After patiently waiting for 15 years, we still don’t have the long awaited, mythical, and historical Detox album that Dr. Dre has promised. Instead we have the new album Compton: a collective effort from Dre and Co that is inspired by the history of LA, Dre’s life and the newly released film, “Straight Outta Compton.”
Although Compton debuted at #2 (released August 7th), it stayed under the radar for those of us who had his 2001 album–a follow up to 1992’s The Chronic–on repeat for about 5 years straight, way back around the turn of the century. Compton is by no means as monumental, and doesn’t even come close to touching the wide array of listeners as Dr. Dre’s first two albums. Has he lost his touch? Did he wait too long? Or is 50 just not an ideal age to be making a hip-hop album? With a few listens, I found out pretty quickly.
To a hip-hop fan, this album is incredible. It begins with a quick history of the city of Compton, transitioning perfectly into “Talk About It”, one of the hardest hitting beats a human can muster. As the tracks continue on you can hear powerful lyrics from those in their prime like Kendrick Lamar, the up and coming like King Mez and Anderson .Paak, and old household names like Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Ice Cube. Matched up with crystal-clear production that only the doctor could provide, this album gives any connoisseur of hip-hop a flawless performance.
However that is just the problem, the album is not for everybody. It’s always good to have one or two tracks that are conscious, that are about the struggles of life, a concept in music that hip-hop actually has a hand in inventing. But for Compton, this is every single song. Where is the song to dance to in the club? Where is the song to ride with all your friends with the windows down? Even Snoop Dogg’s appearance on “One Shot One Kill”, featured him as serious and spitting hard with authority, something you have to actually hear to believe. Inspired by the new NWA film, the album seems to be one big history lesson that could have been covered by two or three songs. Unfortunately, Dre has come out and said that this is his last album. Detox, according to him, was not up to his standards and will sadly never be released.
I am in no place to say this is a bad album, but only an album that is too specific. I am here to tell you to give it a listen if you want to hear work from serious professionals. You may like it, but you probably won’t be singing along to it a year from now, or hearing it on the radio any time soon. It leaves you to wonder if Dr. Dre is still capable of making hits for all to enjoy, or if those hits are locked away forever in his studio.