I am a man. A man exploring the infinite possibilities of today's burning questions and topics... Or I'm a playwright and novelist who likes to write about random subjects or popular topics. Plus, it helps me at least write once in awhile, especially when writer's block sets in.
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Dr. Dre: A Sampler of his Impact and One Undelivered Album
"And don't worry 'bout that Detox album it's coming, we gon' make Dre do it."- Eminem on Encore (2006)
Detox is on its way. A familiar refrain fans of Dr. Dre have been hearing for years and here we are, in the year 2016, still waiting.
At this point in the game, is it safe to say we may never get this album? Yes, according to this interview with Dr. Dre. Does Dre owe fans the album after years of promises? For all that he has done for music, it is entirely possible that Dr. Dre's career as a solo artist releasing full-length albums might be over.
Growing up in a predominately white community, my extent of rap knowledge in my early music listening years was limited to the Beastie Boys and Vanilla Ice. Two extremes in the rap game, yes, but I was 11 years old. Who I was to know that Vanilla Ice wasn't even close to what true rap music represented? I mean, this guy could bring it, right? He could play that funky music and knew what it was like having a Roni.
Looking back, my foray into the love of rap music changed my freshman year of high school, at least according to my back log of memories of life. It was before a basketball game, sitting in the stands at Elko Junior High (our team's home away from home until our gym was finished being built), in which I was introduced to the world of gangsta rap. I was handed a Walkman (remember those?) and told to listen. Reluctantly, I placed the headphones over my ears and pressed play. The song that blared forth: Gin and Juice by Snoop Dogg. Thus, my first introduction to the world of Death Row Records.
Lacking MTV--save for road trips or visits to a friend's house-- I knew little of this Snoop Dogg fella. What I heard, though, I instantly enjoyed. The discovery of gangsta rap in my life led me to Dr. Dre and what turned into a lifetime love of his sick beats (Taylor Swift hasn't trademarked that term, has she? Am I still safe to use it?)
Dr. Dre has been in the rap game for 30 years and I can safely say I've been a fan for twenty plus years. I initially missed out on those glorious World Class Wreckin' Cru and N.W.A. years, but more than made up for it later in life. He continues to be relevant, whether it is producing music, movies, or simply creating headphones for all to enjoy. And that's why, whether he gets around to finally delivering the long promised follow up to his album 2001 or not, Dr. Dre will always be on my top-five list of greatest rappers of all time.
image courtesy of youtube.com
N.W.A. is the group in which Dr. Dre burst onto the scene. Along with stalwarts Eazy-E and Ice Cube, the group received national attention for rapping about what was truly happening on the streets of inner-city Los Angeles and for their feelings on police.
The music of the group and the movie Straight Outta Compton can sum it up much better than I can so I will leave it at that. The group was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an honor well deserved.
Dr. Dre's first solo album, The Chronic, was actually the first rap album I owned (not counting Vanilla Ice), despite hearing of him after my discovery of Snoop Dogg. Though it came out in 1992, I probably didn't purchase the CD until 1995 or 1996. (I know it wasn't until then because my first CD was the Spin Doctors, a gift given to me sometime around my Confirmation. And that was in early '95.)
Scratched and all, I still own that CD. His songs from that album get regular play on my iPod. In what turned out to be a foreshadowing of his career, it would be another seven years before Dr. Dre's next solo album dropped on the world. First, though, would be his falling out with Death Row Records and the launch of his own record label.
"If Cali blew up, I'd be in the Aftermath." Dr. Dre on Big Ego's
Dr. Dre presents the Aftermath was his first album in the post-Death Row Records era on his newly launched Aftermath Records. He contributed one song to the album, Been there Done that, but for the most part stuck to producing the album while lending his name to a few other songs. Though the album achieved platinum status, it had mixed reviews from critics and fans alike.
The year before, Dr. Dre contributed to the Friday soundtrack with his hit Keep Their Heads Ringin' and he helped with Tupac's California Love, but for the most part Dre was sticking to the producing aspect of music, while also on the lookout for the young rappers that would carry his label into the next century.
