Here we are on the (supposed) eve of the release of Dr. Dre’s first single from his third and apparent final album, Detox, aptly titled “Under Pressure”, a collaborative track with Jay-Z. The internet has been ablaze the last few weeks with talk of the single, with everyone wondering what exactly it will sound like. Akon suggested that Dre would actually be going straight for the dancefloor with an uptempo club record, in a recent interview with the Associated Press.
“You’ve got some straight hardcore hip-hop guys actually moving into the dance realm,” Akon told the A.P. “And that’s shocking. When you’ve got someone like Dr. Dre about to do a dance record … that’s crazy. “It actually sounds great. He played it for me. I was shocked. So I was like ‘Wow, that’s dope. When the world hears this, they might go crazy.’ … When you’ve got the two worlds mixed together, clashing, it’s going to be a monster.”
But this is just one of many rumors surrounding the sound of Detox, and there is no proof that this is actually what “Under Pressure” is, or if the “dance record” Akon mentioned will even make the album. This is standard practice for Dr. Dre, who throughout his career has worked with numerous collaborators to help him construct the perfect LP. While he does use ghostwriters and co-producers, he also is a “producer” in the truest sense of the word, or even better, a composer. Other musicians and collaborators bring him the raw materials, and like James Cameron in the director’s seat, he arranges it all perfectly, and brings it together like no one else can.
So who is involved with Detox? Just about everyone. Naturally, we can expect to see the usual list of collaborators making definite appearances on the record – Eminem, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, possibly Game, and the already confirmed Jay-Z. Other artists that are rumored to have recorded for Detox include: (take a deep breath) D12, Knoc-Turn’al, G-Unit, Mary J. Blige, Devin The Dude, Marsha Ambrosious, Busta Rhymes, Warren G, Nas, Bishop Lamont, Ice Cube, Fergie (?) while each Ludacris, T.I., Drake, Lil Wayne, and Ester Dean have apparently helped out on writing duties. And let’s not forget co-production from No I.D., Mel-Man, Scoop DeVille, Boi-1da, J.R. Rotem, Scott Storch, Dawaun Parker, Hi-Tek, DJ Khalil, Focus, Mike Elizondo, RZA, and Mel-Man. And this is just what we have heard about – most of these collaborators won’t even make the final cut.
However, this begs the question, how can this possibly be good? Many of these artists had nothing to do with 2001 or The Chronic, so how can they make music that respects their legacies and doesn’t sound like every other record on the radio? Take for example, if Ludacris’s new rhyme style emulates Young Money (…punchline!), will Dr. Dre’s rapping sound like Young Money by way of Ludacris, complete with Conjure shout-outs? Scary thought.
Furthermore, with the current state of the music industry, Detox has to satisfy on all levels, with the new business model to create as many potential “singles” from an album as possible. We’ve seen artists like Flo-Rida and Lady Gaga murder it off the strength of one album, releasing 4 to 6 huge hit singles, which translates to endless single track and ringtone sales, something that will last years beyond the shelf space of the album itself. Best believe this has definitely been taken into consideration with Detox, which is one of the most important albums ever for Interscope, not to mention the music industry itself. Naturally, it would only make sense for Jimmy and company to make sure the most hit-making, sure shot people are somehow involved with this record, Fergie not withstanding. The single is called “Under Pressure” for a reason.
So how can it possibly be good? Because it’s Dr. Dre, and he’s a perfectionist. This album was announced in 2003, and scheduled for release in 2004. It’s 2010, and we still don’t have a street date. DJ Quik is quoted as saying that Dr. Dre has recorded over 400 songs for the album. Who else in this industry takes this kind of care when recoding an LP, not to mention keeping all the table scraps in the vault, rather than shitting them out for a mixtape? And while we have all been disappointed with Dre for pulling out of projects from Rakim, King Tee, Game, Joell Ortiz, Eve, and others, it says something about his obsession with quality. Obviously he felt these projects were not strong enough to see release, which speaks volumes about his artistic integrity. (Shit, and we loved the unreleased Aftermath King Tee album).
That being said, while Dre might be under an extreme amount of pressure to create the perfect album, we’re sure he’ll come through in the end. The Chronic proved this, 2001 proved this, and it’s likely that Detox will as well.
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