The set usurps Dre’s long-anticipated album Detox, acting as a companion to the new N.W.A movie Straight Outta Compton, and there is a load of nostalgia on the project, as Dre reflects on his life so far. But it is also very current, from the dense production to featured artists.
On early review, several things became apparent from this new piece of work. Here are five things we learned from Dr. Dre’s Compton:
1. People are loving it. Twitter is blowing up with positive reviews, which critics are echoing. Rolling Stone, for instance, gave it a four-star review and called it “confounding and enthralling” and “something realer, and better” than the mythological Detox.
2. It’s all about the features. It’s no major surprise that Dre has at least one feature (and often several) on nearly every track on Compton. His last two records, 2001 and The Chronic, were similarly stacked. After all, he’s a producer first and foremost. But just who he’s recruited says a lot about his career and current hip-hop. There are familiar names from those past releases such as Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Ice Cube and even Xzibit, but a new class of stars like Kendrick Lamar and Marsha Ambrosius are more present and make a bigger impact, almost replacing that old guard.
3. There are a half-dozen newcomers you’ve probably never heard of. King Mez, Anderson. Paak, Justus, Jon Connor, Candice Pillay and Asia Bryant are all up-and-coming talents who are sure to see a nice boost from their features on this album. And it’s no one-and-done trick for most of them, as the majority are included on several tracks.
4. Kendrick Lamar might be taking a jab at Drake on the track “Darkside/Gone.” At least that’s what Twitter seems to think, thanks to this line: “But I still got enemies giving me energy/ I don’t want to fight now/ Subliminals sending me all of this hate/ I thought I was holding the mic down.” Some are interpreting that line to reference Drake’s track “Energy” from If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, though it should be noted that earlier in the song Dre too references negative “energy.”
5. Dre’s relationship with women is not what you might call “progressive.” On the Ice Cube-featuring “Issues” there is a violent skit at the end in which a woman is murdered without reason, dragged into the woods and buried. And then there’s this revolting line from Eminem on “Medicine Man”: “I even make the bitches I rape cum.”