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MUSA1300 Lecture Notes - Oxymoron, Entertainment Weekly, Parliament-Funkadelic

5 pages108 viewsFall 2013

Music Academic
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Donald James

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Chantz Delgado
October 22, 2010
Album Review of The Chronic
One of the most influential music producers to be known, Dr. Dre changed the game for
the hip-hop and rap industry when his solo debut album, The Chronic, was released in December
of 1992. This production meshed the altered tempo of funk with the “lazy” west coast rap style to
create gangsta funk better known as G-funk. During an interview with Rolling Stone, Kanye
West said “Chronic is the hip-hop equivalent to Stevie Wonders ‘Songs in the Key of Life’”
which ranked #56 in Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Anyone who
knows of Stevie Wonder will know that this album became his signature album and is noted as
one of the greatest albums in pop music history.
Born and raised in Compton, LA, where the infamous Blood and Crips gangs originated,
Dre hit off his rap career with Ni**az with Attitude(NWA)’s first album-Straight Outta
Compton- revolutionizing the rap genre through social commentary. In the late 1980’s
Compton’s violent reputation reached its peak with the crack epidemic on the rise and gang
violence reaching an all time high. This urban city youth lifestyle laid the foundation for gangsta
rap that promoted profanity, sex, substance abuse, violence and several other social negatives.
Dre along with NWA popularized this genre of music by advocating and encouraging these social
issues during this time. After leaving NWA in 1990 over a financial dispute with Ruthless
Record’s manager, The Chronic was debuted featuring direct insults to both NWA and his former
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group members. The departure from the group set the tone for this album bringing Dre to the
pinnacle of his career coined as the “father of G-funk”.
His first single of this album, “Nuthin but a ‘G’ Thang” featuring his protégé, Snoop
Doggy Dog, turned out to be one of the most listened-to songs of its time reaching #2 on
Billboard’s Top 100. This song is considered to be an exemplar G-funk single, delivering a
melodic laid back combination of rhyme and flow. It incorporates multi-layered synthesizers, a
heavy bass, and used some form of instrumental sampling although it mostly focused on live
instrumentation and harmony. The song embodies life from a gangsta’s point of view
emphasizing on the use of marijuana, which became very prominent during this time, and
promoted a life filled with promiscuity and vandalism. The lyrical context appealed to the great
majority as it was nominated for the Best Rap Performance by a group in the 1994 Grammy
Awards and this song launched Snoop Dogg’s successful career.
The album also had two other singles, “F$@k with Dre Day” and “Let me Ride”, both
reaching Billboard’s Top 100. “F$@k with Dre Day’ was released as the second single on May of
1993 selling over 500,000 units. The track had a very aggressive production approach aiming at
Ruthless Records and his former NWA group members. The track is well noted for portraying a
“don’t give a damn” attitude and considered one of the best diss tracks Dre’s ever produced. Both
Dre and Snoop directly insult rappers such as Dre’s former group member, Eazy-E and east coast
rapper Tim Dog. The lyrics make explicit disrespectful statements such as “Ni**a bow down to
the row, fu%$ing me, now I’m fu%$cking you, little hoe”- Dre referring to Eazy-E. They even go
as far as making the music video into a comical story about a character named “Sleazy-E” who
signs a contract with his fat manager- whom is suppose to represent Ruthless Record’s manager-
and goes out in search of other whack rappers to join his group. Watching the video I noticed that
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