Believe it or not there was a time when Andre Young was not great. There was a time between 1995 and 1998 where his career seemed to be at a standstill. After dropping the classic “The Chonic” introducing us to rappers like Snoop Doggy Dog, The Lady of Rage, RBX, Daz and Kurupt, Dr. Dre split with his business partner and the co-founder of Death Row Records, Marion “Suge” Knight. He in turn created his own label, Aftermath Entertainment, and released “Dr. Dre Presents: The Aftermath”. While many praised the production, fans felt left out to dry by the “clean guy” lyrical content. Dre went back to the lab and enlisted a bunch of new friends (and some old friend too) to bring it back to the streets with “2001”.
Originally composed as a mixtape, “2001” (sometimes referred to as “The Chronic 2001”), has a cinematic feel to it (As comparison, to “The Chronic” which played like a TV station). Dr. Dre addressed this by saying “Everything you hear is planned. It’s a movie, with different varieties of situations…you’ve got buildups, touching moments, aggressive moments…It’s got everything that a movie needs”.1
Begins the movie experience with the THX surround sound opening you normally hear in movie theaters. Followed by a short skit featuring lowriders, Tray Dee and Xzibit.
“The Watcher “
The only solo track by Dre as he sums up what’s been up for the previous three years and drops this for the critics:
“Nigga who started this gangsta shit/ And this the motherfucking thanks I get”
Fuck You” Ft. Snoop Dogg and Devin the Dude
This raunchy track is dedicated to the art of procreation.
“Still D.R.E.” Ft. Snoop Dogg
The lead single with his brethren Snoop Dogg. This song had cars booming from coast to coast.
“Big Ego’s” Ft. Hitman
Dre takes it upon himself to list his achievements in the game. Also the first feature from Hitman who would be focused on predominantly throughout the album.
“Xxplosive” Ft. Hitman, Kurupt, Six-Two and Nate Dogg
Probably the most sampled song Dre has ever made. Hearing Nate Dogg makes you miss him more.
“What’s The Difference”
Features Xzibit and Eminem. Could have easily been on Eminem’s “The Slim Shady LP”.
“Bar One (skit)”
Funny skit about two girls at a bar. Leads directly into the next track.
“Light Speed” Ft. Hitman
Dre and Hitman trade women and versus on this mid-tempo track.
“Forgot About Dre” Ft. Eminem
Unforgettable Eminem verse. Enough said.
“The Next Episode” Ft. Snoog Dogg, Kurupt and Nate Dogg
The second most famous Dr. Dre song. Still gets the club popping.
“Let’s Get High” Ft. Hitman and Kurupt
The only misstep on the album.
“Bitch Niggaz” Ft. Snoop Dogg, Hitman and Six-Two
Dope, simplistic beat glides through the track like hang gliders.
“The Car Bomb (skit)”
The title says it all.
“Murder Ink” Ft. Hitman
Begins the worse stretch of the album.
Eddie Griffin skit about women and their overzealous needs.
“Some L.A. Niggaz”
Long-awaited reunion with MC Ren. Also features Xzibit, Knoc-turnal, King T, Kokane, Time Bomb and Defari.
“Pause 4 Porno (skit)”
Audio porn with pornstar, turned rapper Jake Steed.
“Housewife” Ft. Kurupt and Hitman
Kurupt and Hitman lead the way for this uninspired filler track.
“Ackrite” Ft. Hitman
Solo track for Hitman. With eight appearances, he has more tracks on “2001” than Eminem, Snoop and Nate Dogg combined.
“Bang Bang” Ft. Knoc-turnal and Hitman
Content starting to run thin near the end of the album.
“The Message” Ft. Mary J. Blige
Tearful Lord Finesse produced, retrospective track with a Mary J. Blige hook. The only track not produced by Dre.
Dr. Dre took a back seat from making albums to sign the best talent for Aftermath. He would fulfill his producer itch by laying tracks for not just his own artist but rappers all over. Signing top artists along the way. 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, The Game and Kendrick Lamar are just some of the names who walked the doors of Aftermath. Rumors of Dr. Dre working on his final album “Detox” have been circulating since 2001. “Detox” never happened; it has become a faux tale like seeing aliens or waiting for a baby daddy to pick up his kids. Finally, to everyone’s surprise, Dre dropped his first album in sixteen years. “Compton”, reviewed here by SMJ12, is said to be inspired by the city he grew up in. This is to be his last album, if this is true this would be the end of a legendary career and a superb ambassador to hip hop.
1Taken from Jon Pareles (November 14, 1999). The Street Talk, He Says, Is a Bum Rap. The New York Times.