Well, the good doctor has done it again! Dr. Dre took the last 15 years off from making albums and he came back and reminded us who he is. He’s the guy who gave us The Aftermath album, and he’s done it again. With Compton: A Soundtrack Dr. Dre has served up an album where the best thing about it, is its artwork.
Maybe I’m old (I am). Maybe I don’t like new music (I don’t). Maybe I’m a crotchety motherfucker who doesn’t like anything (very possible). All of those may be true, but none of that takes away from the shitty music Dre just dropped.
The album starts with a track that doesn’t have that familiar Dr. Dre feel. Nope, instead he opens the album with “Talk About It” which features King Mez and Justus. I have no idea which one is which, and I refuse to find out. But one of them is intent on doing their best 2 Chainz impression. The track is, in a word: MEH. King Mez/Justus boasts that he’s the “Black Eminem.” He is wrong. He’s more wrong than anyone has ever been. I can’t even call him the “Black Vanilla Ice.” Dre raps about being a millionaire before the headphones and tells us that his life is so much better than ours. I believe it, because where ever he is right now, he’s probably not listening to this album. Score one for Dr. Dre.
The next track is “Genocide” with Kendrick Lamar. It starts promising enough. Heavy bassline, classic Dre drums. Yes! This is what we’re here for. Except, it falls short. The reggae/patois singing just doesn’t work. Dre raps the way Dre raps: poorly. It was at this point, 2 tracks in, that I realized Andre Young is a 50 year old (almost) billionaire, and I don’t want to hear him rap about drive bys. But at the same time I don’t want to hear him rap about his life being awesome. I don’t want to hear Dr. Dre rap. Just make music like the old days, please. By the time Kendrick actually raps on the track, it’s too late. He does his Kendrick thing and rips the track. But so what? I shouldn’t have to sit through 3 minutes of audiological poop for 40 second of heat. It’s not right.
“It’s All On Me” has a great feel to it musically. But no way in the world do I want to hear (almost) billionaire Dre tell me about his problems. Two tracks ago your life was infintely better than mine, now you want my sympathy? No thanks. “All In A Days Work” is forgettable. “Darkside Gone” brings back King Mez/Justus. He’s really not good. Remember Six Deuce from the last album? King Mez/Justus is like him but horribler. Yup. Horribler. “Medicine Man” is basically your old uncle complaining that all these young kids need to pull their pants up, but Eminem rips it. And makes me want to find King Mex/Justus and kick him in the throat.
There are bright spots on the album “Just Another Day” proves that The Game is more than just a bipolar reality show star. He’s a legitimate force in the booth. “For The Love Of Money” features some awesome guitar playing and is smooth in a way that only early 90s Dr. Dre knows. “Satisfiction” brings back Uncle Snoopy (FYI Snoop and Dre have a combined age of 93) and has that awesome Dre sounds we all love. Unfortunately, Dre raps on the track and so does King Mez/Justus. King Mez/Justus gets worse every time I hear him. But Snoop does what Snoop does: drip Crip juice all over a drum heavy track. Ultimately, he saves the track.
Overall, my problem with the album is that there’s not that much gangsta Dre. Which is understandable since he’s (almost) a billionaire. Instead we’re treated to a Dre who vacillates between complaining about his life and telling us how awesome it is to live in his house with wonderful views. We also get a Dre who is constantly shouting out Eazy-E. To the point where it seems almost forced. We get it, the movie is coming out, and you’re trying to sell a narrative, but ease back a little. In very few instances on this album are we treated to old Dr. Dre. Dr. Dre before he got fit. The Dr. Dre that used to slap women and abuse his wife. The one would ate cereal and was too lazy to answer the phone right in front of him because “the line’s too far.” I’ll listen to this album again over the next few days, and hopefully it will grow on me. And hopefully the movie is better.