Doc Watch-Out and Masta Rat met one dreary morning in 1984 while eating gruel at the Gifted and Talented Orphanage in Casper, Wyoming. Watch-Out was 6 and Rat was 7, respectively. Neither had ever had a family and oddly both were found abandoned in magazine recycling bins. When their kitchen labor duties coincided the young superstars sand acapella Phil Collins together until they were whipped into unconciousness by the music-hating head mistress. This didn't stop them though. No, it only served to fuel their developing musical rebellion. "We would sing while we was pissin', you know, and like harmony-ize and shit, says Watch-Out, "We was so fucking amazingly good even then."
Watch-Out and Rat were eventually adopted by families but not for long. "We smelled kinda bad, I guess," Masta Rat confesses. So, the boys ran away. After spending a harrowing winter under newspapers at a deserted Casper Mini Golf course, they hitch-hiked to Laramie, Wyoming were it was rumored free food and lodging could be had for young run-away boys. Such was not the case and the future Dwellaz wintered in the back parking lot of Northridge Liquor subsisting mainly on cardboard and expired Bailey's. "We made a pac' right there," Watch-Out says, "to get out that parking lot, to set our sites on the FRONT parking lot. We knew music would be the way, eventually, but music wasn't buyin' us no Ho-Hos, you know. So we sold Immodium to Junior High kids who thought it was speed." Though their Loperamide HCI business dried up rapidly, the Dwellaz had found a calling: the drug trade.
Little has been recorded of this relatively dark period in the Doctor and Rat's lives. "I mean, you know, we were into guns, bitches, stacks and stacks of money, drugs, execution-style murders, drive-bys, hold-ups, hand-me-downs, Oprah's book club, expensive cars, you name it, we pimped it," Rat explains. What is known is that Rat and Watch-Out steadily rose in notoriety, quickly taking over the entire Laramie crime syndicate virtually overnight. "It was crazy," the Doctor remembers, "At one point we were prostituting out something like 1200 girls a night...and this is in a town of 15,000 people." The Dwellaz went from living by the tracks in squallor with now-defunct metal band Monostat 7 (eventually renamed Monosplat for legal reasons) to living the high life in the largely Mormon north end of the city.
The wealth and fast women came at a price though and the drug-czar lifestyle soon began to negatively effect the Dwellaz. "Watch-Out would wake up, drink a bottle of Wild Turkey, take 50 tabs of acid and then eat one of those birthday cakes from Albertson's. I'd do the same but I wouldn't eat any of that cake. That shit gave me the runs," Rat says. The Doctor chimes in, "Yeah, we knew we had to get out. But there was so many bitches gunnin' fo' us. We hadda make a clean break."
A New Beginning
"One morning I woke up, drank the Turkey, took the acid and...I realized I didn't want to eat that fucking cake anymore," Watch-Out remembers. "I was like fuck it, I'm out. I'm going legit." Watch-Out and Rat vowed to change themselves for the better and both decided, somewhat independantly that helping children was to be their lives' work. Rat moved to China where he worked 20 hours days in a toy factory. "I did it so some 10 year wouldn't have to, you know," says Rat. "I gave the 5 cents I made a day to some crippled kid. I ate rocks cause I had no money myself."
Watch-Out took a slightly more scholarly approach to his goal. "I'm gonna get my Massa's Degree," he proudly declares, "and I'm gonna teach them kids what's up about shit." Watch-Out enrolled in the prestigious University of Wyoming and eventually persuaded Masta Rat to join him there. Finally together again, the two young men knew it was time to do something really great.
Masta Rat bought a 4-track at a garage sale and Watch-Out shoplifted a drum machine from a large retail store - "It was a chain, man, it wasn't no mom n' pop store or nothin'" - and the rest is history. Between going to school, putting the moves on assorted ladies and working the graveyard shift at the concrete factory, there wasn't much time for rap. "But we made time," Rat says, "We was like 'Shazam!' and there it was, the Thirteen Hour." Rapping came easily for Rat and Watch-Out who laid down tracks left and right on the way to creating their first full-length album, Kreepin' tru Da Grazz. Numerous rap heavies like Mr. Kin and Heinous Anus eagerly lended their talent to the new album.
"We knew we had it. We knew it. That shit was like molten gold dripping through our fingas, frying all the flesh off an stuff," Rat comments. "We just had to get someone to believe it." Thumptruck Records believed in the Dwellaz enough to grant them their first contractl - a three record deal that would emcompass Kreepin' as well as the next two studio albums, Bombin' Out Da Door and Go Poetry!. "Thumptruck has always been good to us. We're back in solid with the bitches, the cars, the hot tubs, the riding lawnmowers...it's like old times except now it feels healthy!" Doc laughs.
After numerous awards and accolades, the Dwellaz are still rapping after all these years. Fame and forture has done little to soften their hard edges. "I just remember back to when we ate fucking lead paint chips cause we were hungry and when we lived with the metal guys and they fucking made us listen to fucking Malevolent Creation or some shit. I think back to that stuff and it takes me back and fires up the hardness," Watch-Out says.
For several years, however, the Dwellaz ruckus fell silent and many wondered what had happened to the group. "Well, Rat moved away and lost his soul in the big city an' I'm still working on ma Massa's," says the Doctor. A brief reunion on the brief but popular P. Dawg A G. EP did little to satisfy fans. "I knew I had to come back and do something huge," Watch-Out says, "And that's the new record, Prophecies."
And so, the Dwellaz are reborn once again and for a whole new generation of kids, the hip hop dream is alive and real. "That's really who we did all this fo'" the Doctor says. Rat and Watch-Out look at each other and start laughing. What's so funny, you might wonder. "Nothing, everything," Rat laughes. Indeed.