Dre is finally back in the game. After 16 agonising years of waiting for the follow-up to 1999’s classic 2001, Dr. Dre has finally dropped Compton as a surprise release. Compton is inspired by the upcoming film Straight Outta Compton, which of course depicts the story of NWA. As there seems to currently be a lot of retrospect and analysis being applied to NWA and the rap movement around the late 1980s through to the 1990s, Dre too applies this sentiment of retrospection to Compton, and this forms the main theme of the record.
A heap of collaborators pop up on Compton—legends of old and new school rap, as well as a gaggle of underground rappers Dre has taken under his wing. Some of these rappers pull through in a big way—King Mez’s star turn on the opening “Talk About It” and Jon Connor’s track “One Shot One Kill” spring to mind—and this really adds to the quality of the album.
There’s a wee bit of controversy around Eminem’s verse on “Medicine Man”, but despite this, Dre’s production, and perhaps just his presence in general, brings out what could be one of the best Eminem verses in recent memory. This too applies to Snoop Dogg, who seems to be rapping with more tenacity and urgency than in recent times, especially considering the ill-fated Snoop Lion project of 2013. Kendrick Lamar’s presence on Compton cannot be understated, his verse on “Genocide” is an early highlight of the album, whilst Kendrick’s rapping style seems to transcend into Dre’s own rapping on this album, which will perhaps fuel rumours that Kendrick is ghostwriting for Dre. Dre himself comes up with a solo gem to finish the album in the form of “Talking To My Diary”. The track brings back the vintage G-Funk production that Dre became renowned for and it is flawless. Dre’s rap on this track is also super, featuring a ton references to his NWA days—particularly to his deceased friend, Eazy-E.
I applaud Dre for releasing another album, given that he really didn’t have to. Compton doesn’t diminish Dre’s discography, but acts as a stellar grand finale to one of the best three-album runs in the history of hip-hop music. Dre’s influence on the hip-hop/rap genre is immeasurable, and it’s quite a relief that he’s pulled through with Compton: a superb send-off from one of rap’s greatest.
- SPONSORED -