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DAR Hip Hop: Dr. Dre's 2001

By @TrueGodImmortal 

1. Lolo (Intro)
2. The Watcher 
3. Fuck You 
4. Still D.R.E.
5. Big Egos 
6. Xxplosive 
7. What's The Difference 
8. Bar One 
9. Light Speed 
10. Forgot About Dre 
11. The Next Episode 
12. Let's Get High 
13. Bitch Niggaz 
14. The Car Bomb 
15. Murder Ink 
16. Ed-Ucation
17. Some LA Niggaz
18. Pause 4 Porno
19. Housewife 
20. Ackrite
21. Bang Bang 
22. The Message 

When I was very young, the debut of Dr. Dre's solo album "The Chronic" was one of my first introductions to West Coast hip hop. The G-Funk sound was special and the Death Row movement was growing heavily at the time. I had some familiarity as a kid with NWA, and the eventual breakup of the group, so when Dre debuted as a solo artist with Snoop Dogg right by his side, I was interested. The album captured my attention and I would end up becoming a fan of Dre back in the early 90s. As the 90s progressed, it seemed as if Dre was still a solid producer, but he had lost a bit of the acclaim during his transition from Death Row. In 1999, after a disappointing Firm project and an Aftermath album that didn't do anything, Dre went back to what made him popular and rounded a cast full of West Coast MCs that included past collaborators Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, and Nate Dogg, along with some newer faces in Hittman, Six-Two, Xzibit (who had just started working with Dre), and Eminem.

He gathered his team of musicians and the MCs, and they would work together tirelessly to create an album that can be dubbed a "comeback" album. He had originally played to call it Chronic 2000, but a dispute with his old label Death Row led Dre to now christen the album "2001" with the weed plant on the cover, to essentially let you know that this is "The Chronic" 2001. Regardless of the year in the title, this album is a classic and one of the greatest albums to come from the West. Today, we take a look back at Dr. Dre's 2001 album. We'll look at the production, supporting cast, a track by track breakdown, and of course, some of my favorite verses on this album. Let's get into it.

The best thing about a Dr. Dre album is usually the production and this is no different. Dre crafts his sound perfectly here, alongside his usual production partners, including Mel-Man, Mike Elizondo, and of course, Scott Storch. Mel-Man is seen as the most vital of the production partners, as he was the co-producer to just about every song on here. Dre usually handles all of his own production on his albums, but he actually reached out to Lord Finesse to produce one track on the album, which was a shock in a way. Lord Finesse provides a very solid beat for "The Message", and only adds to the sound of the album. The album ranges in sounds from updated G-Funk to menacing gangsta hip hop all the way to fun and melodic. The production is of course the strongest part of this album, and we should expect nothing less with a Dr. Dre album.

Supporting Cast
These are the artists and the people that made this album special alongside Dr. Dre. A Dre album is not a solo endeavor, but rather a full fledged collaborative effort with Dre as the face of the album. These are the people who had the biggest role in making this album what it is, in my opinion.

Snoop Dogg- Featured on multiple songs, Snoop reconnects with Dre for the first time officially since the Death Row days, and is able to provide Dre with some flavor that reminds us of the Dr. Dre sound we all loved.

Kurupt- Tha Dogg Pound member who steals the show on a number of songs. From his adlibs on "The Next Episode" to his classic verse on "Housewife", Kurupt shows up and helps bring the right amount of DPG flavor to the album.

Six-Two- The underrated spitter from the West who Dre saw something special in, he delivers solid verses and helps Dre with some of his lyrics as well. One would imagine that Six-Two was primed to be the next one up for Aftermath, but he never managed to get his break aside from this album.

Hittman- The true MVP of this album. Hittman delivers in a big way and is featured on the most songs of any featured MC on this album. This album is just as much his as it is Dre's, as he wrote a number of the songs here, and contributed lyrics and verses to a large number of the songs. If I had to list the three most vital people to this album in general, it would be Dr. Dre, Mel-Man, and Hittman, and it's not debatable.

Nate Dogg- The hook master shows up and does his job as expected. He steals the show on "Xxplosive", and of course on "The Next Episode", and I only wish his presence was felt on more songs and featured on "Housewife" and "Bang Bang".

Devin The Dude- Though he only has one appearance on this album, I had to classify Devin as a supporting player instead of just a feature. The track he's featured on, the hilariously titled "Fuck You" is not a Dr. Dre song featuring Devin, it's a Devin song featuring Dr. Dre, another reason why he's on the list as a supporting player.

