Dr. Dre has been in the game for years, with a resume that lends itself to calling him one of the most prolific and important figures in the history of Hip-Hop. And without a doubt, when doing a reconciliation of all that he’s given us, from the World Class Wrecking Crew to Eminem, his greatest contribution to music and culture is indubitably The Chronic album, which dropped 25 years ago today.
With this monumental accomplishment, Dre took Gangsta Rap from the societal fringes to the mainstream in the blink of an eye, elevating the album into cult classic territory while simultaneously establishing himself and this new, dynamic, laid-back lyrical force of nature and new kid on the block named Snoop into a cultural phenomenon, inserting themselves into the debate of the best producer/rapper collabos ever.
CLICK LINK BELOW FOR FULLY UNCENSORED VIDEO VERSION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNp9fzmXyn8 Subscribe to catch all uploads WED-SAT 12pm PT / 3pm ET From 1992 Album: “The Chronic”…(Click “show more” for artist info)… Andre Romelle Young (born February 18, 1965), primarily known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is an American record producer, rapper, record executive, and actor.
The Chronic signaled Dres unquestionable ascension toward a level reserved for the best of music’s creative minds. I mean, how do you come harder on a solo debut project than crafting something that is universally recognized among the greatest 20th century musical achievements?
The Chronic is not simply one of the best albums of the 1990s or within the total sphere of Hip-Hop, it’s undeniably one of the greatest albums of all time. Of any genre. From the grittiest of urban ghettos to the most pristine American suburbs, the project banged with a profound lyricism, thumping bass and soulful symbiosis that no other album had yet to accomplish within the rap game.
We’d seen dope dynamic duos before in KRS-One and Scott La Rock, Eric B and Rakim and a few others, but Dre and Snoop blasted off with their G-Funk-fueled brilliance in ways that the majority of Rap fiends had yet to even imagine.
The gangster vibe and attitude, the blending of classic soul and the shocking combination of stellar production and ridiculous rhyme flows made you rewind each song, over and over again in an attempt to unwrap, digest and unfold its inherent, mesmerizing layers.
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As dope as Ice Cube’s contributions were to N.W.A., The Chronic made people recognize that the true musical muscularity of that collective laid within Dre’s mind. The instrumentation was beyond bananas with its fusion of live instruments and banging ’70s-era samples, and we witnessed the maturation and ascension of the first true melding of a DJ/Engineer/Producer that bordered on the Einstenian.
The multitude and variance of drum sounds, the utilization and blending of string ensembles, the use of Fender Rhodes and Clavinet, that damn flute – all of it was mind-blowing. It was an utterly arrogant display that rendered pure, unadulterated awe once you understood the monumental genius of what you were listening to: similar to watching Jordan in the fourth quarter, Floyd Mayweather in his prime or Richard Pryor in the throes of a Mudbone tale.
Swagged out with that Parliament Funkadelic sound that had informed the musical sensibilities of his West Coast upbringing, Dre changed the game.
Nuthin But A G Thang was some musical weed fo’ yo’ ass, and I swear that you catch a buzz just by listening to it. We’d heard cats get dissed on wax before, but the all out assault against Eazy on Dre Day” broke new ground in its sinister comedy.
Music video by Dr. Dre performing Let Me Ride. Off the album The Chronic. 1992 Priority Records
I didn’t even know what “Rollin’ in my 6-fo!” meant when I first heard Let Me Ride, but it sounded like the smoothest, most laid-back flossing mechanism ever.
The samples in that piece – from James Brown’s Funky Drummer to Bill Withers’ Kissing My Love to the negro spiritual-infused Star Child Parliament joint – and how they fuse together – coupled with the nods to LA’s car culture as Dre’s ride reps his come-up, from strolling with his feet to now rolling in his 6-fo, boggles the mind in both its construction and delivery.
Little Ghetto Boy never received the popular acclaim of some of the projects more bombastic singles, but it remains my absolute favorite.
Infused with the majesty of Donny Hathaway’s earlier cry for the plight of our Black urban youth, Dre and Snoop lend a voice to the helpless. As Dre says emphatically, “Things done changed on this side,” while Snoops lament of, “Murder was the case that they gave me, Dear God, I wonder can you save me,” pierces the soul with anguish and despair as we ponder the bottomless hole of what our boys are gonna do when they grow up, and have to face responsibility.
And that flute that floats across the epicenter of the anguish? Like a hovering bird teasing us with its ability to fly away freely towards it dreams, while we remain stuck? Good gawd a’mighty. To this day, it makes my eyes watery.
Original track by Dr. Dre from his album ‘The Chronic’. [No copyright infringement intended.]
B****** Aint Shit made C. Delores Tucker have a conniption, and there’s no sugarcoating the inherent misogyny. But there’s a deeper sociological dive there beyond the obvious, especially when observing a club full of women running to the dance floor when it jumps through the sound system.
Dre’s musical takeover and business empire was launched with The Chronic, which Kanye West said in a Rolling Stone interview a few years back was “…the hip-hop equivalent to Stevie Wonders Songs in the Key of Life. Its the benchmark you measure your album against if youre serious.
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The Chronic was simply Hip-Hop’s Star Trek, going where no man had gone before in search of new musical worlds.
In doing so, Dre placed himself in the company of Quincy Jones, Miles Davis, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Bob Marley, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Michael Jackson and a few select others that instituted a seismic paradigm shift in what was possible through reconstructing everything we thought we knew about music.
Yeah, 25 years ago, as Dre said, “Things done changed on this side…”
And on this side, that side and every other side, things would never be the same again.