Nipsey Hussle is no stranger to the studio. When he first began pursuing his rap career, the rising West Coast star went to the Watts Towers Studios almost every day to hone his mic and engineering skills, ultimately becoming equally adept at both. Although Nipsey doesn’t aspire to be the next great rapper/ producer, he does cite the work and successes of Dr. Dre as a marker for what he wants to not only achieve but actually surpass.
As XXLMag.com’s celebration of the 10th anniversary of Dre’s classic release, 2001, continues (Be sure to check out Game’s, Jay Rock’s and Warren G’s interviews), Nipsey talks about Dre’s influence, 2001‘s relevance today, and the brand the doctor’s built.
I remember rap when 2001 came out how people reacted—especially from [my] generation. We used to ditch school and rap the whole album, you know what I mean? Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and 2001, we knew all the songs by heart, singing all the curse words. It most definitely impacted me. I mean, it still crack today in LA. It didn’t seem like a decade for sure but, you know, time flies… People play that album and it still sound relevant and it still sounds like today’s music. It’s a gang of records on that project that’s just like specific concepts on his albums. Both of his records is like that. It’s not just random songs. Everything is real music, produced fully, the way Quincy Jones would go at a record
I haven’t been in the studio with Dr. Dre [but] it ain’t about just going in and making a record from what I hear. He’s a perfectionist. [The people that work with him] know exactly what they aiming for—from the producers to the writers to the artists and all that. It’s kinda like they aiming at a specific target every time they go in the studio. I try to format myself and build off of those traits.
I look at  as the greatest; you know what I mean? I think it kinda set the standard for production again, like, Dre did on the original Chronic for sure. [As far as] hip-hop producers… Dre’s the cream of the crop when it comes to that. When he dropped 2001 he raised the bar on the expectations for [them]. Dre was like 30 years in the making so I don’t think [other producers] done what he’s done but I think it’s a couple of producers like 1500, Phonix and Robin Hood that are going in the direction to be the standard of West Coast music as Dre was in his day but as far the impact [his music] had on the culture of LA and how big the records were, I want my album to be equal if not bigger.
I think based on the value of dude’s brand everybody gone rush out and get [Detox] just to hear it just like they did with the Eminem record [Relapse]. It’s gon’ do good when it do drop. Either way, you gotta look at it like he’s competing against his own legacy. It ain’t even nobody else in his realm so even if he don’t live up to the original or 2001 it’s gon’ be more than likely bigger than any other project to drop that year just because of the fact of the buzz and hype around the record. Either way it go he’s in a win-win situation so he’ll be alright. —As told to Brooklyne Gipson