Dr. Dre’s final album is probably one of the biggest events in music in 2015, which just happened to come out of nowhere! Compton: A Soundtrack By Dr. Dre is indeed the final swan song in the King of the West Coast’s musical catalog, so let’s jump right into it with no further delay. The intro to the album is beautiful, as we’re treated to what appears to be a newscaster, detailing all of the good and bad the city of Compton has seen over the last several, several years. The music underneath it is just as poetic, lush percussion with gospel-vocals in the background. The man’s voice is fitting, as he starts out painting a nice picture, then diving deep into the muddy waters, discussing the crime and violence that began to spread. The production turns dark and aggressive, launching us right into–
“Talk About It.” The song is impossible to ignore. It’s ready to bash you right in the face when it begins, with the addition of two artists I have never heard of, but Dre’s voice is such a warm welcome when he storms into the second verse, with charisma and humor. The hook really sounds Drake-y, but it works. Dre’s production is pretty outstanding, but that should surprise absolutely none of you.
“Genocide” is the 3rd song, where we’re getting features from Kendrick, Marsha Ambrosius & Candice Pillay. Again, production is noteworthy as
fuck. It’s definitely Dre, but he’s on some other shit with this one, so much swagger and attitude. Ghostwriter or not, Dre has a signature voice and attitude on the mic, that sets him apart from everyone else. Everyone in this song just kills it, it is appropriately titled “Genocide,” K.Dot jumps in on the 3rd verse with a flow that almost reminds me of Eminem’s earlier stuff, he of course kills it only like K.Dot can. “ Fuck your blessing, fuck your life, fuck your hope, fuck your momma, fuck your daddy, fuck your dead homie, fuck the world up when we came up, this Compton homie!” Then right at the end it just shoots into this acapella doo-wop break, right before it goes back to the beat. It’s exhilerating.
And let me just say now. Every beat on here is fire. Like…yeah. They just are. Every single song has Dre going in different directions, bringing out surprises, beat-flips, great instrumentation, background vocals and mixing. It’s all just disgustingly dope.
We’re getting great stuff like this all throughout the album – let’s talk a bit about “Darkside/Gone.” King Mez is back, with Ambrosius and Kendrick. King’s flow is dope, the hook is so sick and dope. But the beat completely flips, when it becomes “Gone,” and we’re hearing Dre spit over a piano and snare and kick. The ladies deliver very soulful vocals on this track. Picking a Who’s Got Bars battle with this album…I don’t even know where to begin. Kendrick kills his verse.
And of course, it’s only fitting that Dre have Eminem on his final album, I mean, as much as I dislike Em right now…I would even argue that he has to hold a verse on one of these songs. That song is “Medicine Man,” and he of course gets the final verse. But! He doesn’t rappity-rappity-rap-rap his way through it, he actually rides a pretty steady flow over the beat – at least compared to what he’s been doing lately. He actually delivers a pretty great verse, his voice oddly reminds me of his younger self, it’s a bit nostalgic, he gets up and going on this, spitting lyrical venom and energy. Maybe taking a trip to the Dr. is exactly what he needed. Doctor’s orders. I will definitely be listening to this track over and over.
You’ll hear some of the best production on songs like “Issues,” “Genocide,” “For The Love of Money.” Those are some of the standouts for me. Jill Scott’s voice on “For The Love of Money” is particularly lovely, with the guitars in the background sounding like they’re gasping for air, as the song plays out on this beautiful bed of instrumentation and musicianship.
And it is not all just spitting and fun. “Loose Cannons” and “Deep Water” hold a lot of dark emotion in them and take their time to really lay out these little mini stories within the album. The album isn’t afraid to have its slower moments, letting some true emotion sink in. And I applaud Dre for that. “Loose Cannons,” is a very intimidating and aggressive delivery of storytelling, and Xzibit delivers a memorable verse when the beat flips for him and it feels so militant. One track flows from one to the next so seamlessly. Even Snoop doesn’t sound like the regular old Snoop going on auto-pilot, he’s wide awake for “One Shot One Kill.”
And Dr. Dre has the final song to himself, “Talking To My Diary.” No features, just Dre and his signature voice and production. He’s detailing things he’s been through, the great wealth and success he’s gained and earned. He talks about Eazy-E in the 2nd verse, and gives his love for the dearly departed homie. It’s everything you would expect from a final song on an album. It’s all on point.
But was this album worth the wait? For 16 years, we’ve been waiting for another Dre album…hell yes, the man delivered. It is so worth the wait. From the production, to how each rapper delivers their flow and voice over the mic, their lyricism.
I’m expecting to hear his name being mentioned next year at the Grammy’s. This one is sticking with me in 2015. This and To Pimp a Butterfly. Constant rotation. A Beautiful ode to the West Coast, Compton: A Soundtrack By Dr. Dre is a fantastic ending to one of the greatest careers and artists in music. Thank you, Dre. You done did good.
2) Talk About It (feat. King Mez & Justus)
3) Genocide (feat. Kendrick Lamar, Marsha Ambrosius & Candice Pillay)
4) It’s All On Me (feat. Justus & BJ the Chicago Kid)
5) All In a Day’s Work (feat. Anderson Paak & Marsha Ambrosius)
6) Darkside/Gone (feat. King Mez, Marsha Ambrosius & Kendrick Lamar)
7) Loose Cannons (feat. Xzibit & COLD 187um)
8) Issues (feat. Ice Cube & Anderson Paak)
9) Deep Water (feat. Kendrick Lamar & Justus)
10) Jon Connor – One Shot One Kill (feat. Snoop Dogg)
11) The Game – Just Another Day (feat. Asia Bryant)
12) For the Love of Money (feat. Jill Scott & Jon Connor)
13) Satisfaction (feat. Snoop Dogg, Marsha Ambrosius & King Mez)
14) Animals (feat. Anderson Paak)
15) Medicine Man (feat. Eminem, Candice Pillay & Anderson Paak)
16) Talking To My Diary
Let us know what you thought of this album in the comments below.