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Dr. Dre

The Chronic

RS: 4of 5 Stars Average User Rating: 4.5of 5 Stars

2001

Play View Dr. Dre's page on Rhapsody

This is dedicated to the Niggaz that was down from day one," begins Dr. Dre on The Chronic. But before joining N.W.A, this "nigga 4 life" was a love-song-singing, lace-shirt-and-eyeliner-wearing member of the World Class Wreckin' Cru. While serving time with Eazy-E, MC Ren, Ice Cube and DJ Yella, Dre created progressively more confident and slammin' soundscapes. He also proclaimed on the track "Express Yourself," "I never smoke weed or sess." Now a solo star on his own label, the producer-maestro has titled his debut set after the West Coast slang for high-octane marijuana. So what if history demonstrates that Dre wasn't "down from day one"? His album is a hip-hop masterwork full of big beats and little surprises like funky-worm keyboards and buried Perry Mason dialogue.

Although Dre's been making more trouble than music lately (the pummeling of a female video host, an assault in L.A., a brawl in New Orleans, other mayhem; the menacing single "Deep Cover" was his only output last year), the sonic architect – now charging that Eazy-E and N.W.A manager Jerry Heller robbed him – hasn't lost his stride in the studio. On The Chronic, he's conducting a hip-hop orchestra and stepping with a band of youngstas. Snoop Doggy Dogg is the star, but newcomers Kurupt, Rage, RBX and That Nigga Daz also explode in fury alongside Dre and a lineup of soul stirrers and reggae chatterers. The raspy-voiced D.O.C., who topped the charts in 1989 before damaging his pipes in an auto wreck, makes an appearance in the comical skit "The $20 Sack Pyramid." And Bushwick Bill, from the Geto Boys, anchors the take-no-prisoners ensemble jam "Stranded on Death Row."

Most of The Chronic follows the outlaw stance of N.W.A. "The Day the Niggaz Took Over" provides the soundtrack to a riot ("It's time to rob and mob and break the white man off lovely," advises Daz), while "Bitches Ain't Shit" and "--------Wit Dre Day (and Everybody's Celebratin')" throw heat Eazy-E's way. Cops and other folks get wasted ("Dem punk mutha-fuckas in black and white ain't the only muthafuckas I gots ta fight") in a sometimes frightening amalgam of inner-city street games that includes misogynist sexual politics and violent revenge scenarios. Throughout, The Chronic drops raw realism and pays tribute to hip-hop virtuosity. Get down – and never mind when Dr. Dre did.



HAVELOCK NELSON

(Posted: Mar 18, 1993)

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