Dr. Dre is one clever man. After being famous for being in N.W.A. they eventually fell apart. Dr. Dre reinvented himself primarily as a studio producer, working with many younger Rap hopefuls for success. He also made three albums of his own. This album, The Chronic, is his first and best album. Obviously, it’s designed to be listened to when high, but even so, listening to this album sober is also not a bad option.
It’s a sensational listen, so let’s dive in and do that.
The Chronic – Intro begins with some great samples and features Snoop Dogg. It’s a great introduction to the album, and it creates the Rap music format that it does. Weed, guns, and hate are here, but it sounds great.
Fuck With Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’) brings Dr Dre into the mix, and talks explicitly about gangsta rap culture in Los Angeles, where Dr Dre resides. The beats, textures, and samples collide into a perfect way to start Dr. Dre’s solo career. It’s a good listen, even if you are not a big fan of Rap music. It blows away anything done in the name of Rap music done before and has cast a huge presence on the Rap music that came afterwards. Brilliant. Has not aged at all. It ends with soulful vocals.
It goes straight into Let Me Ride. This tune seems rather angry in approach, although it has unique and blissful sounds on this piece. The chorus is definitely a great exercise in textures and singalong chants. The lyrics are really intelligent compared to the modern stage of Rap music today. Still sounds brilliant today, and yes, worth listening to. It is great that Dr Dre pioneered this sort of Rap music in such an emotional and original way.
Next up begins a sample of shouting for equal rights between African Americans and other Americans, before going straight into The Day The Niggaz Took Over. It’s an original and very 1990’s sound. Sadly, the United States of America has a ton of racism, but this piece shows in a Gangsta Rap fashion that this racism is totally unnecessary. It sounds a lot like a horror movie soundtrack, but it’s not Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It is way better than that, it just does so well here. This record has been a huge influence on other musicians from all genres, and here, you can easily see why.
Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang is a funkalicious and chilled tune. Snoop Dogg is here, as he is on much of the album. It’s definitely chronic territory here, sounds like it was specifically designed for being stoned to. Dr. Dre just delivers his beats, sounds, samples and rapping into a powerful core. This guy is a great studio producer and makes most rock of today sound truly laughable. This is a wonderful listen from Dr. Dre. Keep at it mate. It also mentions The Next Episode, who would’ve thought?
Deeez Nuuuts begins with some humourous phone dialogue, before going into a blazed groove. It sounds like the unofficial soundtrack to the Friday movies featuring fellow Rapper Ice Cube. A variety of rappers, tougher-than-nails lyrics, and a great confident attitude is here. Good music is often hard to find, but here? It’s not just good, it’s brilliant. Very enjoyable listening. A wonderful Rap tune, even if you are unfamiliar with this musical genre. It is largely instrumental towards the end, making a stoned, spaced-out groove for the listener to enjoy.
Next up is Lil’ Ghetto Boy. It has a melancholy and moody sort of feel to the track. Snoop Dogg is featured, again. It is a lush and wonderful sounding piece about regretting decisions in a ghetto background. Perhaps a caution to the listener about taking gang and gun culture too seriously, it is a good listen regardless. It’s likely a much better deal to be a musician than a criminal, and this track points this out. Wise sentiment overall. The flute is beautiful.
Following that is A Nigga Witta Gun. It’s a standout track on this album, with a fantastic mix of bass and drumbeats. It’s fierce, mindblowing and just excellent to hear. It evokes gang culture imagery and is ahead of its time musically. It’d be great to hear a decent live version of this tune, if possible. It’s neither too fast, nor too slow. It’s a powerful sentiment and statement by Dr. Dre. Great stuff. Dr. Dre sounds like someone you would never want to get on the wrong side of, especially on this piece.
Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat sounds like it samples Black Sabbath at the start, before going into a slower and angry sounding tune for the listener. It’s another great piece about guns and thugs sort of thing but still sounds amazing, even today. Another good listen by the Doc, we know here who is boss. Original – and brutal.
The $20 Sack Pyramid is a brilliant and absolutely hilarious midsection of the album. It’d be best not to describe this as it would be spoiled otherwise, except it is absolutely worth hearing, and best left to you to hear yourself. Very essential, however.
Next is Lyrical Gangbang. This is a beatastic and heavy sounding tune from Dr. Dre. It samples the Led Zeppelin When The Levee Breaks, has funk guitar and fantastically delivered rhymes. A variety of rappers here make this track come alive. It’s a great rap tune, and yes, deserves to be cranked on a loud stereo HiFi Soundsystem, as does the rest of the recording. Brilliant and great to hear any day.
After that, we arrive at High Powered with a spoken word part, before going into a stoned groove to chill out to. It’s different, and has plenty of twists and turns in it to make it an interesting, and essential listen. It still talks about gang culture ideals but is not that noticeable as the groove of the track is forefront.
The Doctor’s Office is another humourous skit. It’s short and interesting, best left to the listener to experience. Enjoyable and funny.
Stranded On Death Row is another really wonderful gangsta Rap piece that is great listening. The melodies, beats, grooves, and textures make it a truly tripped out experience. The perfect mix comes with some awesome guest rappers, making it yet another essential piece to hear. Brilliant, the prescription of good music by Dr. Dre has us feeling 100% when we hear it. Nice stuff.
Next is The Roach (The Chronic Outro). This is a great stoner Rap vibe, with some interesting instrumentation and a bit of spoken tale about weed in general. It’s a drug heavy vibe here, so those who do not like drug stories or humour, this music is not for you. It’s an interesting piece to hear anyway.
The semi-extra track Bitches Ain’t Shit is a lustful tale to end this album. It’s a welcome change from weed and guns of most of the album. Still, worth a listen and we end the album nicely.
This album is the real deal for Rap music. Quite like Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols, this album made all music prior to it obsolete and everything afterward directly inspired by it. Music never was the same afterward, for better or worse. Still, a really great listen, and worth having in your collection.