In 1999, seven years after The Chronics massive worldwide success, Dre released his sophomore offering 2001 through Aftermath Entertainment, the appropriately named label he launched a few years prior, in the aftermath of his acrimonious exit from the Suge Knight-helmed Death Row Records. And today, nearly sixteen years after 2001 hit stores, Dre has unveiled the thirdand allegedly finalchapter in his album trilogy, Compton: A Soundtrack.
And you thought Sade took her sweet ol time between albums? Well, Mr. Young has Ms. Adu beat, and its no contest.
Though if youve followed Dre over the past decade and a half, even in the most cursory sense, you know that he has not lacked for stimulation during the album hiatus. Rumors of the ultimately ill-fated album Detox project have swirled for years and years, but as we recently learned from the man himself, Dre placed the kibosh on the album due to creative stagnation. Ever the consummate perfectionist, Dre recently explained via his Beats 1 radio show The Pharmacy that The reason Detox didn’t come out was because I didn’t like it. It wasn’t good. I worked my ass off on it, I don’t think I did a good enough job, and I couldn’t do that to my fans and I couldn’t do that to myself, to be perfectly honest with you. I just wasn’t feeling it.” Refreshing candor and humility from a man of Dres iconic status, and if we refresh our collective memory of the few tracks (I Need a Doctor, Kush and Under Pressure) that did surface from the never-released LP, well hear firsthand that Dre makes a fair point regarding the subpar material.
While Dre has been largely removed from the public spotlight during this time, opting instead to work his magic behind-the-scenes among mixing boards and within board rooms, his influence and presence have been ubiquitous nevertheless. Indeed, for the past sixteen years, Dre has been instrumental in guiding much of how and from whom we digest music. Akin to his discovery and cultivation of Snoop Doggy Doggs many talents back in the early 1990s, Dre has successfully stewarded the careers of three of hip-hops most vital figures of the past twenty years: Eminem, 50 Cent and most recently, Kendrick Lamar. Not to mention the much sought-after sonic Midas touch hes bestowed upon an impressive A-list of cross-genre artists, including Gwen Stefani (Rich Girl), Mary J. Blige (Family Affair), and Jay-Z (Lost One, 30 Something).
In parallel, Dre jumped into the music tech game when he launched his Beats Electronics enterprise in 2006, with the grand ambition of fundamentally transforming the quality and accessibility of the music we listen to. Comprised of high-quality Beats by Dre headphone manufacturing and the Beats Music streaming service, it required only a few years for Beats to capture the ears and loyalty of consumers worldwide. Following a series of mergers, Apple acquired Beats for just north of $3 billion late last year, and in the process, the Beats Music streaming service brand was dissolved and formally transitioned into the recently launched Apple Music.