Dr. Dre to Grace the Cover of XXL’s December/January 2011 Issue

The Doc is back. Hip-hop’s legendary producer Dr. Dre is finally preparing to release his highly anticipated comeback album, Detox, and XXL got the chance to pick the rap icon’s brain for the December/January 2011 issue.

After over a decade the West Coast superproducer is finally preparing the first quarter 2011 release of the long-awaited Detox. In a candid interview with Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Satten, the master beatsmith said, “I’m really feeling it now. My energy has been back and forth with the record, tussling with doing it out of obligation, as opposed to doing it because I really feel it. My feelings about it have been going up and down. Now I’m in that place where I’m really feeling it, and it’s coming out right. It’s like, Yeah, I’m excited about it.”

Dre has been teasing fans with the disc’s release since first announcing Detox in April 2002 but, as he explains in the XXL cover story, it’s been Dre himself that has been the cause of the many years of delay. The beat maestro, who turned 45 this past February, says, “The only part that has been pushing me back is just the fact that I’m getting older, and certain things to talk about… But I can incorporate other artists, new artists with this record, to say some of the things I won’t say. It’s been a little tussle in that area also, just because of age and being able to identify with the younger audience.”

Staying motivated over the years has been a struggle for Dre, who told XXL that there were moments where he almost gave up on Detox. “I’ve been through that thing several times, where I’m like, ‘You know what? I quit. I’m not doing this. Everything is starting to sound the same.’”

In the story, Dr. Dre also reveals that Detox might be the last time fans will hear him rap. “I don’t ever see myself retiring totally from music, because I have a genuine love and passion for it,” he said. “But as far as me going into the mic booth, that shit is over. I’m always going to talent scout and try to find new artists to work with. But, yeah, that’s it. I don’t see myself doing it the way I’m doing it now. I’m in the studio at least five or six days a week for 16, 18 hours. I think I’m going to back off a little bit and spend some time with the family.”

With 27 years in the industry, Dre has experienced one of most successful runs in the game, but the mysterious legend is conflicted about his own legacy. “I have mixed emotions about it,” he said. “I think it’s incredible what I’ve done. A lot of sweat. But as an innovator, I look back and can’t help but go, Damn, there’s things I could’ve done better, you know?”

In addition to the cover story, XXL’s December/January issue also includes features on Young Money princess Nicki Minaj, who is gearing up for the release of her debut album, Pink Friday, and master of the boards Swizz Beatz as he prepares to take his career to the next level. XXL also spoke with Debra Antney, the businesswoman behind hip-hop’s biggest rising stars like Minaj, Gucci Mane and her son Waka Flocka Flame, as well as rookie producer Lex Luger, who is also featured in the issue. The magazine also investigates the decision-making process behind today’s urban radio playlists and the ever-growing pop rap phenomenon.

And finally, Kanye West’s new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, is reviewed in the new issue and receives an XXL rating, marking West’s third ever XXL on an album. From the magazine’s review: “Following the experimental 808s, this was the album where rap fans expected Yeezy to take it back to his boom-bap roots. Instead, he delivered something better, a collection of masterfully crafted records that defy conventional genre distinction. The end result is a body of work that pushes hip-hop in a bold new direction and puts Mr. West back at the forefront of the culture once again, leaving nothing more to be said, other than G.O.O.D.-ass job, Kanye.”

To read these stories and much more check out XXL magazine’s December/January double issue on newsstands nationwide on December 14. —XXL Staff