“DWYCK” by Gang Starr feat. Nice & Smooth (1992)

I literally just found out (10 seconds before typing this sentence) that DWYCK means “do what you can, kid”. Who knew? The internet knew, that’s who.

The meaning of “DWYCK” or even the title itself has nothing to do with my enjoyment of the song, and it probably has nothing to do with yours. After all, neither the acronym nor the words “do what you can, kid” are rhymed anywhere on this B-side. There’s not even a chorus. What you do get is a classic, bass-heavy DJ Premier beat and a verse apiece from three of the most distinctive emcees to ever touch a microphone.

Guru’s voice was so unique (R.I.P.). There still aren’t a ton of emcees from Boston, so even the way he pronounced words would have been enough to set him apart from his contemporaries. Add in that sandpapery monotone and even if he wasn’t the most technically precise rapper, he stuck out.

“Lemonade was a popular drink, and it still is/I get more props and stunts than Bruce Willis”.

Then there’s Gregg Nice & Smooth Bee. Think about all of the rap duos you know (at least the ones that weren’t one MC and one DJ). Kid ‘n Play, OutKast, Salt ‘n Pepa, EPMD. In terms of individual rhyme style, no group had as pronounced a dichotomy as Nice & Smooth. They were like the Abbott & Costello of rap. Smooth Bee had a relaxed, easygoing tone and a linear form of storytelling. Gregg Nice rhymed like your weird cousin-very free-associative. Barely anything he said made sense for more than a sentence or two. But it sounded dope!

“Don’t never, ever think of jerking me/I work too hard for my royalty/Put lead in your ass and drink a cup of tea/Peace to Red Alert and Kid Capri/ooh la la ah oui oui/I say Muhammad Ali, you say Cassius Clay/You say butter, I say Parkay!”

Anyway, “DWYCK” was the b-side of the Gang Starr single “Ex Girl To Next Girl”. Guru and Premo invited Nice & Smooth to guest on the song as pay back for Gang Starr appearing on N&S’s “Down The Line”. “Ex-Girl” is a dope song, but “DWYCK” is a fucking banger. In New York City, “DWYCK” was one of those songs that ruled summer ‘92. You heard that bass rattling out of every third jeep driving down the street in Brooklyn.

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