As the end of summer has officially hit us, we should take a moment to give respect to the always sunny California and the amazing film that that broke the box office. “Straight Outta Compton,” a biopic of the infamous gangster rap group N.W.A took everybody on trip back to the Golden Age.
This Thursday I would like to throw it back to 1992 when the father of the west, Dr. Dre, dropped one of the most important albums in rap history, The Chronic. This album was his debut album as a solo artist, after breaking from N.W.A. on his brand new label “Death Row.” This project not only solidified his legendary presence in the industry but gives timeless tunes that will live forever in Hip-hop.
Speaking on the production, the album introduces the world to the G-funk sound. That is the groovy, head bopping sound that is soulful and includes some rhythm and blues but still very urban, street, and gangster; hence the name G-funk meaning Gangster funk. In my opinion the album itself can make a very good instrumental album, but the subject matter on the album is very important.
Growing up in the harsh city of Compton, Dr. Dre lived with racist cops and criminals as neighbors and his story is reflected in The Chronic. For an example the song “The Day N***** Took Over” Dre talks about how it’s “do or die” in the city to emphasize how people had to protect themselves from cops, and speaks on how strong and dangerous it would be if everyone who is disrespected by authority banded together to oppose them. Snoop Dogg, RBX, and Dat N**** Daz also rap on the track. His references to struggles are seen throughout the album, but not all songs are as hardcore. For an example the very famous “Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang” with Snoop Dogg. These days it’s hard for singles to live forever, but no one will ever forget the “1-2-3 and to the 4 Snoop Doggy Dogg and Dr. Dre is at the door.” Snoop Dogg who appeared frequently on The Chronic, showing up on 11 of the 16 tracks, paved the way to the success of his debut studio album Doggystyle, which is heavily produced by Dr. Dre, and gave us classics such as “Gin and Juice” and “Ain’t No Fun.”
Dr. Dre’s influence does not stop at Snoop Dogg but still resonates with rap stars of today such as fellow Compton native, Kendrick Lamar. Dre’s influence even reaches Chance the Rapper, who has an identical intro on his song “Lost” Featuring Noname Gypsy as Dr. Dre has on his song “Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat.” I still haven’t even mentioned “Let Me Ride” and “Bitches Ain’t Shit,” two other classics from the album. But really this whole album is masterpiece and should be listened to carefully, it’s never too late even if its 23 years later.