Dr Dre – The Chronic

41-dOFDEZ7L._SL500_AA300_It’s G-Funk. It’s the essence of G-Funk; in fact it’s G-Funk in its purest form, and undoubtedly the project that is synonymous with the name itself. In December 1992 Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, just a year after leaving the notorious N.W.A. stronghold of Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records, completed and released his magnum opus – The Chronic. The album, which was the first release on Dre and Suge Knight’s newly formed Death Row Records, would not only raise the bar for quality Hip-Hop standards, but would set the pace for Hip-Hop for the next 8 years. 10 years if you count the Bad Boy/No Limit 2 year era a watered down version of what Dre and Death Row created. Never the less The Chronic set the tone for the new sound that to this day stands the test of time. It’s up for speculation as to who actually created the G-Funk sound or even who coined the name. The potential answer to the question always centers on those involved in the N.W.A. era. However it becomes an irrelevant and overshadowed argument when put against an unquestionable fact – The Chronic put G-Funk on the map, made it a house hold name, and would be the catalyst influence that would push Hip-Hop forward for the next decade.

1. The Chronic (Intro)The sentence has been given and carried out – “Welcome to Death Row”. It’s one of the most well known album introductions with Dr. Dre leaving the initial “welcome” message. Then the albums instrumental overture kicks in with newcomer Snoop Doggy Dogg making it known that the Doctor is back and in the mutha*****in house. The Doggfather also sends out a warning to all Death Row’s enemies, including Eazy-E, Jerry Heller, and Luther “Luke” Campbell that Death Row Records is in full effect. The beat itself comes off as an exciting promise of things to come on the record, complete with a sample fairly reminiscent of “Funky Worm” by the Ohio Players.
2. ***** wit Dre Day (and Everybody’s Celebratin’)The official kick off, known more popularly by it’s shortened radio-friendly title “Dre Day”, starts where the intro left us. The good doctor comes out swinging in this vicious yet moderately paced verse taking jabs at one time friend and business partner Eazy-E. To back Dre up is Snoop in the first song the world has heard him on since his impressive debut with “Deep Cover (187)”. Snoop takes deep personal shots at New York rapper Tim Dog, while both Dre and Snoop smash on 2 Live Crew’s Luther “Luke” Campbell in the 3rd verse. Even going as far as to tell Luke he might get it from the backside, showing “how Death Row pulls off that Hoo-ride.” Damn! The heavy bass drum programming inspired by Funkadelic’s “(Not Just) Knee Deep” and a funk’d up jazz flute hit on the track give the song a cold yet funky aura too it. Dre Day is easily one of the most powerful songs on the whole album, with Dre and Tha Row setting its mark in the industry. The message is clear, when you diss dre, you diss yourself. Thought you knew.3. Let Me RideWho could forget Parliament’s “Swing Down, Sweet Chariot”? Obviously Dre couldn’t as he drops an amazing second round for The Chronic with Let Me Ride. Dre’s narrative drive down Compton is one of the more fun highlights of the album. With memorable yet easy going lyrics and a multi-layered complex beat, which for the time was almost unheard of in Hip-Hop, Let Me Ride is the quintessential summer hit complete with all the trimmings. Samples include said Parliament song, “Mothership Connection”, as well as “Funky Drummer” by James Brown. Ruben and former Death Row diva Jewell provide vocals for the Chorus.

4. The Day the Niggaz Took Over

A cautionary tale about one of the most notorious events in Los Angeles history – the 1992 L.A. Riots. Dre, Daz, RBX, and Snoop all provide a more militant perspective on the riots noting that at the time the LAPD were severely outnumbered by the rioters. A situation implying niggas could have sacked L.A., mirroring the revolution (Sho Nuff!). The eerie and almost horrifically chilling cinematic beat sets the mood perfectly: total chaos. What you wanna do?! This is the first of many instrumentals that would set Dre apart from the rest of the rap production elite. Talents, of which he would, in slight, pass down to Daz, who was rumored to have helped on the beat (but was never credited).

5. Nuthin But A “G” Thang

Without a doubt the most recited, popular, and perhaps the most legendary rap single of all-time, G Thang was the first and most successful single to come from The Chronic. If you were born in December of 1992 and calculating up to this point (July 2007), then throughout all 15 years of your existence G Thang has been so consistently popular that chances are you know the lyrics by heart same as the ones who were your age when it came out! From the first lyrics of “1, 2, 3 into the 4” up until the last “So just chill till the next episode”, lyrically G Thang is THE classic among the Death Row classics. Even Snoop spelling out his own name is considered one of the catchiest and most recited lyrics in Hip-Hop history. The beat directly samples “I Wanna Do Something Freaky to You” by Leon Haywood which rounds out the official flagship song of the G-Funk Era.

6. Deeez Nuuuts

You know that joke you used to play on your friends in Jr. High and High School? Yeah we know it too. Ever wonder where it started? Good guess! The intro to one of the more comical high points of this album, performed by the regulator himself, Warren G. This is the same song that set the trend for one of the most classic jokes you know. The main notable points of the song are: this is the first time you get to hear Dat Nigga Daz and Nate Dogg perform on the album, and is their performance debut period. Though very young and obviously had not come into his sound at this point, Nate finishes off the song smoothly with his pleasing monotone sound that would later shape the foundations of the G-Funk sound.

