Dr Dre 20 Years Of Gangsta Rap Record
The album of a generation sifting through 16 November 1999. Seven years since the Chronic was released, the opus that changed the face of rap. Seven years is very long, especially since in the meantime Dr. Dre got his feet in the carpet on more than one cover: disaster departure from death Row, bide of the album of the supergroup The Firm, crazy launch of his own label Aftermath … result, at 34 years old he is kind of has been at a time when dominate young New York Wolves Roc-A-Fella and Ruff Ryders.
Where many have never risen, he manages to find all his superb in two strokes of a pot spoon: first with the signature of Eminem, then with the release of the Pharaonic 2001.
Far from being content to be a resucée of his previous project, the album again upsets the game by proposing here again a totally innovative formula.
Based this time, not on funk samples, but on a whole band of studio musicians (Mike Elizondo on bass, Scott Storch on piano, Jason Hann on percussion, Sean Cruse on guitar..), Dre elaborates a clear, stripped-down, precise sound that owes as much to the quality of the recordings as to those of the mixing and mastering – that it has subsequently reconverted into the production of headphones is quite logical.
In the end this gives on the one hand hyper-worked instrumentals that are listened to without ever forcing the ear, and on the other a commercial tidal wave with nearly 8 million copies sold on US soil.
Twenty years later, passage to the fine comb of this monument.
1- Lolo (Ft. Big Tray Weee, Kurupt & Xzibit)
An introduction / interlude that does not serve much, but has the good taste of not shooting in length.
If not for those sitting at the back of the class, “lolo” means “lowrider”, be these boxes customized to ride as close to the ground and whose wheels can rise thanks to a system of hydraulic suspensions.
Popularized by gangsta rappers, they were actually invented by their chicanos neighbors (who call them the ” ranflas “).
2- The Watcher (Ft. Eminem & knock-turn’al)
A first track with an atmospheric atmosphere that without being spectacular proves to be devilishly effective as it scrolls.
Rapped from A to Z by a Dre at the best of his form, this is his only solo of the album, he who from the end of the first verse warns with his “I just sit back and watch the show” that on this point it will not be necessary to rely more than that on him for the rest.
Supposedly ghostwritten by Nas, The Watcher ironically saw a sequel to Jay Z’s Blueprint 2 in 2002.
3- Fuck You (Ft. Devin The Dude & Snoop Dogg)
It’s all in the title : it’s raw, it’s bad and it’s misogynistic, but what a joy !
Even just before Dr. Dre paradoxically boasted of being a ” family man “, even though Devin The Dude has never been so libidinous (which given his pedigree is not nothing), even though Snoop would today inherit a hashtag to the #BalanceTonPorc for the line ” Baby was a virgin, that’s what she said, so I gave her some Hennesey, she gave me some head “, impossible not to appreciate this summit of “West Coast’ness” to the false tunes of bad joke.
And how can we forget this live version during the up in Smoke Tour that would have pushed more than one to sell father and mother to join the small troupe backstage as soon as the concert is over ?
4- Still D. R. E. (Ft. Snoop Dogg)
One of the best rap tracks of all time.
The staccato of Scott Storch, the lyrics of Jay Z, the chorus crossed with Snoop … under the ferule of the master of the place everything combines to perfection without the slightest effort showing.
A banger of unparalleled fluidity and sobriety, especially since the production has not aged at all.
5- Big ego’s (Ft. Hittman)
Inevitably a tone below, this fifth track nevertheless manages not to bring down the soufflé, which in itself is already a small feat.
Dr. Dre obliges, obviously the beat plays for a lot. A subtle blend of flute, percussion and piano, she would have deserved a slightly more upscale chorus.
Otherwise, it is the first intervention on the microphone of the rookie Hittman, but unfortunately not the last…
6- Xxplosive (Ft. Hittman, Kurupt, Nate Dogg & Six2)
To those who wonder why the Good Doctor Young is unanimously considered a genius, here is a start of explanation : at equal sample, no one gets to his ankle.
In the same way as EPMD or the Ultramagnetic MC’s who like California Love had each sampled the song Woman To Woman by Joe Cocker without succeeding in landing a hit, when in 2000 queen Erykah Badu went to copy / paste the sample of Xxplosive for her bag Lady, no one paid attention to it.
At her disposal, she had neither the Super Warrior versions of Kurupt and Nate Dogg, nor a xylophone (!?) to swing a few notes in the background and do the diff’.
7- What’s the Difference (Ft. Eminem & Xzibit)
After an uncredited appearance on The Watcher, here is Eminem’s real entry into the matter.
And what an introduction : in full possession of his means, he poses by the general opinion one of the best verses of his career, even to make the other guests to the trapdoor.
Too bad for Xzibit (but if the guy who presented Pimp My Ride), too bad for Phish(but if the illustrious unknown to the chorus who has yet not demered).
R. E. P. Charles Aznavour.
8- Bar One (Ft. Eddie Griffin, Ms. Roq & Traci Nelson)
Accustomed to pose as an interlude on the albums of rappers (The D. O. C., Snoop, Crooked I…), the actor Nanard Eddie Griffin comes here to fill fans of this kind of exercise … if there is still in 2019.
9- Light Speed (Ft. Hittman, Knoc-turn’al & Ms. Roq)
The first really not terrible track of the album. At best anecdotally, he clearly deserved to be left out.
