“I calculate my next step which is to accept my expectations/are sorta too high to meet/my reputations in jep/yep face it the fans have been upset/yet patient” spits Dr Dre, in his characteristic Doberman style on a snippet of a Detox exclusive track called “Die Hard”. It’s a sentiment that he has been trading off for the last decade, keeping fans and the scene waiting for his forthcoming third and final album, ‘Detox’.
If you keep up with your hip hop, then you’ll probably know that ‘Detox’ remains unfinished, despite its existence being announced in 2001. In the meantime, and possibly due to the volume of unfinished tracks that have been dubiously leaked, Dre has released a series of mixtapes called T’he Detox Chroniclez’ containing exclusive tracks, guest spots, unfinished snippets and some familiar classics.
The most recent offering in this series (Vol 6) was officially released on April the 10th. Hosted by DJ AGE, the tape runs eighty minutes long and thirty-four tracks deep. Guest appearances include Nas, Raekwon, Be Real and a host of other heavy hitters from both coasts. On first listen it’s an eclectic and disjointed mash of simple but pleasant bars backed by club minded beats, interspersed with a few gems. “Average Joe” is one of the standout tracks, featuring Dre protégé Kendrick Lamar spitting over a laid back production that allows Lamar to display his talent.
“I don’t do black music/I don’t do white music/I do everyday life music/give’em cuts like a nigga pierced a knife through it”(Average Joe ft Kendrick Lamar)
“Only in California” proves that Dre can still rap as well as in his prime, creating that old west coast flow better than anyone out there. Somewhere between the second and third listen of ‘Detox Chroniclez Vol 6’, Dre weaves his magic and has you appreciating tracks that you hated the first time you listened. Take “Drug Test” for example, its oppressive production takes a while to get used to – but it is worth it. The track “Grow Up” has an intense early Kanye-Lupe-Chicago feel, with its clean cut sunny beat and Bishop Lamont (another Dre protégé) vocalising intelligent lyrics with an infective flow.
Certain tracks on the mixtape feel unfinished, while other tracks are let down by overproduction. Worst of all, Dre has been developing a tendency toward excessively long hooks. But, in true Dr Dre style, every track on this tape has its own individual character, on a personal level this meant that the tape was a little hit and miss. That said, I can’t deny that it still flows beautifully as a whole. Detox itself is expected to drop this year, and although I was not expecting it to create the same waves that his last two albums did, this tape has relit my faith in Dr Dre’s ability to surprise listeners at the last minute – fingers crossed for a summer release jam packed with joints for the sunshine.
Best Bar – “I calculate my next step, pacin’/don’t know if ill meet expectations/all I know is the world better get set/Dre’s in effect/been in it since you had cassette deck tapin”.By Oscar Burton Xi