Dr. Dre- Compton
Back in the late 90s I was into Eminem right off the bat, the second he released My Name Is.
“I first heard Eminem in high school. When Busta Rhymes first heard him, his reaction was to put his face through the windscreen of his tour bus. My reaction was symbolically similar…” ~ Outroversion January 2010
Thanks to that man, I was introduced to a whole new world of music and artists, the most noteable being Dr. Dre.
Later that year, I bought 2001. Wow. You better believe I was bootlegging tapes for everyone at my school trying to spread the word that there’s more to music than what’s shoved into our impressional ears by the mainstream media.
I’d never known an album to have 22 tracks or an artist to bring along all their buddies to be on it and I didn’t know wtf a “skit” was!
Dre knows how to do longevity. It doesn’t take anything away from G Thang that he raps about his “beeper”, it doesn’t matter that he hasn’t released an album in nearly two decades and is into his 50s, he’s still as relevant as ever.
Dre’s albums chronicle glorious snapshots in time and provides a legacy to anyone fortunate enough to be featured on one. His albums might have been the first time people heard Snoop, Nate, Eminem and Xzibit. Compton features the rising Kendrick Lamar, Jon Connor, Candice Pillay and Anderson .Paak among numerous others, all now part of a very exclusive fraternity.
I’ve put off listening to this album since it dropped as it does seem like such a big deal. But come on, the time is upon us.
We’re reminded this is a soundtrack to a documentary with the intro, the horns as if the start of a movie and an old style report on the city of Compton. The actual opening track features two young rappers, King Mez and Justus both yet to hit 25 and the unfortunate fact is it sounds like most other filler tracks on any given rap album. If this was freestyled and recorded live, that would be something. However, the unfortunate reality is they probably spent a long time writing their verses. Expect these guys to go the way of Knocturnal.
For every Still & Forgot about Dre, What’s the Difference, G Thang, Dre Day & Let me Ride there were tracks on the last two that are best left in the past but try to find a rap album without filler, good luck with that. I’ve got to say, this album does not start strongly but it probably should be mentioned that Dre doesn’t turn up until a few tracks in, but hey- now you’re starting feel it.
And Dre’s music is the kind you feel, it doesn’t pass you by. You get the impression nothing was given the green light on this album until he’d listened to it cruising through Cali.
His mastery of production is found in how well tailored his sound is. It’s like Eminem said “you don’t have to ask who produced it. You just know” and that’s an art in itself. Thanks to the eras through which he honed his skills, you get the brass and RnB, auto-tune is on the downlow and an artistic decision when used rather than how it is otherwise with an unfortunately overt dependency and modern evil in this genre.
There’s nothing particularly unexpected and it’s the familiarity that is the appeal of this album. Dre’s going to tell you how well his life is going, there’s going to be messages from the old gang, great beats and pantomime gangster posturing, nobody really wanted anything else.
And you know, a Doctor gives you what you need, not necessarily what you want. People wanted Detox. This isn’t what that was going to be but you needed closure and this is just that and it’s dignified. While people are talking about Eminem’s verse for one reason or another Dre has bookended his career and it’s been one that has been incomprehensibly successful, “Trying to get finances poppin, man I thought that was the object?“.
Snoop comes out of his stupour for a couple of verses, most noteably on One Shot Kill in which he genuinely comes across as a credible and genuinely talented rap artist rather than a gangsta version of the count from Sesame Street.
The spotlight on this album is certainly spread evenly among the guest artists but fucking hell Dre, this is supposed to be YOUR album. Fair enough not having Eminem on every track but he still kills it harder than anybody on the first 11 tracks by the time his spot comes along on Medicine Man.
This album is a chronicle of his career, well why not pay “hommidge” to the reason you haven’t had to release an album in 16 years!? I Need A Doctor should have been saved for this album, Medicine Man (M.M btw..) is the only thing 90% of people are going to come away from this album remembering. Deservedly so if that is the case, what a verse. Doc’s protege gives you those tingles on prescripton.
I’m probably not qualified to review a rap album of such gravitas but as it is, I probably won’t listen to it again, there was nothing that stood out apart from the single verse mentioned above and the rest of that song isn’t up to the calibre he was shooting last century and the album certainly isn’t. *BANG* sorry.