Day 3 of our 12 Days of Early 90’s Hip Hop and we’re journeying back to 1992.
The Chronic – Dr Dre
Released December 1992
Produced by Dr Dre and Suge Knight
Whichever way you slice the pie, this is an important record. I’m from Manchester and I barely give a fuck about the geographical logistics of cities in the UK. However, as a teenager I mostly found myself attracted to hip Hop from New York. But it’s impossible to have a meaningful discussion about early 90’s rap music without the inclusion of Dr Dre’s debut album: The Chronic. It was not only commercially successful, but it also paved the way for one of the most anticipated Hip Hop albums of all time when it (more or less) introduced us to the relatively unknown MC Snoop Doggy Dogg and precipitated his (vastly inferior, but commercially successful) debut album Doggystyle.
Not only that but it is viewed as establishing G-Funk within Gangsta Rap. And there is no getting away from the fact that it is most definitely a Gangsta Rap record. Peppered with misogyny, violent rhetoric (the album is essentially one long diss of ex-bandmate Eazy-E and Ruthless Records), and a devotion to drug abuse and criminality – this album appealed to very young boys with very small dicks. But it’s important not to dismiss this album even with its unnecessary themes and regressive politics. Musically, the record is extremely proficient. Stand out tracks include Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang, Let Me Ride and… *shudder* Bitches Ain’t Shit. Which of course, they ain’t. Women are in fact, life givers.
The production values of this record are tight and if you are willing to forgive the album’s central themes (I was then, and I’m less inclined now) you are left with an album featuring very few fillers and some all-time classics. Plus an album title and cover artwork that alludes to marijuana. Tee hee.