Currently In Rotation: Dr. Dre’s “Compton”
I was only 10 years old the first time I heard “Dre and Snoop chronic’d out in the lac, with Doc in the back sippin on gnac”. It took me 7 more years to finally appreciate the meaning of these bars. When these words actually meant something to me, the end of high school, I was debating with my friends how amazing Detox was going to be. Singles were leaking, the excitement was building, and then nothing. Almost 9 years later and we have finally received one of the most anticipated releases ever, Dr. Dre’s alleged final body of work.
The album didn’t have a huge roll out, or did it? The times have long changed since Dre dropped “2001”. Today’s music industry doesn’t require the old school roll out of working a single, promoting on every available media platform, and shooting a ton of videos. We are in the Internet era where secret albums from our industry favorites seem to be selling the most copies. The Doctor was smart and dropped his album at the peak of his name being mentioned again, right before the release of the film “Straight Out Of Compton”. With the nearing release of the movie Dre informed us that his final album was released, Deto… Compton. Coincidence that these two projects were released within two weeks of one another, I think not.
What did Dre give us? Exactly what most of us would expect from a Dr. Dre album. Dre stuck to the formula that worked oh so well on “2001”: a plethora of quality rappers, ghostwritten bars, and mythical production. Dre introduced us to a variety of rappers and singers we’ve never heard of from King Mez to Andersen Paak. He also kept it nostalgic by featuring Xzibit, Snoop Dogg, and Eminem. This album was only short a Nate Dogg hook.
When you listen to the album you may ask yourself “Does Dre have a verse on here?”. Dre is unrecognizable on this album while still sounding exactly like the doctor we know and love. Whoever was penning his verses, whether it was Kendrick, Eminem or King Mez had him sounding like we have never heard him before, and to be honest, I enjoyed it. I’ve never listened to Dre for his lyrical ability, nor anyone else on his albums for that matter. This album is littered with amazing MC’s but I’m not thumbing through it for quotables like a Drake album. This album is about production. Every song is sonically flawless. Dre shows us why he is one of the best at his craft through the production of the album. The snares are crisp, the bass lines are phenomenal, and the vocal placements are heaven sent. The album could have Lil B and Riff Raff mumbling over it, but with the Doctor’s direction, I would still appreciate it.
It’s hard to pick a highlight on the tape because each song is outstanding in its own regard but I did lose myself, no pun intended, during Eminem’s verse on “Medicine Man”. I haven’t been excited about Eminem in quite some time, not to discredit him whatsoever, but the last time I was actively checking for an Eminem album was around the Marshall Mather’s LP. Maybe I’m naive. Also, I wish The Game had a long track as “Just Another Day” ends at a whopping 2 minutes and 22 seconds. That may be my only gripe with the album.
All in all, Dre gave us exactly what I personally expected from him. He dropped a somewhat surprise album while his name was holding added weight for the short time “Straight Outta Compton” is in theaters. Hopefully, some of the millennials can go back and do their homework after hearing this album and appreciate “2001” as I do. Dre shed the name “Detox” and did away with all the century-long expectations existing fans had. He gave us a classic Dr. Dre album to go along with a movie that should further his legacy in Hip Hop. It’s rare that we value our favorite artists while they are still alive, but in this rare case, we do.
Personal Favorite Tracks: