats at the Burlington Free Press, including features reporter and correspondent, before her pursuits took her deep into the arts world. Prior to joining Vermont Public, Myra spent eight years in the Los Angeles music industry.