Knoc-turnal- The slept on West Coast MC and vocalist made his official debut to the world on this album with two clutch appearances on two important songs. He would rise to fame a little later with Dre, but not stick around much longer.

Eminem- The true evolution of Em came during this album I believe. He was already a solid artist and lyricist, but he steals the show on his multiple appearances, which is a theme with this album. He also wrote "The Watcher", as well as Dre's verses on "Forgot About Dre", "Let's Get High", and
"Bang Bang".

Track By Track
The long playing tracklist has a lot of skits, so I will skip those and only focus on the actual songs. This playlist is extensive, but enjoyable and doesn't tire out at all. Let's look at each track.

*The Watcher
-This track isn't necessarily my favorite, but the beat and lyricism from Dre (written by Eminem) are pretty dope here. I'm probably partial to this track over the remix that came years later, mainly because this is the official reintroduction for Dre in many ways.


*Fuck You
-This song is flawless. Snoop and Devin The Dude are featured here, but this is really a Devin and Snoop song with Dre on the first verse. Everyone has a solid verse and Devin brings one of his smoothest hooks in quite some time on this track. Perfection all around.


*Still D.R.E.
-Snoop and Dre reunite for the first single from the album that had a true "G Thang" feel to it. I'm sure that's what they were going for with it, and due to the Jay-Z penned rhymes for Dre and that sinister piano from Scott Storch and of course, the infamous booming drums from Dre and hook assistance from Snoop, this is West Coast hip hop perfection.


*Big Egos
-The first appearance of Hittman and a track that is far from my favorite, but it is solid enough. I think the song has some sick production, but admittedly the verses leave me slightly disappointed. A slight miss on the lyrical end, but still an overall solid track.


-This is my favorite track on the album and one of my all time favorite Dr. Dre tracks. Using one of the most infectious melodies I've ever heard, Dre brings together a great cast for a timeless classic. Nate Dogg kills it with his show stealing verse, while Hittman, Six-Two, and Kurupt also show up with some fun lyricism. Dre's not even featured on the track, which is funny, because he tends to bring together great casts for songs that he's not featured on (on his own albums). This is yet another perfect track on this album.


*What's The Difference
-Eminem and Xzibit are featured on this track, and they don't disappoint lyrically. Dre has a verse that's more in your face and his flow is tight on this track. Eminem has a solid verse here, as does Xzibit, but in a rare moment on Dr. Dre albums, I think Dre actually has the strongest verse here.


*Light Speed
-There's always some songs that just don't hit, and this is one of them. Dre and his verse here are solid, but the beat is a bit bland considering the rest of the production on the album. The guest appearance from Hittman doesn't really add much to the song either, but lyrically this is solid at least.


*Forgot About Dre
-Eminem and Dre combine for a track that's essentially a huge middle finger from Dre to his detractors and haters. The verses here are concise and solid, the work of Eminem's pen, but Dre manages to keep up with the amazing flow. Both Dre verses are solid, but Em's verse seems to be the most memorable here. A great song overall and the hypnotic melody of the keyboards is perfect.


*The Next Episode
-If there was ever a song that embodied what we loved about West Coast hip hop and its evolution, it's this one. The booming drums, the infectious melody/sample, and the super catchy hook is amazing. What makes the song even better? The show stealing Nate Dogg bridge and the ever so classic "hold up.... waitttt" break. Another perfect song on this album and one of my favorites here.


*Let's Get High
-This track sounds exactly like a West Coast party and has that bounce to it that made the lowriders go up. Kurupt comes through with another solid verse, and Hittman does his thing as well. Overall, this is a perfect party track with the right vibe.


*Bitch Niggaz
-Snoop makes another appearance and while his verse isn't the best, it's solid. Dre has the best verse here alongside Six-Two, and I really enjoyed the slow menacing production. This isn't a perfect song, but it is damn good.


*Murder Ink
-Another rare miss on this album, it seems like after every few perfect or near perfect songs, Dre throws a curveball in the tracklist. While this wasn't necessarily bad, it's just one of the very few forgettable songs on this entire album. The verses and the vibe of the song just miss the mark.