Who’s starting to say out loud that Hittman doesn’t do much ?
10- Forgot About Dre (Ft. Eminem)
A second single with the appearance of a demonstration of strength on the part of a Slim Shady resolutely unleashed.
Not only does the favorite white boy of US rap burn the four-star instrument in wide widths, but he also performs one of the most memorable choruses of the end of the last century (if only for the way he pronounces ” gibberish “), not without ghostwriter by the way the two very good verses of his mentor !
Twenty years after the facts, it is therefore anything but a coincidence that this little jewel continues to be as referenced as ever.
11- The Next Episode (Ft. Kurupt, Nate Dogg & Snoop Dogg)
The sound that if not played in the evening tells you that you have got the wrong club.
Long 2 minutes 41 barely (no time for a chorus), this tutorial to learn how to dance the C-Walk sees the “motherfucking D-O-double G” and “motherfucking D. R. E.” catch fire on the beat, Kurupt release ad-libs to wake the dead, and Nate Dogg swing with incredible science of timing the legendary “smoke weeeed every day” as a conclusion.
12- Let’s get High (Ft. Hittman, Kurupt & Ms. Roq)
Change of mood, but no theme (smacking and fornication) for this piece of the most peach.
Unpretentious, but good holding.
13- Bitch Niggaz (Ft. Hittman, Six2 & Snoop Dogg)
A bit like The Watcher previously, a track that doesn’t pay off at first sight.
A sample of the grilled archi Top Billin’ of the Audio Two, some scratches and the lazy flow of Snoop manage to raise the whole.
Good after question lyrics, it is still quite light for who does not particularly appreciate hearing repeated in loop the word “bitch” and all its declensions (“biatch”, “beyotch”…).
14- The Car Bomb (Ft. Charis Henry & Mel-Man)
This interlude being uninteresting as possible, let’s take the opportunity to briefly mention the Mel-Man case : not content to co-produce a good third of 2001 and pose in the CD libretto, he went to work the following year on the second best-selling rap album in history, The Marshall Mathers LP.
Very surprisingly, his career then stalled.
15- Murder Ink (Ft. Hittman & Ms. Roq)
A kind of variation of the serial Killa of Doggystyle that takes up without much originality the cult music of the equally cult horror film Halloween directed in 1978 by John Carpenter.
If for her fourth appearance Ms. Roq finally manages to get a little noticed, it will however be insufficient to make her the Lady Of Rage of Aftermath.
With a close Twitter account (149 followers…), she has since completely fallen back into anonymity.
16- Ed-Ucation (Ft. Eddie Griffin)
The most relevant interlude of the album in which is explained to all the guys who take the buses why they are badly crossed with the girls, and to all the guys who have a comfortable situation why they must imperatively protect themselves when they cheat on their wife.
17- Some L. A. Niggaz (Ft. Defari, Hittman, King T, knock-turn’al, Kokane, MC Ren, Time Bomb & Xzibit)
Phew, finally a piece of good aloi. Not as promising as on the poster (ex N. W. A. MC Ren confined to the intro, Dre is still absent, the beat is not frankly exceptional…), this gang bang of Cali emcees still raises the level of this second part that was seriously beginning to feel the filling.
18- Break 4 Porn (Ft. Jake Steed)
An interlude where we hear an pornstar ejaculate loudly in the eye of his partner… It lasts 1 minute 30…
19- Housewife (Ft. Hittman & Kurupt)
The most G-Funk track of 2001, and that in fact would have almost gone down in The tracklist of the Chronic … or on a Dogg Pound album as Kurupt is banging here all the time.
Too bad no one had the presence of mind to invite Nate Dogg, he would have been perfect.
20- Ackrite (Ft. Hittman) Hittman’s solo track…
Beyond the fact that it is very dispensable (to believe that Dre pioneered in the next room at the time of the final selection), which particularly annoys with this ninth appearance (!!!) is that it is done at the expense of Snoop, Eminem or Xzibit who have never been so hot in their career.
21- Bang Bang (Ft. Hittman & knock-turn’al)
Without being bad, still a track that has a lot (a lot) of trouble to hold the comparison with the first part of the album.
Admittedly, it is a little easy to demand that Dre only carry out killings, but can it be observed that it would have been more reasonable to tighten the ranks a little ?
22- The Message (Ft. Mary J. Blige & Rell)
A melancholy tribute to his brother Tyree who died ten years earlier in a brawl that went awry.
Written by Royce Da 5’9 without him knowing exactly who Dre wanted to evoke, the exercise is devoid of any attack or insult.
Sincere and moving, this piece apart concludes the debates with the necessary sobriety .
23- Outro (Ft. Thomas Chong)
A funny and well-brought skit (as it exists) narrated by half of the famous duo pro fumette Ching & Chong.
Verdict: is “2001” really a classic ?
Even if it coughs a lot, it is not a perfect album. Far from it : transparent newcomers, too many interludes, fillers galore in the second part, lyrics that do not fly high … 2001 is neither Illmatic, nor Reasonable Doubt, nor Ready to Die.
There remains unparalleled audio quality, devastating singles and a cultural influence that still remains today.
Is that enough to tip the scales ? The answer here depends on the definition that everyone gives to the classic word.