So it's not Detox, but at least it's something. It's been some time since Dr. Dre announced the advent of the greatest Hip-Hop album never released, and many of us in all honesty grew tired of the trite and anticipation. It became obvious to me that Dre's hunger had been satiated from the colossal success of his previous albums. Couple that with the triumph of his business ventures and you have a sufficient recipe for early retirement. To be cynical perhaps he felt he lacked the craftsmanship to top what he had already released, after all Chronic 2001 was, and still is a masterclass in how to create a 'gangster' Hip-Hop album.
According to Dr. Dre Detox is officially 'dead', and at the risk of sounding blasphemous i'm not particularly bothered by that admission. I was already prepared for disappointment. After hearing leaked tracks and that whinny excuse for a song ‘I Need A Doctor’, i had concluded that Dre was no longer a young Shepard pioneering the sound of Hip-Hop, but instead a withered old sheep desperately trying it’s best to keep a pace with the herd.
Perhaps it’s Dr. Dre’s ability to scrap a subpar project that makes his releases so unique. As soon as i heard ‘Intro’ I knew instantly my suppositions were premature. ‘I don’t believe it, he’s done it again’ i said to myself as ‘Intro’ rolled into ‘Talk About It’. This is the standard i used to expect of Dre - that gangster sound, not some washed out pop dribble. I felt comfortable letting the album play, I was intrigued by the composition, and the evolution of the songs kept me interested throughout. Ironically rapping was never Dr. Dre’s strong point, and had it not been for the prevalent presents of featured artists many of the songs on the album would have fallen from banging to mediocre, or maybe even worse. With that said, Dre has done what he does best; produce a dope album by utilising the abundance of talent at his disposal.
It’s interesting to note that Eminem doesn’t featuring half as much as Kendrick Lamar, and maybe thats an indication of Dre finally realising just how far Eminem has fallen off. truthfully ‘Medicine Man’ would have been better without Slim, and ‘For The Love Of Money’ would not have been nearly the same without Kendrick. Dre earns bonus points for ‘Animals’ not simply because it’s a DJ Premier beat, but because the track conflates a authentic east coast and west coast Hip-Hop sound so well.
For me this album undoubtably stands up against his previous two albums and completes Dre’s discographical trilogy just in time for the film ‘Straight Outta Compton’.