It’s rare that multiple superstar artists, new and old, can come together for an album, with the intent that each song is as amazing as the last. It doesn’t happen often. It hasnt happened. But, not because it couldn’t, but because as an industry of music lovers… We weren’t ready yet.
Dr. Dre is a genius. More than having an ear for what sounds good, he has great instincts. I believe those are the things that favored his billionaire empire. So why would a genius wait so long to give us greatness? Well, that answer is simple: Now’s the time. Think about it, Kendrick Lamar was only like 3 when The Chronic came out….Exactly.
An album of this magnitude had to be curated. Dre had all the pieces to premiere a show we will be talking about for years to come.
After listening to a couple songs and reading some of the reviews, I believed this would be a classic album. The musicality makes it unbearable to not be moved emotionally. Much to the likes of D’Angelo’s Black Messiah and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, it tells the stories of black men and women with a past that have learned something. The album bridges the gap between hip-hop then and now. It’s like your parents, your older sibling, and you. Sure, you all go through things in life, but the perspectives are all different. Not better or worse…just different. This album understands that.
The “Intro” is an overture of Compton history using samples of news reports and signature Dre compilations, while “Talk About It” is an introduction to where music is in 2015. The lyrical flow is not like Dre’s traditional sound, giving us our first glimpse into the new generation’s influence on his music. He includes Aftermath artist Justus, featured on, “It’s All On Me” with BJ the Chicago Kid and “Deep Water” with Kendrick Lamar. He also features King Mez, the crowned MVP of the album, with influential verses included in the songs “Darkside/Gone” and “Satisfiction” also featuring Snoop Dogg. The beauty of Dre including newer artists gives respect to their predecessors and colleagues.
“Genocide” is the listener’s first time hearing Kendrick on the album and he does not disappoint. With the help of Marsha Ambrosius and Anderson Paak (both featured multiple times throughout the album), “All In A Day’s Work” gives a insight into the pressures of being Black in Compton. “Loose Cannons” featuring Xzibit, Cold 187um, and Sly Piper. “Issues” featuring Ice Cube and Dem Jointz, & “One Shot One Kill” featuring Uncle Snoop and Jon Connor, definitely have a nod towards traditional west coast flows. “Just Another Day” featuring The Game and Asia Bryant tells a short story of growing up in Compton and how things dont really change except the money. A remix of “For The Love Of Money” featuring Jill Scott is a perfect follow-up showing the pros and cons of having a money-hungry mindset.
“Animals” featuring Anderson Paak does have a soulful take on the fearless rage of the community and how you can’t cage us for long. “Medicine Man” is the exactly what the doctor ordered (pun intended). It includes the only feature of Dre protegé-Eminem, which describes how Dre has the prescription to give the music industry what it needs to survive. After Candice Pillay sings the sweet directions in the chorus to “Go f**k yourself; Doctor’s orders….” Eminem reminds us of how when others prejudged him, Dre not only knew he would be something great, but cultivated his talents and gave him the resources he needed to succeed, leaving us all with the ominous fact that Dr. Dre really knows what he’s doing. So, if you consistently doubt that…follow the doctor’s orders.
The album ends with “Talking to My Diary”, a lyrical thank you and credit reel from the doctor-himself. In Dr. Dre fashion, he discusses his past and his growth. In an epic conclusion, his words still give us an insight to why thisStraight Outta Compton inspired album is so sincerely Dre. He tells us yet again why collaborative projects is what he does so well, because he understood and understands his role in hip-hop: “I was a starving artist. So I would never starve an artist.”
Job well done. Can’t wait to see the movie. If you haven’t heard the Compton album yet click here and make your ears happy!!