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Diggin In The Crates: Dr. Dre



By @TrueGodImmortal 





We've covered a lot of producers over the last year or so in this column, but we've never really took the time to appreciate a producer that was from the West Coast. We've covered some southern producers, Midwest producers, and of course the East Coast, but what about the West? Well, today we start at the very top with Dr. Dre, the legendary producer and mogul. From the 80's to the 90's to the 2000s to the 2010s, Dre has been a driving force in hip hop for 4 decades. Let's take a look at some of his slept on and best production.

*World Class Wrecking Cru- Lovers
-Dre was able to make R&B music essentially sound good. This song sounds nothing like the sound we are used to from Dre and the evolution of his sound over the years is what should be highlighted when talking his career as a producer.

*Eazy E- Boyz N The Hood
-The very beginning for Dre, if you don't count the World Class Wrecking Cru. Regardless, this was the beginning and featured some hard drums with the perfect knock for Eazy to spit his (or Cube's) best. Word to the 808s.

*J.J. Fad- Supersonic 
-Sometimes I still have a hard time believing that Dre did the J.J. Fad stuff. A girl group with a lot of bounce to them. This was right up Dre's alley considering his history with World Class, but his NWA work would soon change his legacy.

*NWA- Straight Outta Compton Album
-Dre produced the majority (basically all) of the album and this was without a doubt one of the best works he was a part of. From the title track to the knocking "Express Yourself" to the raw and edgy "Fuck The Police", Dre does his thing on one of the most influential and important albums for hip hop period.

*Michel'le- Something In My Heart 
-They say Dre and DJ Yella produced this hit song, which I think was definitely sultry and once again in the R&B lane for Dre. The song was very easy on the ears however, and the production is a bit stronger than the vocals.

*The D.O.C.- No One Can Do It Better Album 
-Another instance where Dre helps with a full album production wise and this one is yet another classic. From the booming sounds of "It's Funky Enough" to the title track, Dre provides that west coast knock for the Dallas MC who integrated into the West Coast style. Dre seems to win when he does an entire album, as the cohesion and consistency is top notch.




*NWA- Niggaz4Life Album
-Yet another album where Dre puts his entire stamp on it, and the results are priceless. Before his departure from NWA, Dre leaves us with a ton of classic productions, from the title track to "She Swallowed It", to "Appetite For Destruction", you could see Dre was moving into his prime as a producer and beginning to incorporate different sounds. It would only evolve when he released his first solo album.

*Dr. Dre- The Chronic Album
-Speaking of his landmark first solo album, Dre would change the game and introduce the world to the true essence of G Funk with the Chronic album. He samples classic funk records and loops them with his banging drums and makes something amazing. From the huge single "Nuthin But A G Thang" to "Dre Day" to "Lyrical Gangbang", the album is an amazing display of his production skill and sampling ability as well. This would be the album that not only cemented Dre as a solo artist, but as THE producer in the game for the West. Nothing has changed much since either.

*Snoop Dogg- Doggystyle Album
-As if The Chronic wasn't enough, Dre introduced Snoop to the masses and Snoop took off as well. Snoop would release his first solo album and the production was grade A, all provided by Dr. Dre. The G Funk feel and the smoothness of the production resonates on the anthem "Gin and Juice", as well as the sinister "Serial Killa" or "Murder Was The Case", or feels a bit bouncy yet fun like the aptly titled "Ain't No Fun". The album is a pure classic and the production has a LOT to do with it, this could be one of Dre's best moments as a producer period.

*Dr. Dre- Keep The Heads Ringin
-Now, this is produced officially by Sam Sneed with Dre co-producing, but the infectious groove and sinister keys and synths are enough to earn this first single from the Friday soundtrack some love.

*2Pac- Can't C Me
-While California Love was a great song and Dre produced it, this song is slept on, and a better track. A simple production with knocking drums and an atmospheric melody, backed by female vocals, allows Pac to spit some of his hardest lyrics ever. Dre and Pac should have worked together more and this, along with the legendary California Love proves it.

*Group Therapy- East Coast/West Coast Killas
-On the widely panned "Dr. Dre Presents Aftermath" album, this track resides and while the song itself is a bit lackluster, the production was solid.

*The Firm- Phone Tap
-Dre has a lot of co-production credits once he got big enough to include the names of those behind the boards, and he is listed as co-producer on this one with Chris Taylor. This moderate hit single features a sick drum patter and cinematic melody.

*King Tee- Money
-Released on the shelved Aftermath artist King Tee's album, this was supposed to drop in 1998. It made its way to being released around 2002 or 2003, but not on Aftermath. This track features Dawn Robinson of En Vogue fame and is a solid listen.

*Eminem- Role Model
-As the Eminem era begins, we get the signature sound of Dre starting. Melodies are similar, backed by mostly keys and some guitar riffs along with some immaculate drums. This song was one of the first to really drive home that signature sound.





