Hype can often be the downfall of something. The rise in expectations often lead to disappointment when the final product is released. This is especially true when the time spent waiting is prolonged; Chinese Democracy, Duke Nukem Forever, and the Star Wars prequels are all examples. In the world of hip-hop, Dr. Dre is one of the most legendary figures in the genre’s history. Known for his classic work with the influential group N.W.A as well as his highly praised solo albums The Chronic and 2001, Dr. Dre is undeniably a great artist. After the release of his second album, talks of a third one named Detox arose.
For years and years, its release was always rumored to be on the horizon. Naturally, fans were anxiously awaiting the official announcement and rollout of this highly anticipated album. While singles and leaks came out sporadically, the album never surfaced and Detox became notorious for its mysteriousness. For 16 years, people hoped for Detox to come out, just wanting another piece of music from Dre. Finally, their wish was granted, though not necessarily in the way that was imagined. In early August, Dr. Dre announced that Detox had been scrapped due to not living up to his standards, knowing that the hype behind it would kill its reception. Instead, he said that in just a week’s time, his third (and most likely final) studio album would be released: Compton.
Inspired by the biopic Straight Outta Compton that portrays Dr. Dre and the other member’s of N.W.A. and their rise to fame, Dre decided to pay tribute to the city that made him who he is. From the moment the intro starts, it is clear that he is paying homage to where he started. He paints a picture of the positives and negatives and realities of life on the streets of Compton. The soundscape created is unlike Dre’s work of the past, yet it still feels as if you’ve been transported to Southern California. It’s violent and explosive, but also masterfully crafted and beautiful. Compton doesn’t dwell in the past, but rather it takes a look at the present, the lifestyle it takes to survive on the infamous streets of CPT, as well as Dre’s rise to hip hop’s upper echelon. The production and mixing are on another level, as is expected when it comes to a Dr. Dre album. Featuring a slew of West Coast idols, Dre proteges, and lesser known names, the talent is overwhelming on Compton. Dr. Dre himself impresses with fluid flows and hard deliveries, showing that despite his age he still can still make hits. The cohesiveness really creates a complete experience when listening to the album, while the songs are great individually also. Compton throws haymakers right from the beginning and does not let up until the final song ends.
Before you press play on Compton, it may seem like it would be hard to ignore Dr. Dre’s legacy while listening to Compton. Is this what it was like when The Chronic came out in ’92? Or 2001 when it was first released? But when the album starts, you no longer worry about that. Rather, you get wrapped up in the moment and everything surrounding you fades away. It forces you to pay attention and you don’t want the ride to end. While the subtitle to Compton is “A Soundtrack By Dr. Dre”, it is more like a movie. The rappers and singers are the supporting characters and Dr. Dre is the star, director, and producer. The tale of Dr. Dre’s storied career is coming to an end, and Compton is the grand finale.
Standout tracks: Genocide, Darkside/Gone, Deep Water
Forgettable tracks: Satisfiction, Medicine Man