7. Lil’ Ghetto Boy

The Hip-Hop remake of the popular Donny Hathaway song is probably the most underrated single released from The Chronic. The song begins with Snoop’s captivating tale of prison life that is of the quality of HBO’s Oz. Next Dr. Dre lays down the tale of a doomed ex-con that is released to the streets only to get caught up in the street life. Snoop then rounds out the last verse on a more positive note but with a warning undertone. He also states something that is as true today as it was back in nine-duce, “Make all them ends you can make, cuz when ya broke, ya break”. It’s no joke, stay grindin y’all. The laid back beat is complimented perfectly with the funky flute lick which gives the song a feeling of potency.

8. A Nigga Witta Gun

Who is the man with a master plan? A nigga who can make even the more unnoticed songs off his masterpiece have potential single quality. Though the radio might have problems with the subject matter, the song is excellent. The intro scenario, which has been used over and over again in rap, most notably by The Notorious B.I.G., shows that you can’t start off a classic song about pistols and killas without playing out a poetic execution style murder skit. What Dre gets across is what eventually became an urban legend surrounding the label; Death Row is strapped and they ain’t *****in playin! Snoop only has a few lines on the chorus, but the chorus itself is embedded into the brains of every Chronic and Dr. Dre fan. Another cinematic style beat gives an impression to the audience of cold blooded murder. The beat samples Kool G Rap’s “Master Plan”

9. Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat

If a classic album can have an underrated song it would be this one. The hook itself was used and re-used in future Death Row singles including Snoop’s “(Who am I) What’s My Name?”. The intro is taken directly from the 1973 Max Julian movie “The Mack” with Dre commenting on the morally conscience rant with “Nigga is you crazy?!” Dre does his thing lyrically, but the high note of the song is the incredibly funky beat which is carried by a well executed guitar lick. Snoop and RBX assist the song accordingly. Underrated and not to be skipped.

10. The $20 Sack Pyramid

The ghetto version of the $20,000 Pyramid. Contains a noteworthy appearance of the D.O.C. after his devastating car accident.

11. Lyrical Gangbang

The impressive album debut of Kurupt and the Lady of Rage highlight this bass driven gem. The real hardcore lyricists of the Death Row camp have their chance to shine as both Rage and Young Gotti drop equally vicious verses. RBX ends out the song with a verse that keeps up with the intensity of the others. Beat contains a strong and well used sample of “Valdez in the Country” by the Nite Liters.

12. High Powered

In this strong effort RBX performs with a master’s execution (no pun intended). From mass murder to atomic bombs, RBX demonstrates just how dangerous he can be on the mic on all levels. Dre and Rage provide the intro to this song with Dre acknowledging the various attacks on Death Row and himself. But Dre dismisses them saying “niggas are talking loud but ain’t saying a motha*****in thang!” The slow paced beat is carried nicely by that ill synthesizer sound that dre has perfected throughout this whole album.

13. The Doctor’s Office

Girls girls girls, please be patient! The doctor will be in to ***** you, er… See you shortly. Very funny skit performed by Jewell and Rage… oh and Dr. Dre.

14. Stranded On Death Row

This popular underground cult hit severs as the official Death Row Records roll-call song. Called to attention are Kurupt, Rage, RBX, and Snoop as we run down through the cell blocks of Death Row penitentiary. Kurupt starts off the track with an extremely vicious and hardcore verse that, like the other 3 verses, is so classic that to this day Death Row fans still recite it word for word. Rage and RBX provide incredibly memorable verses while the main event is saved for last. Though smaller in body mass than the other 3 rappers in real life, on the track Snoop Doggy Dogg puts it down that he is the big nigga in the pen as his last verse steals the show. Bushwick Bill provides the intro and outro for this classic gem, which is fair since Dre took the drum programming for this song directly from the Geto Boys single ” My Mind Playing Tricks On Me”.

15. The Roach (The Chronic Outro)

A direct homage to “P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)” by Parliament, RBX lights a fat one of that sticky icky and blazes with Rage who can be heard horny as ***** in the background. Weed is an aphrodisiac. What? Y’all didn’t know?

16. *****es Ain’t Shit

The final and originally hidden off the tracklist song of this Hip-Hop masterpiece centers on… C’mon now, do I really gotta spell it out for you? Dre starts off the track with a direct mocking of Eazy-E, emphasizing on the *****-like ways of Eazy’s actions and even referring to him in terms of being a female. Tales of past hoe encounters from Daz and Snoop move the song along. But the cherry on the top of the track is Jewell singing about her own hoeish ways. That’s right I said it! Girl must have lost her damn mind speaking about that on a song called *****es Ain’t Shit. Seriously though, the song is a strong final effort to an unquestionable masterpiece.

A very deserving 5 out of 5 for Dr. Dre’s master work that changed and molded the history of Rap. It’s not just a West Coast classic; it’s a bonified Hip-Hop classic. The Chronic is an album that is as popular as its producer is legendary, as its executive producer is infamous, and as its artists and musicians is incredible. It is possible that there will never be another album that will have as much impact on Hip-Hop as The Chronic did… excuse me, does.

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