You’d think that Warren G popped up somewhere on Dr. Dre’s 2001, especially considering that the LP features nearly 20 guests. Strangely enough, Dre’s half-brother is nowhere to be heard on the album; at the time, Warren G, one of the West Coast’s G-funk forefathers, was focusing on his own solo career. His specter, however, hangs over 2001, thanks to a huge pre-release assist and being a part of the all-star Up In Smoke Tour that followed.
“The Watcher” was one of my favorite records off that album, because that song [felt] like it was my song, because everything that Dre talked about on that is the type of shit that I went through. Dre is my brother, at the same time, so I understand where he was coming from with that. But besides that, I remember just being able to go out on a national tour and be a part of the things that we built from day one, since the first Chronic, and to get to the second Chronic and being able to get on the road and enjoy myself with all the people I love, was just a great thing. That was one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had in this music [game]. Man, hopefully we’re gonna do it again with this Detox.
[While on the Up in Smoke Tour] we were in Iowa, and we went over to this little bar across the street from the hotel—this little bar/club-ish type of thing. I went over there to have some drinks, and next thing I know I’m looking up and seeing Proof; he’d took over the DJ booth and the entire place, and got the whole club crackin’, so we started partying at the club. And then Dre and Eminem came over, so we partied like a muthafucka, all the way out in Iowa. That shit was real fun.
Dre and I never talked about the direction he should go with the album, but… Actually, you know what? I ain’t gon’ lie. We actually met at the Beverly Hills Hotel one night, and—I swear to God—he was trying to figure out what to call the album, and I actually said, “How about Chronic 2001?” Right there at the Beverly Hills Hotel—we sat there, in the bungalows, and named it The Chronic 2001… It was me, Dre, Snoop—I can’t remember who else was there; I think Nate [Dogg] was there, too. Dre probably don’t remember that shit, but I said, “Chronic 2001… We are The Chronic. Why change it and name it something else when you can name it Chronic 2001? Because it’s the second one, and it’s in the new millennium. Let’s start it up and hit them again with it!”
[The album] was important just to see how far hip-hop had come on the West Coast, and just to see Dre—a vet, a legend—still going, still doing good music. Him still going and moving at that time, and building talent. Opening doors for a lot of people. To let people know that West Coast hip-hop is here to stay. You know, we didn’t start it here on the West, but we’re a part of it, and we’re gon’ be with it ’til the end. It’s all love—from the West to the East to the South, and to Europe. That’s how it is with the West; we love everybody. And that album showed that. —As told to Matt Barone