Believe it or not, but today (November 16) marks the 10-year anniversary of Dr. Dre’s seminal release, 2001. Billed as a follow-up to the West Coast legend’s 1992 classic, The Chronic, the album was 22 tracks of sonic precision, raw lyricism and timeless music that has captivated audiences from coast to coast and around the globe. Released nine months after Dre protégé Eminem dropped his debut disc, The Slim Shady LP, 2001 solidified the good Doctor’s position as one of the game’s greatest beatmakers and transformed his Interscope-backed label, Aftermath Records, into a hip-hop powerhouse, responsible chart-topping releases from the likes of Em, 50 Cent, The Game and Busta Rhymes.
While Dre’s musical output has remained sporadic over the course of the past 10 years, his influence and impact is as strong as ever as fans and hip-hop artists still clamor for his potent productions. With anticipation for Dre’s long-delayed Detox album remaining at an all-time high, XXLMag.com decided to pay homage to Dr. Dre and his 10-year-old classic with a week of recognition. We caught up with some of the West Coast’s brightest stars to share their thoughts and fond memories of 2001. Game chimes in first to speak on Dre’s own decade of dominance.
When 2001 came out I was at a time in my life where I was hustlin’. Every day I woke up to that album and my moms would come in my room knockin’ on the door talkin’ ’bout, “What you gonna do with your life? You need to go out there and find you a job.” And she used to ask me every day, B, “What are you gonna be? What are you gonna do?” Then I remember one day she came in and I was like, “I’ma be a rapper.” That was the last day I was in her house; she kicked me out.
I had a Caprice at the time, with the TVs… You know, that’s when fools started putting TVs in they car. I had major bump in that Caprice. It was an old white Caprice. It was clean on the inside, clean on the outside, but that muthafuckin’ engine was horrible, man. I started driving that muthafucka back to LA ’cause my moms had moved to Lancaster and that’s all I bumped was 2001. That album got me through some crazy times, B.
When Dre put out 2001, man, every single car that drove past the hood was bumpin’ that album and different tracks. Everybody always had they favorite and wanted to argue over what was better or who rocked better but that combination of Mel Man, Dre and Hittman was crazy, man… I ain’t got no favorite [song] but if you wanna know who killed it, Eminem killed it [on “What’s the Difference” and] Devin the Dude killed it [on “Fuck You,”]. Those was like monumental features. Eminem and Devin was crazy.
Man, I can’t even describe that album… I would just say it’s a classic West Coast album but it was world-renowned and it had an international appeal, like who from where didn’t fuck with that album? With 2001 he just went back to do what he do best man and that’s just trying to create the sun, moon, stars and Earth in seven days, man.
The thing that stands out to me about 2001 is the same thing that stood out to me about Chronic—Dre is a perfectionist and no matter when he coughs up an album, B, they be exactly what you need. I know it seem like he be taking forever with these albums but if you think about the time that passed between the Chronic and 2001, I think Detox is just about due. So it’s not about him just making us wait, it’s his format. —As told to Anslem Samuel