And at first that voice got started with Native Tongues' most cheerfully tasteless group: "The doo-doo eatin' vomit-tastin' pee-drinkin' jelly-donut makin' ho-slappin' kitty-kat lickin' cesspool-swimmin' premarital-sex-havin'—you know, the whole nine!" says Wolf in Sheep's intro before backbending into the gangsta-goofball parody track "U Mean I'm Not!" (with Dres on an AK killing spree after his mom makes him a crummy before-school breakfast: "Kicked her in the pussy! . . . Hungry as FUCK!") and the rest of a platinum-selling classic—cocky, catchy, lit up with lots of playboy catcalls ("Can I get a number?" asks one of Dres' morning-after girls. "Uh, yeah, 765-4321," he says. "What area code?" "Ah, 1-900 . . .") and Dres' superpowered confidence. "I made it look easy because it is to me," he shrugged, laughing it off when the Ladies Against Sexist Motherfuckers grill him on track 13: "Dres, you seem to have a conceited personality—do you?" asks one probable communications major. "Ahem," says Dres. "Next question, please!"
Sliding on the answers then, but that was a long time ago: Novakane (with production including Showbiz and AG, Bean One, Vitamin D and vocal appearances by Kajmere Sound's Choklate among others) is Dres with wise perspective, putting new songs like "Everyday" and "Heed the Word" way past the catcall category. "Not preachy!" he laughs. "Not like me standing on a pulpit like, 'You all are fuckin' up and hip-hop used to be this and now it's this!' Where I could say 'you all' I say we—we need to do things different." He's a little more shepherd than sheep now: Dres' plans for the future range political (for the state of an art that calls out George Bushes and Katrinas like nothing else can) for the long term and local for the short; in the same voice that so distinctively says "listen," he talks about what he'd like to do if his new independent album does well—hospitals and day care for his neighborhood.
"That is so huge in my life," he says. "I wanna show cats for real that is how you shine. A necklace could never take the place of me caring about a community. A car doesn't validate me, but doing a community center or a day-care center or anything of relevance into a community that helps people raise children—that's how you shine, and not shine for now, but shine for generations. It's real important for me to put that kind of energy into the air."
BLACK SHEEP PERFORM WITH DRUNKEN IMMORTALS AND TRYBUNAL PLUS DJS JOSH ONE, COCOE AND SCOTTY COATS AND LIVE ART BY DUMPER FOO AT ABSTRACT WORKSHOP AT DETROIT BAR, 843 W. 19TH ST., COSTA MESA, (949) 642-0600. SAT., 9 P.M. $20. 21+.