I like Dr. Dre. Even if it seems like he's spent the past decade doing naff all and the decade previous making only two albums. Yeah, yeah, I know, he signed Eminem too and at some point told someone to make him some headphones and sell them to Apple. Either way, it has been fourteen long years since his last album, '2001' probably one of the best rap albums ever. No wonder it took over a decade. I bet he was quietly hoping the world would forget who he was because '2001' is a damn hard album to top.
I was under the impression his next album was to be called 'Detox.' I'm certain both Dre himself and Eminem had mentioned the name, but when I got my CD it said 'COMPTON – a soundtrack by Dre.' I guess this new movie thing that I couldn't give two shits about that Dre may or may not be affiliated in, no idea, because I couldn't give two about it, could have tempted him into doing an album. Or a soundtrack for it. What the fuck is this? A movie soundtrack or a Dre solo album? I'm just gonna assume a Dre solo album because I'm never going to watch that movie, regardless if it is good or not.
After a first listen, I thought it revolutionary. A Dre album in which Dre hardly appears. Not far from the truth either. All except one track is featuring some other set of rappers, Kendrick Lemar, Ice Cube, Eminem, Snoop Dogg the list goes on. After a long intro and an annoying electronic vocal based chorus, Dre drops a verse in track two. He sounds different. Every rapper except Eminem sounds quite different on 'Compton.' It took me a few listens to 'One Shot One Kill' to realise that it was Snoop Dogg rapping. This makes for a surprisingly fresh album.
People expecting more of '2001' will be disappointed. Like 'The Chronic' before it, 'Compton' is a very different album. It's also a very good album. As always in Dre's productions, the beats are simply top notch. They're fresh, catchy and even very experimental at times. The bass in all of the tracks sounds fucking sexy. Out of a decent speaker that is. Nobody is getting turned on with this playing out of an iPhone speaker.
Despite this, 'Compton' feels kind of safe too. It's all 'motherfuckers' this and 'niggas' that which I don't mind at all, but as far as the lyrics go, I don't feel many verses. Maybe it's just me, but the auto-tuned choruses start to get irritating too.
This album is going to be like Marmite. Dre fans like myself will most likely love it and I do love it. People not into rap will probably not rate it much. Captain obvious strikes again, but I really think this will be the case. 'Compton' has some great tunes and a couple of not so great ones that can be overlooked. As an album it flows very well, no track really feels out of place and even if there is a certain lack of Dre verses as guest rapper after guest rapper takes the mic, there is no changing the fact that 'Compton' feels like a Dre album through and through. Defiantly different from '2001' but defiantly a Dre album too.
So yeah, fuck it, I like it. I've heard this is meant to be Dre's last album and to be honest, this is a damn fine final bow. I'm still giving '2001' the edge if I must order the albums in terms of greatness, but despite a couple of duff tracks, 'Compton' is a fantastic album for Dr Dre fans.
Now if only he got someone talented to design his headphones.