Dr. Dre – 2001 (1999)

Dr. Dre is a very well known producer who lives on the west coast of the U.S.A. That may be his main claim to fame, but he also excelled as a rapper. He began in the group N.W.A. before beginning his own solo career.

The Chronic was release in 1992 and changed the world of Rap forever. It mixed weed talk, laugh out loud style humour and sexual escapes into the genre. After a few ill-fated excursions, Dr. Dre released this album called 2001. And like The Chronic, it’s a killer listen.

The album begins with Lolo (Intro) and has a spacey sound at the start, followed by a humourous skit with Dr. Dre returning into full gangsta rap mode.

Then it begins. The Watcher has Dr. Dre doing social commentary about his status. Indeed it’s not easy being famous and having to cope with fame, and Dr. Dre specifically points this out. It has some guest rappers, showing that Dr. Dre wanted as variable as a recording as possible.

Fuck You is very explicit from the word go. It features a lady crying at the beginning, before being rather cocky about the treatment of women. It’s not a great song for that reason but is catchy anyway.

The next song was a big hit on the album. Still D.R.E. is a great song about Dr. Dre still having the ability to create music and live up to the hype that was expected of him. The melody has an air of melancholy on it, which is not uncommon during the album.

Big Ego’s begins with a chopper and radio talk before discussing said big egos. It sounds a bit like filler but fits in nicely with the rest of the recording.

Xxplosive suggests weed imagery which persists as a semi-concept of Dr. Dre’s work, set to music. It’s a good listen and once again, has a melancholy melody about it.

The next piece, What’s The Difference features Eminem who was relatively unknown at this point, and quite honestly self boasts about self-worth by the rappers. It sounds somewhat like the classical music piece by Edvard Grieg In The Hall Of The Mountain King, but there are no similarities otherwise.

The skit Bar One is okay. It’s not as funny as you’d think, but it still has its place on the album.

The track segues into Light Speed, which is about getting high. “Lightspeed, blazing through the galaxy,” says a robotic voice. It’s an interesting take on getting high and sounds cheesy.

Eminem returns in full on rap mode in Forgot About Dre. This song is about showing respect to Dr. Dre although he was quiet for a while before he made this recording. It’s something the fans of Dr. Dre, in particular, would value.

The Next Episode is Dr. Dre’s biggest ever hit. It sounds catchy, and more police arrests have been conducted for this song being aired than any other song before or since at residential areas. Besides that, it’s a great piece and sounds catchy. It ends with the phrase, “Smoke weed every day”. As if it were compulsory to smoke weed.

Let’s Get High is weak but fun overall. Dr. Dre says, “Yeah, I just took some ecstasy. Ain’t not knowing what the side effects could be, all these fine bitches equal sex to me.” This is no doubt a profane record, don’t play it to your parents.

The next piece Bitch Niggaz seems like another much weaker piece. It drags on and could have been edited. Nonetheless, once again, it fits in well with the rest of the recording.

The Car Bomb is fairly straightforward, what you’d expect from Dr. Dre type of skit. It’s not essential listening, but interesting anyway.

Murder Ink. talks directly about the gang life that is so prevalent in rap culture. Indeed, more rappers have been shot than rockstars, so it is understandable for a rapper to live in fear. Dr. Dre is still with us, fortunately, and delivers here.

The next tune, Ed-Ucation talks about the stupidity of affairs. Indeed, that is exactly the point and explicitly talks about them. It’s a word of warning to others who get involved in affairs, so not an easy listen for some.

Some L.A. Niggaz has a lot of guest rappers on it and is largely forgettable. Still, Dr. Dre’s got it and this album is good more so as a concept album, rather than excelling at individual songs.

Turn everything upside down, and you have Pause 4 Porno, which is not a typical take on sex. It’s essential listening for the humour within it.

Gold digging women should avoid the next song. Housewife talks about gold diggers in an upbeat and funny way. It’s true, “You can’t make a ho a housewife!” A good and enjoyable listen.

Ackrite is rubbish and features rapper Hittman extensively. Obviously, not everything Dr. Dre did was great. This is one of the songs that fall into this category.

Bang Bang features a computer-generated vocal chorus and talks about guns and ghetto life. It’s annoying a bit, but still listenable. But definitely annoying.

The last real track on this album is a tear jerker. The Message confirms the melancholy feel of this album and shows why. “Listen…listen…listen…” If you ain’t been there, you wouldn’t understand. Dr. Dre raps about losing his brother, quite a sad thing to experience.

The Outro is a funny skit for those who made it to the end. It doesn’t disappoint.

Why should you seek out this album? Many young people these days do smoke weed and enjoy this sort of music. If you fall into this category, get this album. For other listeners, it’s a good one to listen to now and again. It’s still essential, even though it is not 2001, and is now 2018. Enjoy this one, it’s a rapper’s delight.

7/10