Manchester United fans would love Sir Alex Ferguson to come back for just one more season and Hip Hop fans wanted just one more album from Dr Dre. However, we argue that sometimes it’s best for the greats to leave while they are ahead. Teasing a third album for far too long, those old enough will remember his original third album was announced in 2002. It’s now 2015, with many still hoping for the release of Dr.Dre’s long talked album, Detox, nontheless what we got was an album inspired by the Straight Outta Compton Biopic, Compton: A Sound Track by Dr. Dre .
As the album was inspired by Straight Outta Compton it lends to the idea that the album was completed in quick succession which to some degree played to Dr. Dre’s advantage. This is due to Dr. Dre not having pressure to deliver as he did with delaying Detox which added more pressure with each passing year. Looking at previous singles like “I need a Doctor” which on reflection were forced, which begs the thought that we have to be thankful Detox was never released and this is the best we’ll get from a man who is in his 50s.
Immediately from the feel of the opening tracks it is evident that this is more of a soundtrack than your coventional album – leaving Dr. Dre to do what he actually does best – showcase talent. Dr.Dre builds a platform for his guests to flourish. The overall production does give a Good Kid M.A.A.D City vibe and Kendrick Lamar is the guest who shines most. Like on his latest release To Pimp A Butterfly, he evokes so much emotion through his unique rap style and subject matter. If you’re paying attention, you might think there is some poking fun at 6 God rapper Drake “You scared of my heist now, but still I got enemies giving me energy, I wanna fight now, subliminals sending me all of this hate, I thought I was holding the mic down”. Make of that what you will, but we have made our minds up here at Bespoke.
In the first track “Talk About It” Dre really does talk about it. “I remember selling instrumentals off a beeper. Never afford the headphones or the speakers, I was getting money ‘fore the internet. Still got Eminem checks I ain’t opened yet. ” Despite the boastful nature of some of these lyrics, do not think Dre is only here to be a braggart; the hip hop legend has not lost his more passionate real world touch that was heard on his early career releases.
His lyrics on the record prove quite impressive (of course with the help of one or two ghost writers) plus influences from real world issues like on “Deep Water” which is a must listen, he pays homage to the death of Eric Garner with the lyrics “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.” On the “Animals” track he contradicts himself by telling a story of a young Andre who is ignorant to life and plays to the stereotype of a poor black kid. “And all the white folks tell me all the looting and shooting is insane. But they don’t know our pain.” sings Anderson Peak,
The features and production are also major highlights of the project. Dre manages to get a verse from Game with a hunger in a way we haven’t heard in years. He does the same with Xzibit and, more importantly, Eminem – who comes with a killer verse on “Medicine Man”. We also get Snoop Dogg’s best verse years on “One Shot One Kill” with a completely new flow compared to Snoop’s more known relaxed easy flow.Then he gives opportunity to rising LA talent like King Mez. King Mez is the opening voice on the album and also the least known but that does not take away from the excellent manner in which he acquitted himself.
Throughout the album Dr. Dre never conforms to current hip hop trends, staying true to his own classic and nurtured sound and bringing it into 2015 in all its glory. Thumping boom bap sounds mixed with trumpets, horns and amazing vocals on interludes characterise the project.
Compton certainly is no Detox, it is not a game changer like Dr. Dre’s previous efforts. However, it is something we needed. An album so important to current hip hop due to it serving as a reminder of what hip hop can be when lyrics, beats and passion are well cohered. Every true hip hop fan will not be left disappointed. Andre Romelle Young – better known as Dr. Dre – has left us on a high.
Album Rating: 8/10.
Notable tracks: Deep Water ft. Kendrick Lamar & Justus, Just Another Day ft. The Game & Asia Bryant, Genocide ft. Kendrick Lamar, Marsha Ambrosius & Candice Pillay, Medicine Man ft. Eminem, Candice Pillay and Anderson .Paak