Dr. Dre’s 31-year rap career is a slow tale of mastery. His past two solo albums have stood the test of time.
Dre’s latest effort, “Compton,” proves that even after sixteen years of experimenting, he is still hip-hop’s premier maker of classics.
The album starts off much like a movie would: with exposition. A rich instrumental piece is accompanied by facts about Compton, a city known for its ability to make lives and take them all in an instant.
After years of seeing the energy of the city drained, Dr. Dre, whose full name is Andre Romelle Young, gives us a glimpse into his plan: to sonically recreate the city he put on the map 27 years ago.
Each song is a different scene in Dr. Dre’s musical story. The opening track, “Talk About It,” is the story of Compton’s youth. Justus’s hook, “One day, I’ma have everything,” is a common idea among the youth in the bleak streets of the city.
Many succumb to the city’s affinity for violence. Dr. Dre’s response is a track called “Genocide,” featuring veteran songstress Marsha Ambrosius, newbie Candice Pillay and the self-proclaimed future mayor of Compton, Kendrick Lamar.
Each artist brings out the sad beauty of Compton’s brutality, with hypnotics hooks, brutal bars and Lamar’s golden verse.
“It’s All On Me,” details Dr. Dre’s climb to success, recalling his first meeting with Snoop Dogg and having to borrow Eazy-E’s car to get around.
The theme is continued into “All in a Day’s Work,” where Jimmy Iovine describes the mentality you need in order to succeed.
The album then evolves into describing the problems of becoming famous with the survivalist mentality needed in Compton. Like many of Dr. Dre’s previous albums, the songs are filled to the brim with guests.
The new album features not only the likes of Dre’s protégés Snoop Dogg and Eminem, but also has figures from his past, such as Ice Cube.
The West Coast’s latest and greatest are also represented on the album, with great verses from The Game, Jon Connor and of course, Kendrick Lamar.
Although his verses are co-written, Dr. Dre’s authentic voice is still strongly present. The sixteen years he spent attempting to craft the now-cancelled “Detox” have led him to strengthen one of the most iconic flows in hip-hop. On “Compton,” Dr. Dre raps with prowess of a master. He is as timeless as ever.
Of course, every album has it flaws. Issues such as stagnation in the theme and guests under-performing are as present as ever. Another issue with the album is that it tries to emulate a movie, yet the skits come across as awkward and forced.
But every flaw on the album is forgiven thanks to Dr. Dre’s production. The rich instrumentation that most producers tend to stray from is beautifully implemented in most of the songs.
Each beat grabs the essence of each artist, to the point where Ice Cube’s harsh flow can easily mesh with Dem Jointz’s dancehall-inspired singing.
Dr. Dre is truly rap’s King Midas; every verse, every beat, every feature is golden.
According to rumors in the music industry, the album may be his last. If this is the case then Dr. Dre’s swan song epitomizes his legend.