Ayo whattup…once again you in the presence of the grand royal Cocaine Biceps aka Thor Molecules aka Phantom Raviolis aka Shampoo Bracelets the panty melter aka Spartacus Deluxe aka the magnificent Broccoli Bundles or the almighty Hands of Zeus namsayin. Word is muthafuckin bond. Welcome back to the Cappuccino Lounge. After yalls take a moment to caress the luxurious velvet walls n enjoy the exquisite furs beneath ya feet we gon pay respects to the solo career of one of the least prolific artists of the last 20 years… Today is the 14th anniversary of one of the greatest rap albums of all times…2001 aka The Chronic 2001 aka The Chronic 2. This nigga dont need no introductions but Imma introduce him anyways…
Andre “Dr Dre” Young is the architect behind some of the greatest monuments in rap history nahmean… It all started when he was a member of The World Class Wreckin Cru. Outside of LA this aint exactly the most celebrated group ever…but they was pioneers of west coast hip hop namsayin. Niggas made electro joints n dressed up in sequins-covered outfits n wore eyeliner so the shit wasnt exactly dope by the standards we came to expect from Dre LATER in his career…nevertheless that shit had its merits at the time n whatever. It wasn’t til Dre met Ice Cube thru his cousin Sir Jinx…who was in a group wit Cube n another dude named K-Dee called C-I-A n makin shit that sounded like bad imitation Beastie Boys Licensed To Ill music…that son began to gravitate towards a different sound n shit. Round the same time he also met the late great Eazy-E…who had been thinkin bout makin the move from the crack game to the rap game for a minute n had started a label called Ruthless Records. Long story short…niggas started a little group called Niggaz Wit Attitude aka NWA (which also included MC Ren n DJ Yella… n at one time a dude who went by the name Arabian Prince) n changed rap music forever b.
You would need muthafuckas from NASA to help you calculate the number of careers that was spawned from the NWA tree forreal… Ey’thing from Above The Law to The D.O.C. to Yo-Yo to Del Tha Funkee Homosapien to Bone Thugs N Harmony to Snoop n The Dogg Pound to Eminem to 50 Cent to Game to Kendrick Lamar n the list jus keeps goin on n on n on… If it wasnt for NWA a lot of careers never woulda happened… point blank. The shit was doomed from the start tho…mostly over shit to do wit bad contracts n niggas not gettin paid what they shoulda namsayin. Cube was the first one to notice how fucked up the contracts was n decided to bounce to New York n hook up wit Public Enemy n The Bomb Squad n make history n basically became the biggest rapper on the planet for a while. The rest of the group carried on for another couple years n shit. Durin that time Dre’s work behind the boards began to get a lot more complex n intricate. If you go back now…you can hear the first hints of what was eventually gon become the G-Funk sound namsayin.
But the same issues over wack contracts still existed n it wasnt long before Dre was like HAAAYULLL YEAH…FUCK YALL NIGGAS n left the group too. After the collapse of NWA… Dre went on to start Death Row Records wit Suge Knight. A year n a half after the last NWA album (Niggaz4life) dropped…Dre unleashed his masterpiece upon the world…The Chronic. Ayo lemme tell you this b… for anybody that remembers what that shit was like at the time n for yall muthafuckas who was still some sperms swimmin round in a pair of balls…this was one of the most incredible albums ever. That shit cant be over emphasized at all bruh… You gotta think…that G-Funk shit basically aint exist really until this album. There was jus glimpses of that shit before but this was the first album wit that sound…n there wasnt a damn thing fuckin wit it anywhere on earth b. Plus it had some of the nicest niggas from the west coast (ok two of em…Snoop n Kurupt) n the dopest female rapper that had existed up to that point (no disrespect to MC Lyte) helpin to take the shit to places muthafuckas had never went to before. Not to mention that this the album that introduced the world to the greatest rap hook-singer of all time (Naw sit the fuck down Drake…not you)…the one n only Nate D-O Double G (RIP). You look back at the shit now after 21 years n it might sound dated… but the production still on a whole nother level to this day b. Shit went on to become like the biggest sellin rap album ever by someone NOT named MC Hammer or Vanilla Ice nahmean.
