In the newest SXSW interview release from Nardwuar, the interviewer talked to Geto Boys member Bushwick Bill about the rapper’s experience recording on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic and a 1991 shooting that caused the loss of his right eye and nearly took his life.
Asked about the unusual circumstances that led to his being filed a death certificate, Bushwick Bill described waking up in a morgue shortly before being officially filed as deceased. “When I lost my eye I died on June 19, 1991 at approximately 4:35 and I didn’t come to until in the morgue after 7 o’clock,” he said. “They were actually getting me ready for autopsy…I had to pee so bad I pulled out the catheter and I jumped down and the cop just stood there like this and I just peed. Then I realized what I was doing, ‘cause you gotta remember, I didn’t know I was dead. I just had the biggest urge to pee and I jumped down. Then of course he ran out of the room and the technician ran out of the room [of] the morgue. Yeah, it was a serious moment. I had the toe-tag on, I was in the morgue. Dead. They didn’t have me in the hallway, they didn’t have me inside of a room waiting to transfer me. I was actually on the cold slab, getting ready to be pushed in.”
A picture of Bill and his eye injury later graced the artwork for The Geto Boys’ fourth album, We Can’t Be Stopped. “The day before my surgery to remove the eye,” he said in response to a question about when the picture was taken. “The hospital had me drugged up so I was being prepared for surgery, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink anything. They had me on a bunch of medicine and I didn’t see the album cover until after it hit the shelves. Such is life.”
Bushwick Bill details the source of the injury on his 1992 solo single “Ever So Clear.” “I grabbed her hand and placed the gun to my eye muscle,” he raps, “She screamed ‘Stop!’ and then we broke into another tussle / Yo, during the fight the gun went off quick / Damn! Aw shit / I’m hit.”
Later in the interview the rapper detailed how his cameo on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic came about. “I remember Warren G and Snoop [Dogg] inviting me to the studio and Dr. Dre’s in there with one of the guys from a Rap group called Po’ Broke & Lonely. I heard the theme to ‘Stranded On Death Row’ which reminded me of Dark Shadows, the old radio TV show, I asked him if I could say something and he said, ‘No, ‘cause I have to finish this album mix.’ And I was like, ‘C’mon, just let me say something and if it doesn’t work, then cool.’ I kept bothering him ‘til he let me say it, then he said, ‘Can you do that again?’ That’s how I got on it.”
Near the end of the conversation, Bill described other musician’s work that samples his own voice. “I did hear that the artist from Sublime, the one that passed away, that he mentioned me on one of his albums,” he said. “He sampled the ‘Chuckie’ song, I just don’t know which album that was, I been trying to find it and listen to it. But that’s the only thing I’ve ever heard of. And Ice-T, on the Power album, ‘Ladies were not just talking about you ‘cause some of you niggas are bitches, too,’ he sampled that from ‘Size Ain’t Shit.’”
Editor’s Note: The song Bushwick Bill is referring to is ‘Bitches 2,’ which was on Ice-T’s O.G. Original Gangster album, not Power.