After Dr. Dre’s 16-year hiatus, the hip-hop hub of Los Angeles is shining brighter than ever before. A new wave of Compton rappers, such as Kendrick Lamar and YG, have put the city back on the map, whether their fame is for their innovative lyrics, their beats or the misconception about hip-hop and violence. And now, after a long break, Dr. Dre has released his anticipated album, Compton, which describes the tumultuous journey of N.W.A. Compton’s success goes far beyond the ingenious idea of pairing it with the heavy, gritty biopic, “Straight Outta Compton.” Dr. Dre’s raw talent for creating beats, which was highlighted in “Eazy-er Said Than Dunn” back in 1989, has been perfected in Compton.
In tandem with the movie, the first track on the album introduces “the black American Dream” that is Compton, and the song discusses real problems experienced by the rap group, such as welfare and crime. Dr. Dre wants to highlight his roots and humble beginnings, which is exactly what he did in the next track, “Talk About It.”
After a seamless transition from “Intro,” the album steps right into an explosive energy as the up-and-coming rapper King Mez screams “I don’t give one fuck.” While the vehemence is a great way to begin the listening experience, it doesn’t have the traditional Dr. Dre essence that a long-time fan would expect.
“Talk About It” and “Deep Water” are exhilarating tracks, but the rapper’s aggression captures our attention so immediately that it distracts the listener from his well-crafted beats. Compared to the rest of the album, these tracks seem out of place, since the other songs place an equal weight on the beats and rappers. Dr. Dre brings back an emphasis on lyricism in “Genocide” and “It’s All On Me,” two of the best tracks on the album.
Dr. Dre continues to impress his fans with each song, reminding his audience why he was so successful in the first place. His attention to detail and his keen understanding of what the audience wants are what make him a great producer. For example, “Darkside” is the perfect balance between the right pauses and the right rhythm.
His fans hoped to hear Dr. Dre rap more often on Compton. Instead, his penchant for making beats culminated in 15 tracks that feature extremely talented rappers and an equally impressive sound. Dr. Dre does have a final say in his last track, “Talking To My Diary,” which wraps up the Compton journey with a nice, neat bow. The finale explains his initial passion for music — “I used to be a starving artist, so I would never starve an artist.”
Dr. Dre’s passion has brought him to such heights of success, and he continues to produce music with heart. Despite the long hiatus from his previous album, 2001, Dr. Dre’s beats have managed to keep up with the times yet stay true to his old school, ‘64 Impala-esque signature. The wild experience of Compton almost helps us forget about the collapse of the much anticipated Detox.
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