Not even a full year later…Death Row dropped its second classic in a row…Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle. Shit went on to sell even more than The Chronic n made Snoop the most famous rapper in the world. The controversy around the fact that son was on trial for murder at the same time the album was bout to drop jus made the nigga more poppin than he already was. So far so good nahmean. If you not familiar wit these two albums you either gotta be on some Encino Man shit or you jus never owned a tv or a computer or read a magazine in ya life so I aint gon get into them shits too too much. Basically Dre had like 6 classic albums under his belt by this time (includin Eazy’s shit, the NWA joints, n The D.O.C.’s first LP) so you could say son was on a winnin streak. But there was conflict within the Death Row camp…mostly due to Suge bein on some wild cowboy shit.. makin enemies left n right n slappin niggas up in the studio n whatever whatever. By this time 2Pac was outta jail n signed to the label. As was usually the case wit the nigga…Pac brought a lot of drama n controversial shit wit him. For a nigga like Dre…shit wasnt exactly the best creative environment…so by the middle of ’96 he decided once again he was gon bounce. Nigga jus up n walked away without takin a dime.
Fast forward to the end of the year…Dre had started a new home called Aftermath Records n was gettin set to drop his first project for the label namsayin. The album was a showcase for his new artists wit jus one solo joint from Dre. Son named it Dr Dre Presents: The Aftermath. Shit was beyond terrible b. This might actually be the worst muthafuckin album attached to Dre’s name. Basically the streak was over. Son had nothin but garbage acts on his label apparently…minus maybe King Tee who was already a vet in the game witta prestigious muthafuckin catalog of his own. So shit was lookin pretty rough for Andre. None of the muthafuckas on that shit ever released any albums on Aftermath…
After the first Aftermath release disappointed the shit outta anybody who aint had the wackest taste known to man…Dre needed a win under his belt. Son had worked wit Nas on a couple joints that year already so Esco n his manager Steve “Commisioner” Stoute approached Dre bout bein part of The Firm project namsayin. Dre got on board…n actually did some of his best work since Doggystyle. The Album coulda been sumn special… Nas n AZ + Foxy Brown + Nature rocked together nicely. But somehow the shit aint really come together the way muthafuckas had hoped it would. The second half of the album turned into a compilation almost…like a album within a album… Shit was like a inception album. By the last few tracks muthafuckas was like WHERE NAS GO? In the end…”The Firm flopped” n niggas went they separate ways. Dre was lookin like he was on his way out…
1998 was a quiet year for Dre. He made a little noise on the “Ghetto Fabulous” joint wit Ras Kass n Mack 10 but other than that…wasnt much goin on. Or so it seemed… Son was actually workin on his next solo album. Worst mistake son made was mentionin that the shit was gon be called The Chronic 2000. In early ’99 Death Row dropped a double album comp called Suge Knight Represents: Chronic 2000. Im tellin you bruh…that nigga Suge is way beyond foul. After Pac was murdered n Snoop left the label to join Master P’s army Suge made his own fake Pac (a corny ass clone named Tha Realest) n brought out a nigga who rapped over the same beats as Snoop n named hisself after one of his Snoop’s albums…(Top Dogg). Compared to this shit The Aftermath joint was practically a work of art. Words cannot express how wack this shit was b. But regardless… Dre hadda change the name of the album. At the end of the year…2,585 days after The Chronic…Dre finally dropped his 2nd “solo” album.
When joints from 2001 started poppin up on the internet…n then finally the whole shit leaked…shit sounded like it was from another world. Nobody woulda guessed that Dre coulda came back from his years of trash n not only match the first Chronic joint…but in some ways make a better album than the last time. Kinda. The first half of the album is damn near flawless… “The Watcher”, “Fuck You”, “Still D.R.E”., “Xxplosive” (Even tho they shoulda kept at least one of the Dre verses on it), “What’s The Difference”, “Light Speed”, “Forgot About Dre”, “The Next Episode” (which was revisited after a different version got left off Doggystyle)…n to some degree “Big Egos” was all classic shit. The features from Eminem, Snoop, Devin, Kurupt, n Xzibit were all crazy on point n ey’body brought they A-game. After the most disappointing sophomore album on God’s green earth (The Doggfather) n one of the worst albums in the history of rap not recorded by Chingy or Soulja Boy (Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not To Be Told)…n a halfway aight “comeback” album from the beginning of that same year…even Snoop finally sounded like Snoop again. Eminem was givin muthafuckas a taste of what was bout to come on the Marshall Mathers LP n Kurupt spit one of the rawest verses of his entire career on “Xxplosive”. Meanwhile the homie X to the Z was startin to make the jump from LA underground hero to rap star. Dre also introduced his latest protege Hittman. I aint gon lie b…Hittman wasnt exactly the most incredible rapper to walk the earth ever…but he wasnt trash neither. He jus aint had the mic presence or charisma of dudes like Eminem or Snoop or Kurupt or Devin or Xzibit…or even Dre. But son only spit on two tracks n did one hook on the first half of that shit.. so it wasnt hurtin nobody. First half of the album could go toe to toe wit The Chronic…n definitely win a lot of those rounds yo.
