“Haters say Dre fell off — how nigga?
My last album was ‘The Chronic'”

Couldn’t have put it any better myself. So we haven’t seen an album (or should I say a compilation) under his name in almost a decade – in fact the closest we got was the rather lukewarm “Dr. Dre Presents The Aftermath”. Needless to say some people will have written Dre off; but then again, people said the same thing after N.W.A broke up, right? That’s what’s great about Dr. Dre – he’s always hungry and he LOVES being the spoiler. He relishes the role, and this album is living proof.

Dr. Dre’s protege Mel-Man splits production duties with Dre on this track; but the student obviously learned well from the master – you won’t hear any “lesser” or “inferior” songs on here – every song is a quality cut. The cast is a rotating group of hot new artists, old familiar friends, and up and comers we’ve never seen before. Of these, the one who appears the most often and makes the most impact is Hittman, who shows up on nine songs. The best of these is probably “Bitch Niggaz” with Dr. Dre and Snoop – a gangster twist on the old classic “Bitches Ain’t Shit”. Check out these hilarious lyrics from Mr. Hitt:

   “Man, you shit on Hitt, get yo’ shit bust; plus
pistol-whipped, cover it up – use yo’ bitch’s blush
Mr. Powder Puff yo’, bark ain’t loud enough, huh
I know chihuahuas that’s mo’ rah-rah, HA HA
I have to laugh Dre, I bet he take bubble baths”

But if you really want comedy, you need to check for Eminem on Dr. Dre’s first “triple cadence” rap, the high-octane “Forgot About Dre”.

   “I don’t give a fuck if it’s dark or not
I’m harder than me tryin to park a Dodge
when I’m drunk as fuck
Right next to a humungous truck in a two car garage “

Dre’s theme for the music to accompany such raps is simple: Keep It FUNKY, Stupid. You’ll hear a big chunky horn section on “What’s the Difference”, simmering piano keys on “Big Ego’s”, and what I can only assume are some HIGH caliber keyboards on “Bang Bang” since they unload with the power of the song title. This is one of those albums that you truly can listen to from start to finish. Appropriately enough for that idea, Dre starts out the album with “The Watcher” wherein he discusses how the rap scene has changed, and closes with “The Message” – a dedication to his fallen brother Tyree.

Rap critics come and go, and rap magazines come and go, but artists will keep on making music regardless. Dr. Dre knows this. These songs could have been written just from a ” fuck you too” perspective, but Dre proves that the best revenge is still being around to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Undoubtedly he will since he has made not only one of the best albums of 1999 but the best for a few years to come. How appropriate then that he would skip over the much overhyped year 2000 and go straight to the TRUE new millenium with “The Chronic 2001”.

Dr. Dre :: Chronic 2001