Dr. Dre keeps it going

Latest effort is worth a listen

Andre Young, better known by his stage name Dr. Dre, has been one of the top hip-hop artists since the late 1980’s.

Serving as mostly a producer, he is an original member of one of the founding gangsta rap groups – N.W.A.

Dre is known for his signature bass heavy, funky West Coast sound, and for having one of the best musical ears in the business. He’s very scientific and mathematical with his mixes, like knowing the exact frequencies of snares that fit well on radio or equalizing kicks to where they sound heavy and punchy on any speakers. The list goes on.

His debut solo album The Chronic (1992) is an undisputed classic, and his last album 2001 (1999) is held in high esteem by many avid Hip-Hop listeners.

Since then, there has been talk that he had a third album called Detox in the works, but any time that he got close to announcing the release date he would push it back. This made him the butt of many “artists taking long to drop albums” jokes.

It’s been almost 16 years since we’ve received a project from Dre. Most Hip-Hop heads had lost hope, doubting that an album would ever arrive. But this year, director Gary F. Gray worked with another former N.W.A. member, Ice Cube, to create a biopic film about the group and their rise from rags to riches.

The movie is entitled Straight Outta Compton, which is the same title as the group’s debut album back in 1988. It’s only right that Gray enlisted Dr. Dre to create the movie’s soundtrack, but The Doctor turned it into so much more.

Compton is a look back into N.W.A. and specifically Dre’s past, growing up in the crime ravaged city and remembering hardships and struggle. But this is no dusty museum tour.

This album contains some of Dre’s most ambitious production, combining his signature bombastic layering and narcotic glaze with a bunch of new tricks. Some of the best beats come from songs like “Talk About It”, where Dre juggles thick, funky bass, pounding drums, hi-hat solos and jazz trumpets. This is all eloquently composed together, sounding cohesive as ever.

Dre features many other artists on here, from relatively unknowns like Marsha Ambrosius and Anderson Paak to superstars like Kendrick Lamar and Eminem. The lyrics of this album are no walk in the park either; Kendrick Lamar delivers astounding verses on “Genocide” and “Deep Water”, some of the best guest features to come from the young MC. Other West Coast legends COLD 187um and Snoop Dogg appear on the LP, too. Both bring the hard-hitting yet simple word play and gritty subject matter that set them apart years ago. All in all, this project is an excellent wrap-up to the 50-year-old’s long-established solo career, assuring that he goes out with a bang like we all knew he would.

Favorite songs: “Talk About It”, “Deep Water”, and “Talking to my Diary”

Least favorite songs: “Just Another Day”, “Darkside/Gone”, and “Animals”


Rating: 9/10