*Some L.A. Niggaz
-Another huge posse track, this is perfect. Every rapper comes with solid lines, the beat is booming, and anytime you feature Kokane on the hook, it's a surefire winner. The guest verses and appearances all work very well, especially hearing MC Ren back over a Dre production. Something about that opening line as well that just perfectly starts the song right.


Another one of my favorites, this is where Kurupt really reminded me why he was one of my favorites growing up. His verse is perfect on here, and Dre and Hittman both also show up with great verses as well. The song is exactly what you'd expect from a Chronic album, and is almost like an updated version of "Bitches Ain't Shit", which makes it better by design.


-This song is continuing that trend that prevents this album from being COMPLETELY perfect. There are some great to near perfect songs on this album,  and once we get a few of those in a row, there's always one song that slightly messes the flow up. This is one of those songs and it is mostly due to the production, which throws everything else off. Still solid, the production just doesn't hit the mark here, which is rare for Dre.


*Bang Bang
-A departure from the gangsta theme of the rest of the album in a way, this track speaks to the gun violence that permeates the city Dre came up in, but from a slightly different perspective. There is a sort of remorseful tone in this song and a bit of regret in the lifestyle they've been accustomed to growing up in their neighborhoods. It seems to lead into the final track.


*The Message
-Dedicated to his slain brother, this Lord Finesse produced, Royce Da 5'9 written, and Mary J Blige & Rell featured track is a welcome change from the rest of the album. We see Dre at his most vulnerable, and he speaks from the heart about everything and everyone he lost. It is a different look for Dre musically, but it works very well. It hints at his obvious growth and shows that, while most of the album is a party and shootout, that life still has a way of showing you the reality.


5 Favorite Verses
I have to speak on my favorite verses on this album. Not necessarily the best or most lyrical verses, but these are my personal favorites that I quote all of the time when I listen to this album. As for why they're my favorites, a brief explanation for each: Nate's verse embodies his appearance on "Ain't No Fun", but this verse is just so smooth and the lyrics are hilarious. Dre's verse on "What's the Difference" seems like a shot at DJ Yella mixed in with some issues overlapping with Cube as well, while showing love to Eazy and D.O.C. and I think it's a telling verse overall and a perfect fit for the song. Eminem lyrically loses his mind on "Forgot About Dre", spitting one of my favorite guest verses from him ever and Dre also delivers an amazing verse to close out the song, making this the best lyrical display on the album. The Kurupt verse is honestly one of my favorites from his career and I could listen to it over and over again while reciting every line. It's not the most lyrical and is really just a fun verse, but it's probably the most memorable verse to me on the entire album. These are my 5 favorites.

*Nate Dogg- Xxplosive
(Guest Verse)
-"All my real dogs still kick it with me/
All my down hoes still trickin with me/
All the true gangstas know/
Nate ain't never love no hoe/
All the hoodrats still shake it for me/
All my true fans still checking for me/
All the real smokers know/
Nate ain't passing nothing but dope/
Real trees.../
Chronic leaves.../
No seeds.../

When I met you last night, baby/
Before.... I blew yo' mind, (blew-blew-blew your mind)/
I thought we had a chance, lady/
No more - now that I'm sober you ain't that fine/
Don't wanna treat you wrong/
Don't wanna lead you on/
Here baby, hit the bong/
While the west coast rolls along/
While we - still makin gangsta hits/
You'll be - still jockin gangsta dicks/
Damn girl you think you slick/
Somebody better get this bitch, this bitch/"

*Dr. Dre- What's the Difference
(Verse 1)
-"Back when Cube - was rollin wit Lorenzo in a Benzo/
I was bangin wit a gang of instrumentals/
Got the pens and pencils/
Got down to business; but sometimes the business end of this shit can turn your friends against you/
But you was a real nigga, I could sense it in you/
I still remember the window of the car that you went through/
That's fucked up, but I'll never forget the shit we been through/
And I'ma do whatever it takes to convince you/
Cuz you my nigga Doc, and Eazy I'm still with you/
Fuck the beef, nigga I miss you, and that's just bein real with you/
You see the truth is/
Everybody wanna know how close me and Snoop is/
And who I'm still cool with/
Then I got these fake-ass niggaz I first drew with/
Claimin that they non-violent....
Spit venom in interviews, speakin on reunions/
Move units/
Then talk shit and we can do this/
Until then - I ain't even speakin your name/
Just keep my name outta yo' mouth and we can keep it the same/
Nigga, it ain't that I'm too big to listen to the rumors/
It's just that I'm too damn big to pay attention to 'em/
That's the difference...."

