With the official announcement of Dr. Dre’s Compton: The Soundtrack (influenced by the upcoming Straight Outta Compton NWA biopic), the heavily anticipated turned mystical body of work Detox has seemingly disintegrated after many years of strained survival. With two classics under his belt in The Chronic and 2001, Dr. Dre wisely chose to guide the work of superstars like Eminem, 50 Cent, The Game, and Kendrick Lamar over the past 15 years while the pulse of Detox was kept alive by the will of the people. Dozens of rappers/producers/vocalists were rumored to have contributed to Detox and several reference tracks/potential singles hit the Internet, but eventually reality set in and fans started to accept the fact that Detox would never come to fruition.
After so many years of indecisiveness and Dre’s well-known reputation as a perfectionist, it came with no surprise when the West Coast veteran proclaimed on his Beats 1 Radio show The Pharmacy that Detox had been scrapped and this soundtrack will be his “grand finale”. Living up to the fabled name of Detox would have been nearly impossible, hence the decision for Dr. Dre to release new music in sync with Hollywood’s latest hip-hop venture Straight Outta Compton. Compton’s release date is fastly approaching (August 7th) and judging by its diverse tracklist, it is fair to surmise that the album will be a repackaged form of what could have been.
One can only imagine the piling amount of music Dr. Dre has accumulated over the years. While we will never hear an album from Dre titled Detox, the recording sessions from the past decade are still alive and well. The full production credits from the Compton soundtrack have yet to be revealed, but there is a more than likely chance that a few beats from the Detox days will be included on the project. Distinguishing between leftover music and original work truly inspired by the Straight Outta Compton movie may be easier said than done. However, the list of guest appearances on the album maintain an unmistakable level of balance which will come to the aid of Dr. Dre, who is more so playing the role of a veteran point guard setting up the plays as opposed to being the superstar forward of yesteryears.
There are 16 songs on Compton and it has been sixteen years since Dr. Dre has released an album…fitting to say the least. Levels of excitement surrounding the project vary depending on who you ask. Those who expect that Dre still has some 2001 left in him are currently on the stairway to heaven, while others see no reason to anticipate music from a producer long past his prime. With both the supporters and naysayers in mind, Dr. Dre has recruited a variety of talent on this project that is bound to please fans on both sides of the fence. The nostalgia loving crowd will be thrilled to see artists such as Eminem, Ice Cube, The Game, Snoop Dogg, and Xzibit in attendance while the younger generation have two King Kendrick appearances to look forward to. R&B/soul fans can enjoy spots from well-established singers such as Marsha Ambrosius and Jill Scott while those in tune with up-and-coming artists can only nod their head in approval seeing Anderson Paak and King Mez on the tracklist. Dre had the opportunity to create a new “3 headed monster” collaboration with Eminem and 50 Cent but the Queens emcee is missing from the project, much to the disappointment of some fans.
Hip-Hop fans who have grown from teenager to adulthood while waiting for Detox should not expect the Compton soundtrack to be a new age West Coast masterpiece. However, the Straight Outta Compton inspiration which enabled this album to see the light of day (yes it made great business sense as well) should not be undermined. Both the seasoned vet’s and the hungry, fresh of the crop artists on this project know that appearing on a new Dr. Dre album could literally be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Expect quality efforts from them along with the suspected list of producers which includes the likes of DJ Premier, DJ Rhettmatic, DJ Khalil, Focus, Bink, Cardiak and of course Dr. Dre himself. With 2015 being a special year for hip-hop music as well as a celebration of NWA’s influential legacy, it is only right that Dr. Dre chose this moment in time to share new music with the world. It’s not the year 2001 and it’s not Detox, but the Compton soundtrack is what the doctor has ordered and it will be worth tuning in to see what he has prescribed for his fans who have been patiently waiting for a new album.