Last I heard, Dr. Dre had been working on what was supposed to be the most revolutionary rap album of our time – ‘Detox’. Years went by and that record seemed to become more mythical than Guns n’ Roses’ ‘Chinese Democracy’. Then this movie ‘Straight Outta Compton’ gets scheduled to come out and all of a sudden something new and unexpected happens…
Dre. Dre releases ‘Compton’ – out of nowhere. Coinciding with the release of the biographical film ‘Straight Outta Compton’, which chronicles the rise of rap icons NWA (which Dre was a founding member of) – this album drops unexpectedly and confuses the hell out of me. I thought Dr. Dre was working on the soundtrack for the film. I didn’t know he was working on his first studio album in 16 years and that he was naming it ‘Compton’. It’s a welcome surprise to finally hear some new music from one of gangster rap’s founding fathers.
Upon first listen, ‘Compton’ is absolutely jampacked with a plethora of guest stars and I think at times it would have been nice to hear more from Dre himself. Sure I welcome the addition of Eminem (you didn’t think he’d be left out did you?), or even lesser known rappers like Cold 187um (who is BADASS). But when you wait so long for someone to get back into the game it’d be nice to hear them a little more. Also – what’s with Eminem’s gross rape line about how he makes his victims orgasm? Little much there don’t you think Shady? The flow of ‘Compton’ is an odd one too – seemingly a concept album or even a spiritual soundtrack for the film that’s about to hit theatres, the record tells a story. I like the Goodfellas Joe Pesci reference when a guy is burying a body inbetween tracks saying, “You think this the first fucking hole I ever dug?!”
The first track ‘Talk About it” is probably the strongest of the bunch while ‘Loose Cannons’ is one of my favourites. I like Dre’s material when it enters that darker territory as opposed to the more laid back stuff, which I felt there was a little too much of on ‘Compton’. It’s crazy to think that this is just the third studio album that Dr. Dre has ever released and apparently it’s set to be his final one. I still hail 1999’s ‘2001’ as the hip hop icon’s finest effort but ‘Compton’ is still a nice surprise and fine companion piece to one of my most anticipated movies of 2015 – ‘Straight Outta Compton’.