*Eminem- Forgot About Dre
(Guest Verse)
-"So what do you say to somebody you hate?/
Or anyone tryna bring trouble your way?/
Wanna resolve things in a bloodier way/
Just study your tape of NWA/
One day I was walking by/
With a Walkman on, when I caught a guy/
Give me an awkward eye/
And strangled him off in the parking lot with his Karl Kani/
I don't give a fuck if it's dark or not/
I'm harder than me tryna park a Dodge/
But I'm drunk as fuck, right next to a humongous truck in a two car garage/
Hopping out with two broken legs, tryna walk it off/
Fuck you too, bitch, call the cops/
I'ma kill you and them loud ass motherfucking barking dogs/
And when the cops came through, me and Dre stood next to a burnt down house/
With a can full of gas and a hand full of matches, and still weren't found out/
So from here on out it's the Chronic 2/
Starting today and tomorrow's the new/
And I'm still loco enough to choke you to death with a Charleston chew/
Slim shady/
Hotter than a set of twin babies/
In a Mercedes Benz with the windows up, And the temp goes up to the mid 80's/
Calling men ladies/
Sorry Doc but I been crazy/
There is no way that you can save me/
It's OK go with him Hailie/"

*Dr. Dre- Forgot About Dre
(3rd Verse)
-"If it was up to me/
You motherfuckers would stop coming up to me/
With your hands out looking up to me/
Like you want something free/
When my last CD was out you wasn't bumping me/
But now that I got this little company/
Everybody wanna come to me/ Like it was some disease/
But you won't get a crumb from me/
Cause I'm from the streets of Compton...I told 'em all/
All them little gangstas, who you think helped mold 'em all/
Now you wanna run around and talk about guns, like I ain't got none, what you think I sold 'em all/
Cause I stay well off/
Now all I get is hate mail all day sayin' Dre fell off/
What, cause I been in the lab with a pen and a pad, tryna get this damn label off/
I ain't having that/
This is the millennium of Aftermath/
It ain't gonna be nothing after that/
So give me one more platinum plaque and fuck rap/
You can have it back/
So where's all the mad rappers at?/
It's like a jungle in this habitat/
But all you savage cats/
Knew that I was strapped with gats/
When you were cuddling a cabbage patch/

*Kurupt- Housewife
(Guest Verse)
-"At the ho-tel, mo-tel, or the Holiday Inn/
I said if that bitch keep fuckin up, then we'll fuck her friends/
I said I dip, dive, what can I say?/
Niggas need to stop fuckin with O.J./
Some niggas bang blood, some niggas bang crip/
And bitches ain't shit but hoes and tricks/
I had to dream of hoes/
I had to scream at hoes/
I seen my hoes in all kinds of clothes/
Lil' Almond Joy/
I'd sure enjoy/
If you blew my balls/
Right through my draws/
Come back to the mansion, chill at the spot/
From the way she was blowin, I know she does it a lot/
I have a eight-and-a-half, nine-and-three-quarters/
The hoe started callin when I started boss ballin/
Gimme some head, gimme some ass/
Gimme some cash, pass her to Daz/
Pass it to Snoop, or pass it to Nate/
Hoes eat dick like eggs and steak/
That ain't shit new, I thought you knew (what?)
I knew you would/
You wish you could/
Break a G down/
Break me down/
But I'ma see you on the rebound/ 
D.P. style/"

For me, this album is just as vital as The Chronic, if not more. It's the highest selling album of Dre's career and it was the album that revitalized his career and legacy for the most part. He sounded refreshed, brought the gang back together, and because of that, he is recognized as such a legend. Dre had experienced some tough hardships career wise after Death Row, and this was the album that put him back into the forefront, which speaks to his genius and ability to craft something special. 2001 was honestly an album that came and knocked everyone on their ass, blowing away any competition and showing that Dre is a visionary with a plan. This plan was executed perfectly and turned into a classic.

Rating: 9.5/10


1 comment:

  1. It's a flawless album and has that sound that you could play it for a heavy metal fan and he would be loving it as much as a real hip hop head.Shame dre never put out a follow up i heard a lot of leaked/reference tracks with T.I Nas Bishop Lamont Royce 5'9 Crooked I so much dope music mabye he will open the vault one day


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