*Snoop Dogg featuring Xzibit and Nate Dogg- Bitch Please
-The West was back. After Dre and Snoop parted ways for a few years, they returned together with a huge banger. Snoop and Xzibit trade rhymes while Nate Dogg provides the flavor on the hook over a beat from Dre that invokes you to roll one up.

*Dr. Dre- 2001 Album
-There's no way in hell I could leave his 2nd album off the list. Such glorious production. Such precision. Dre was on his game and surrounded by a group of great musicians and created something special. From the trunk rattling production of "What's The Difference", the G Funk reminder of "The Next Episode", the soulful feel of "Xxplosive", or the slow melodic style of "Fuck You", this album is perfection from a production standpoint.

*Ice Cube featuring Dr. Dre and MC Ren- Hello
-The NWA reunion, with the signature sinister sound from Dre. This was one of my favorite songs during the time it came out and it is still a dope track even 16 years later.

*Eminem- Kill You
-This is one of my favorite beats off of Eminem's MMLP album. I like the bounce of the drums and melody along with the stutter stop after each bar in the hook. Dre doesn't always provide Em with amazing production IMO, but they got it right here.

*Snoop Dogg- Lay Low
-A huge posse track for Snoop that sees the Eastsidaz, Butch Cassidy, Nate Dogg and Master P talk their toughest shit over a true to form Dre production. That signature sinister sound.

*Eve featuring Gwen Stefani- Let Me Blow Your Mind
-Another amazing production from Dre, but while the Dre drums are in tact, the melody and accompanying arrangement is much more smoother than usual. It allows both Eve and Gwen to respectively coast on the track.

*Bilal- Fast Lane
-R&B will always seem to be Dre's secret passion and he provides Philly singer Bilal with two tracks on his debut album, but the first single is the strongest. Once again, another sinister but funky production.

*Xzibit featuring Traci Nelson- Choke Me, Spank Me(Pull My Hair)
-Dre gives X a very different sound than his usual sinister production as X talks dirty to the ladies who apparently like it rough. From a production standpoint, this one only sticks out due to being a bit different than his norm.

*50 Cent- Heat
-Sure, In Da Club is a bigger record, as is If I Can't, and even Back Down, but the greatest Dr. Dre production for 50 Cent is right here. Hands down. 50 and Dre create what turns out to be the best song on GRODT and Dre's production here is scorching.

*G-Unit- G'd Up
-Off the 2003 Beg For Mercy album, Dre provides a slow piano driven murderous beat that fits for the Unit perfectly and allows them to talk their shit about putting their murder game down and how they aren't to be tested.

*Eminem- Mosh
-This was featured on the horrible Em album Encore, but this song, was different. Eminem got political, and Dre got more sparse in production. Drums usually carry the beat for Dre and that was not the case here, a big reason why this is on the list.

*The Game featuring 50 Cent- How We Do
-Dre gave Game some amazing sounds for his debut album, but the throwback feel of How We Do is undefeated. With the 808s jumping, the simple catchy melody and the infectious feel, this feels like a throwback Dre production in a more current time. It works.

*Busta Rhymes featuring Q-Tip and Marsha- Get You Some
-The Big Bang was a slept on album, and this kicks off the album perfectly with a melodic Dre production and some great vocals from Marsha to add to the dopeness. Perfect beginner for the album.




*Jay-Z- Lost One
-One of the singles off Jay's comeback album Kingdom Come, this song was truly heartfelt and personal, a rarity for Jay, but Dre provided him with the perfect drums and piano to tell the story he needed to. One of Dre's better productions during the 2000s.

*Snoop Dogg featuring Dr. Dre and D'Angelo- Imagine
-Another slept on track, as the somber feel of this track is created via Dre's production, which became heavily piano and drum based during the Shady/Aftermath days. This one is infectious along with the hook from D'Angelo.

*Eminem- Deja Vu
-Dre went through some years of inactivity really, but in 2009, he produced the majority of the Eminem "comeback album" Relapse. This was my favorite track as the drums, guitar riffs and piano combine to create a perfect track for Em to vent his problems on.

*50 Cent- Death To My Enemies
-Dre goes grungy for this beat on Before I Self Destruct, as he gives 50 a track that really has a RZA feel to it. Drums are hard, the sound is sinister, but it feels more East Coast than West.

*50 Cent featuring Trey Songz- Smoke
-Another track from 50 and Dre, but this one is a bit by the numbers. Not the best production, but the melody is infectious and the drums have enough knock to it.


*Dr. Dre- Compton Album
-This is the last thing of notoriety that Dre has released. His album in 2015 was not fully produced by him, but he contributed to the tracks "It's All On Me", "Loose Cannon", "Issues" and a few others. The production here was top notch from Dre and all of his contributors as well.

Dr. Dre is a legendary producer. He's responsible for a lot of great albums and moments in hip hop, and this was a way to look back at his classic productions and a few of his slept on productions. Check his catalog out for yourself if you're not aware of the depth.

-True 

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