As an up-and-coming MC from the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, Jay Rock has no reservations in making it clear that his career was heavily influenced by Dr. Dre. In fact, the rap rookie recently teamed up with Crooked I, Kida and producer Focus to record “Homage to Dr. Dre,” a tribute to the super producer where he raps, “I know them haters ain’t hearing this/One of the best on the beats—period.”
As XXLMag.com’s celebration of the 10th anniversary of Dre’s classic release, 2001, continues (Click here for Game’s interview), Jay Rock, who was 13 years-old when 2001 dropped, shares his thoughts on the album, its influence on him and his love for D.R.E.
Focus is a producer that works with Dre and when he hit me up and asked how I felt about Dre, I told him how much love I have for [him], how he influenced me in this rap game. He asked me if I wanted to jump on [“Homage to Dre”] and I told him, “Yeah, of course.”
Growing up I liked just hearing Dre. What he was rapping about was a lot of stuff that was kinda going on in my neighborhood and I just felt it. Sometimes you hear something that really relates to you and [draws you] to that person and with him being with N.W.A and the stuff he was rapping about, I was like, “Damn, this is some real shit that he’s spittin’.”
I think that 2001 album was just incredible. It’s a classic album and it really, to me, showed [people] the West Coast is nothing to be played with… When I had that album, and I still have it, [I’d] just play it, you don’t even have to skip nothing. You just play it and it’s great. Every time I play it, it inspires me. I had a track that had a little sample off there and I was like, Man, it just took me all the way back. After 10 years 2001 still sounds good today… it’s still here, still relevant and we still talking about it. That’s how great that album was. It’s him being relevant all the way to today, too.
Everybody been waiting on the Detox for forever but that’s how big he is. You be waiting forever but usually [with someone else] you’d give up and say, “Aw, forget it. It ain’t coming,” but everybody want it and everybody still waiting for it. Dre probably 20 or 15 years older than me and [he’s] still relevant today. [But Detox] is coming. Dre is a legend so when he come, I know he want to come right. So if it take him 10 years to get it done then that’s what he gone do. —As told to Brooklyne Gipson