It’s been (almost) three days and uncountable track repeats since the release of Dr Dre’s final album “Compton” and after some serious time bonding with my headphones, here are the 7 reasons why this epic album will have any Hip-Hop head wishing they were in the sunny California ghetto.
1) The Intro
The intro to Dre’s finale album couldn’t be more cinematic. As the album is ‘A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre’, the intro introduces the state of Compton to listeners above inspiring orchestral instrumentation which provides some of the best production on the entire record. Dontae Winslow’s jazzy brass production on this track really sets the tone for “Compton” as it leads into “Talk About It” featuring King Mez and Justus.
2) Dre’s first verse on the album; Let’s “Talk About It”
It’s worth noting, firstly, how impressive the track’s brass stabs are as they contrast Winslow’s brass on “Intro” as the two songs surprisingly, yet seamlessly, flow into each other.
After a promising verse from King Mez, Dre drops in following a throwback West-Coast sung hook from Justus. And, you best believe “Andre still young enough to get involved”. The rhythmic nature of the Compton MC turned super-producer really catches the ear of the listener, just as much as his opening line “I just bought California” does. This is one of the hardest Dre verses I’ve heard in a long time.
3) …Every other Dre verse on the album
From detailing his come up and his reactions to first meeting Snoop and Suge on “It’s All On Me” to his fast flows on “All In A Day’s Work” and “Darkside” where his growled ad-libs just highlight the hunger that Dre had after being inspired by the new “Straight Outta Compton” film to make this record his last, the expectations weighing on Dre’s full-length return were undoubtedly fulfilled. My favourite Dre verse comes on “Deep Water” where he compares advice given to him to ill-wanted advice over Picasso’s shoulder about his brush strokes, by far my favourite bar on the album.
4) The wider world’s introduction to Anderson .Paak
I first saw .Paak play support to “White Boy Raps Fast” George Watsky last year at Scala (King’s Cross). And, although I knew the guy was talented, I wasn’t standing there thinking that in a years time he’d be one of most featured artists on Dr. Dre’s last ever full-length album.
On Compton, we are introduced to .Paak on “All In a Day’s Work” after an intro from Jimmy Lovine. On this track he duets with Dre and soulfully ad-libs Dre’s lamented verse about ever-present pressures that get placed on him to carry Hip-Hop on his shoulders. With a typically Californian style, the Los Angeles native makes his mark on no less than 4 tracks throughout the whole record. Anderson .Paak adds a soulful G-Funk atmosphere to the tracks he appears on and is a real standout on the album, as emphasised by his part on “Deep Water” and “Animals”.
5) Kendrick Holds it down multiple times
Culminating in a killer verse on “Deep Water” where Kendrick’s flow goes from what we’re used to from K.Dot, to a faster but more staccato flow with which every word is particular and really hits home over hard-rolling hats and drowning ad-libs that’re distorted to great effect, Kendrick bodies all 3 tracks he appears on. Compton’s contention for Album of the Year certainly hasn’t unsettled Kendrick, as told through his verses.
6) This is a forward-thinking blast from the past
Despite being a Dre album, one which of course boasts much wanted west-coast influences, the forward thinking production from this album is legendary. I’ve already mentioned Winslow’s production on the Intro, but the trumpet-riffs on “Deep Water” and “Talking to My Diary” are reminiscent of Donnie Trumpet, a new school band-member of Chance The Rapper’s tour group “The Social Experiment”. From the modern trap-hats on “Talk About It” to the wailing synths also present on “Deep Water”, this album is a lesson in production for every aspiring beat-maker listening to Compton on their £20 headphones.
The musicality and Dre’s versatility as a producer is nevermore present than on “One Shot One Kill” which features raw snare hits and awesome acid guitar riffs underneath 2014 XXL Freshman Jon Connor’s hardman hook.
“Compton” gets the best from the best,
Highlighted by The Game’s classic performance on “Just Another Day”, Compton brings the best out of the old-school cats featured on the record. Snoop, Ice Cube and even Xzibit deliver verses that are reminiscent of their heyday.
Already mentioned was Kendrick’s performance on Compton, but it’s Eminem’s verse on Medicine Man that had me reloading on every listen. The beat switch compliments Shady as he loses control and delivers, possibly, the best verse on the entire album. It’s muthafuckin’ Game time!