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Dr. Dre: Old and sold

By Shaun Shearer | 17 February 2011

Regular Black Sheepers will have noticed a clear pattern when it comes to the subject matter of our Hoofs. It's no accident that it's the very biggest names in the game that make these hallowed pages; Diddy, Kanye, Will.i.am, Akon and Jay-Z have all done the walk of shame in recent months. Now, one-time super producer Dr. Dre can join their number.

In truth, it pains me to Hoof Dre. Like Jay-Z, his credentials until quite recently have been impeccable. With a track record including membership of NWA, the instigation of fellow artists Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent, and production of two of the illest albums of the 90s, 'The Chronic' and '2001', it was all going so well. Dre had carved out a unique, captivating sound for his productions, to the point that you always knew when you were listening to a Dre joint. And they were heavy.

Clearly, it was only a matter of time before the temptation of corporate bucks and the ease of mainstream manipulation set in. In truth, Dre lost his shine a few years ago now. Hip hop heads have been waiting avidly for the now mythical 'Detox' album for more than 11 years, as the tiresome excuses for its non-appearance have piled up. When he's not been putting his name to overpriced, over-hyped headphones, Dre's been arsing around with experimental instrumental albums. Anything, it seems, to delay the new set. Could it be down to Dre knowing damn well that he's lost his touch, and wanting to curtail the fans' revolt for as long as possible? 

Finally, the world has had a chance to sample its first two tracks. And what miserable piles of shite they've turned out to be. 'Kush', featuring a by-the-numbers appearance from Snoop, would have passed for mere mediocre had it not been for the excruciating appearance from the tinitus-inducing Akon, whining and whimpering his way through the hook like a dentist's drill. 

But even 'Kush' sounds like 'The Shook Ones' compared to 'I Need A Doctor', a horrific piece of infantile mainstream pop garbage that will, of course, become the big hit it was always decreed to be when all the unthinking robot drones flock out to buy it just like they were programmed to. The fact that this piece of tosh has come from the same studio as boundary-pushing classics like 'Murder Was The Case', 'Afro Puffs', 'Natural Born Killers' and 'Deep Cover' is tragic news indeed for true music enthusiasts. It spells the inescapable conclusion that one of the greatest in the game has sold out most horribly and joined the ranks of the profane. 

It could be that the secret societies that control the music business made Dre an offer he couldn't refuse. I suspect, however, that the truth is even sadder. At 46, Dre has become a tired, burnt-out, lazy old man that no longer posseses the creative spark that carved him his career. Of course, we have yet to hear the rest of 'Detox', (if any of us live long enough,) but if these first two offerings are anything to go by, they paint an unhappy image of a once great legend; sitting by the fireside eating mint humbugs, sipping Horlicks, doing the crossword, and quietly shuffling off to bed at 9.30pm in a pair of nice slippers.

 

 

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