Once we hit track 12 tho…which was excatly the halfway point…shit is a whole different story b. I mean “Bitch Niggaz” was cool n all….but it was surrounded by shit like “Lets Get High” which I still aint listen to the whole way thru to this day n “The Car Bomb” skit…which was basically a less interesting n direct bite from Cube’s “The Drive-By” off Amerikkka’s Most Wanted. Them shits wasnt even the worst joints tho b… You still had “Murder Ink” n “Pause 4 Porno”. Son Ion een kno how to tell you how UNNECESSARY “Pause 4 Porno” is. That shit is the worst skit/interlude since (AND a straight bite from) “De La Orgee” from De La Soul’s 3 Feet High And Rising. Shit shoulda jus been a instrumental called “Pause”. Then you had another interlude wit Eddie Griffin talkin shit n its back to the mediocre ass music. Summa yall gon be weepin into ya glasses of warm milk…but I really aint a “Some L.A. Niggas” fan at all b. Beat is boring as fuck n the shit niggas was spittin wasnt really that impressive yo. Its like 15 second pauses in the music between bars n shit too. Meanwhile Hittman is on damn near every track n even gotta solo joint on this half of the muthafucka. Then you got Kurupt’s “Housewife” joint which was also on his Tha Streetz Iz A Mutha album which dropped the same day as 2001. The track itself was actually already a remake from his first album Kuruption…I guess son really really liked this concept b. Anyways…that shit n “Bang Bang” was aight but they not on the same level as the shit thats on tracks 1 to 11. Dre closes out the LP strong on “The Message” over a glorious Lord Finesse beat while spittin bars (courtesy of Royce Da 5’9) bout his brother who had passed.
In a lotta ways…the first half of the album carried the entire project namsayin. If Dre had released a 11 track album that had the intro n the one skit n ended wit “The Next Episode”…shit woulda still been dope as fuck. Coulda even tacked “The Message” on it or whatever… But if he had only released the 2nd half? Nah b… The first half had all the bangers too nahmean. Still D.R.E. might be in my personal top 10 list for rap songs of all times b. Im sayin…thats still one of the greatest beats ever. Respects due to Scott Storch for that instrumentation n arrangement…word up. I mean he might be a coked out has-been who turned his own career into a sideshow when he tried to wife that wombat Lil Kim n blew his entire fortune on cocaine n leased yachts while bein EMBROILED in some beef wit Timbaland…( I mean was there ever a wacker beef that somehow ended up on wax that didnt involve Papoose in any shape or form yo?)…but son did his thing n you gotta give him credit where its dude namsayin. Plus Jiggaman hisself penned probably the best bars Dre ever spit that somehow still sounded like some shit Dre woulda wrote if he knew how to write rhymes. Close second would be the cold ass verses on “The Watcher” that flowed from the pen of the one n only Nasir Jones. Meanwhile…ya boy Marshall Mathers introduced us to Dre rappin in double time…which took some gettin use to n shit…but somehow Forgot About Dre still sounds dope 14 years later regardless yo.
Now to me…the high points on this album…mainly “Still D.R.E.”, “Xxplosive”, “Whats The Difference” n “The Next Episode” wash damn near (almost) anything on the first Chronic album…but as far as the weaknesses on this shit…The Chronic 1 never hit levels as low as summa the trash thats on the 2nd half of 2001 b. But the shit that IS dope is summa the best rap shit ever. Plus who the fuck knew Dre could create ANOTHER completely original sound (which is probably why he never releasin Detox)…that shit aint easy at all yo. In the end…I still love this record. But I skip a lotta shit on it these days nahmean. Regardless tho…Dre got hisself back on top n the impact this shit had was colossal b. Shit is damn near 8x platinum n still sounds like it could drop tomorrow. Also it led to one of the greatest tours ever when he took this shit on the road. Not to mention shit helped Snoop get re-focused n make his first album that came close to the caliber of the shit he was on back in the Doggystyle days when he dropped The Last Meal the next year. This is when Dre solidified his status as a titan in hip hop…n Aftermath finally dropped its first classic.
I gives this shit 4-1/2 Zeus Slaps outta 5 *
(Not all classics deserve perfect ratings btw…so chill)