In late 1999, fans of Dr. Dre finally got what they'd been hoping for: a true follow up to The Chronic. And, speaking here for all fans, we weren't let down. I'm pretty sure the 2001 stayed in my car's stereo for at least a year straight, still making appearances in the car 17 years later. Critically speaking, with the help of his old friend Snoop Dogg and new protege Eminem, the album was top notch, providing fans with an album that has nary a bad song.
Promises of a new album. Nurturing the career of Eminem and helping to turn him into one of the greatest selling rappers of all time. Dr. Dre continues to produce music, among other things, and helped bring Kendrick Lamar onto the scene. He helped launch the careers of artists such as Warren G, Xzibit, and The Game. The Detox continued to be teased to fans, reaching a swell with the 2011 release of this video:
Still nothing. Some have gone as far to say that the Straight Outta Compton soundtrack was essentially Dre giving us the Detox album we were all clamoring for.
Dr. Dre's fingerprints are all over the rap scene, though many of the artists he helped inspire over the years are starting to slow down. Eminem proved with the Marshall Mathers LP2 that he still has something left in him. Jay-Z appears to be in semi-retirement, though an album is apparently in the works. And Kanye West is all over the place. And many of his proteges disappeared from the scene after their first commercially released album.
Much of the genre as lost it's edge over the years. It has become more mainstream, in turn delivering more of a pop style sound and lyrics that leave little to the imagination or failure to remark on society (see: Drake). It is a good thing Kendrick Lamar is around to carry Dre's torch.
His music, and rap music in general, has helped get me through times in my life when I'm feeling down. There's something about the beats, the lyrics, the flow and the rhythm that can help snap me out of a funk. It can also help pump me up before a show--or sports, in high school-- and helps me to think critically of lives that have been lived differently than mine. Dr. Dre and his music helped bring social issues to the forefront of society.
Will we ever see the Detox album? No one knows for sure, but I take you back to 1999 and these lyrics from Forgot about Dre to let you be the judge:
In the late 1990's and early 2000's, there was no greater bromance than that between Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Matthew Lillard. The two of them appeared in no less than five movies together in a five year time span. These two were meant to be. Two young stars destined to take the world by storm as a team. Hanging out, meeting women, and enjoying the good life. And then, just like that, stardom was ripped away from them. Though they continued to work, they would never appear together again in a film.
What was it that pulled them apart? Did they just choose to go different directions? Was it Sarah Michelle Gellar that drove a wedge between these two? While Lillard eventually went on to star in an Oscar nominated film (The Descendants), Prinze, Jr. went on to write for the WWE and occasionally show up as a guest star on television shows. While both have tried, neither has recaptured that joy that once displayed on screen. Tonight, I want to dutifully remind the world of t…
YouTube screenshot *The following contains Spoilers from the season 7 premiere of "The Walking Dead" "Pissing our pants yet? Boy, do I have a feeling we're getting close."- Negan, The Walking Dead
And people thought Ramsay Bolton was sadistic.
The much anticipated season seven premiere of The Walking Dead hit the airwaves last Sunday. Boy, was it a doozy.
I am not going to spend much time on what side of the liked/didn't like it/I'm never watching again spectrum I fall in. I will say that I was enraptured, on the edge of my seat for nearly the entire one hour, six minutes (including commercials) of the episode. This was an episode that filled me with a sense of existential dread for the characters inhabiting The Walking Dead world. It is a feeling that is still with me nearly two days later.
As a disclaimer, I am only through the first ten volumes of the graphic novels. I have yet to reach the Negan arc. I am also on the side of the court that didn't m…
If the NFL is serious about the safety of players and finding ways to limit concussions, the referees in last night's Denver Broncos/Carolina Panthers game had a funny way of showing it.
Instead of talking about what a great rematch of the Super Bowl these two teams put on, much of the focus was placed on the amount of hits Cam Newton took to the helmet last night.
And rightfully so.
There were at least three occasions during the course of the game in which Newton was on the receiving end of helmet-to-helmet hits.
These hits were not of the "blink and you miss it" variety of hits. They were in the course of game action, delivered to Newton after a throw or in the midst of being tackled.
The Broncos were flagged for this infraction once.
For a league that is looking to protect its players, especially quarterbacks, these calls were not simply "mistakes" or "errors" by the referees. And to right it off as such is simply another loosening thread o…