Yesterday marked the twenty-year anniversary of Dr. Dre releasing his critically-acclaimed debut album, The Chronic. The album not only marked Dr. Dre’s solo debut, but it also launched a new era in hip hop. Death Row Records was officially launched and hip hop was forever changed.
Going back, twenty years ago, Dr. Dre’s future was questionable. Leaving Ruthless Records, Dr. Dre sought to be fairly paid. But, his decision to partner with bodyguard-turned-businessman, Suge Knight, was a risky move. Ultimately, Dr. Dre agreeing to give a good portion of his profits to Eazy-E also provided little faith.
The rap world had serious doubts about Dr. Dre, but he turned heads with his consistent flow of good music. Dr. Dre had no record as an executive in the rap game, showed the world what he was made of with Snoop Doggy Dogg making an impact. It was time to deliver and, on December 15, 1992, Dr. Dre did with The Chronic.
Many consider the 1990s to be the golden era of hip hop, as there were several classic debut albums. Most of these albums focused much on lyricism and solo songs. Dr. Dre was the complete opposite, focusing instead on his large collaborations and using his flow, as opposed to his lyrics, to win fans over. In some ways comparable to Wiz Khalifa, Dr. Dre represented youth, specifically young people getting money.
With The Chronic, Dr. Dre ushered in the G-Funk era in hip hop, solidifying the new West Coast sound. The overall style of Death Row, fueled by what was portrayed in The Chronic led to numerous record companies imitating their success. However, Dr. Dre was given full credit for being the originator. Speaking of the album, itself, Dr. Dre provided a bit of everything on his debut. Arguably, Dr. Dre’s classic debut fueled the 2004 video game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Dr. Dre cruised onto the scene with “Nuthin’ But a G Thang,” which featured a fresh-faced Snoop Dogg, previously mentioned as being known as Snoop Doggy Dogg. Fighting past demons at Ruthless Records, Dr. Dre would address Eazy-E for his wrongdoings on the diss record, “Fuck wit Dre Day,” which also featured Snoop Doggy Dogg. However, Eazy-E responded that “Dre Day” was nothing more than his own pay day. Leaving all business out of the equation, Dr. Dre was winning the war in the streets with his music.
The Chronic was closed with Dr. Dre’s single, “Let Me Ride,” with the title saying it all. A smooth song to play for a day, or night, on the road, Dr. Dre established what West Coast hip hop is. Not until the recent emergence of Kendrick Lamar, TDE, Tyga, and Tyler, the Creator, among others, did the West Coast hip hop world begin to transition away from the traditional G-Funk. Early albums from Game were even heavily-influenced by the era in hip hop created by Dr. Dre.
Twenty years later, the world is inspired by The Chronic, whether they know it or not. Each time Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is played and the station is on ‘Radio Los Santos,’ there is plenty of talk about Dr. Dre. When the conversation for classic albums come up, there is still mention of The Chronic. Take The Chronic out of Dr. Dre’s discography and his legacy has a wide, gaping hole in the middle of it.
Watch music videos from Dr. Dre’s The Chronic below:
Watch “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” by Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Doggy Dogg below:
Watch “Fuck wit Dre Day” by Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Doggy Dogg below:
Watch “Let Me Ride” by Dr. Dre below: