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Today in Hip-Hop: Dr. Dre Drops ‘The Chronic’

On this day, Dec. 15, in hip-hop history…


1992: Twenty-two years ago today, Dre changed the face of hip-hop with his classic.

In June 1992, Dre left his N.W.A. cohorts after disputes with Ice Cube and Eazy-E and signed to Death Row Records, which was a relatively new label in the industry. His first release as a signee was The Chronic that brought hardcore hip-hop and a distinctive West Coast sound to the forefront. The album is highly considered as a revolutionary project for gangster rap because it made the style acceptable in the mainstream. Surrounded himself with the best rising talents, the album gathered Kurupt, Daz, the Lady of Rage, Nate Dogg and Snoop Dogg to help make it a fixture in neighborhoods everywhere.

Some of the album’s records stand the test of time. There is the stunning single “Nothing But A G’ Thang”, as well as fan favorites like “Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat” and “Let Me Ride.” These tracks ushered in the brand of G-Funk that consisted of heavy synths and mellow grooves to ride out to. Other notable tracks are “The Day The Niggaz Took Over” and “Little Ghetto Boy,” which contained voices and sound effects from the L.A. Riots. Even with some of the album’s pop sensibilities, Dre brought elements of Public Enemy’s politically-charged lyrics to his music and created a middle ground. But the album was also filled with unapologetic raps towards women (“Bitches Ain’t Shit,” “The Doctor’s Office”) and violence that rubbed a few people the wrong way.

Dre has grown more into a hip-hop entrepreneur than a producer/MC. Since releasing The Chronic, he founded Aftermath Records that was instrumental for the career of Eminem. He’s also molded superstars such as 50 Cent, Game and now Kendrick Lamar. While 2001 took over seven years to release and it seems unlikely that Detox will come out, Dre’s methodical recording process is his calling card. Earlier this year, Dr. Dre dropped what he said would be his final album, a compilation album entitled Comptonwhich he rolled out with the release of the summer’s blockbuster rap biopic, Straight Outta Compton. 

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