Monthly Archives: August 2015

Review: Dr. Dre – Compton (2015)

Let me say that I’m a huge fan of Dr. Dre’s previous work in G-Funk – The Chronic and 2001 are both masterpieces that I listen to frequently.  I had a feeling that after going “back to the lab” this time, we wouldn’t get the same level of quality, but I didn’t lose all hope.  Here’s what I think of the album:

Intro

A picture of Compton is painted in the style of 50’s news reels with the whitest voice you can hire.  This makes me think of the “home of the future” and other old shorts.  It highlights the claim that Compton is predominantly black and has high crime, although a little research shows that Compton is 65% Hispanic and 32% Black, which is interesting considering this album just came out – perhaps the claim is back-dated to the 90’s in Dre’s heyday.

Talk About It

Ugh this sucks – it starts with yelling crappy rap like we hear in contemporary hip-hop, not what I actually enjoy, which is G-Funk.  Where are the dope beats and clever groovy lyrics I’m looking for?  Then it goes into a moaned auto-tune drone which is apparently the chorus – “I don’t know everything – one thing, one thing I do know (repeat), is one day I’m ‘a have everything”.  This is the worst – who is responsible for this? 1/5

Genocide

A little vogue-y – it’s kinda OK.  Jamaican style rap – not my thing.  It has a really weird chorus, and I find it pretty boring.  Not funky, not fresh, just junk. 1/5

It’s All On Me

Right off the bat, this sounds better – they have a good sample as the main melody, but the rapping starts and immediately ruins it.  Is this some sort of anthem?  Oh my god this song sucks.  Rapping at 1:00 or so is OK, but it’s not clever and is just boring.  Where’s the drug/gun/murder references?  This is weak. 1/5

All In A Day’s Work

Starts off with a speech about fear.  Music starts with some promising synth, a little funky.  Aaaand I’m disappointed again – the first rapper is singing his lyrics.  Is this an R&B song?  Just a lot of yelling and bitching.  Then horrible auto-tune bridge.  Why is this on a Dre album?  At least it’s somewhat pleasant. 1.5/5

Darkside Gone

“I ain’t never been no gangsta, but I know N*’s from the darkside” – WHAT?  REALLY!?? I don’t care if you KNOW gangstas – how does that make you tough?  A police officer could make the same claim!  There’s a shout-out to Eazy-E, which is a bit cool, but they go into this female harmony that doesn’t mesh with the song at all and has no proper transitions.  I’m so confused.  This just sounds like more bitching.  1/5

Loose Cannons

Again, it’s not G-Funk.  Where is it?  Just a bunch of yelling again.  There’s no content to these lyrics – it’s just a bunch of statements that aren’t really that interesting. Xzibit does slightly better, and has some decent lyrics, but it’s not really that much better.  There’s a scene where someone’s about to get capped, and a woman pleading and some heavy breathing, then a gunshot and a skit about moving a body.  Meh. 1/5

Issues

Horrible introduction – someone screaming.  Beat is a little better, rap is a little better (because it’s Ice Cube).  This is probably the best one yet – a solid Ice Cube song.  OMFG.  The chorus is TERRIBLE.  It sounds like Young Thug, who I hate more than anything.  It just descends into a mess of a club song mixed with R&B mixed with sound effects, then the beat finally comes back, but it still sucks.  1.5/5

Deep Water

Seaside sound effects.  Decent dark melody, some good rapping, but it’s ruined by the “chorus” which is just a muddled mess of noise.  There’s a stuttering sound effect on some of the lyrics that’s extremely annoying.  More moaning droning auto-tune – I hate that.  There’s no cohesion to this song at all.  1/5

One Shot One Kill

Hopes are up – Snoop Lion is on this one.  A good beat, some decent rapping, makes me bob my head a little.  Chorus sucks.  “You are now not in the presence of nice guys” – this is probably the worst lyric I’ve ever heard on a Dre album.  Talk about the weakest way to say someone is in danger – they might as well say “watch out, we may or may not commit crimes at some point in the future”.  It just makes me cringe.  1/5

Just Another Day

I don’t know Asia Bryant, but this song has a GREAT beat and samples, but the brass gets old after a few bars.  Rap is OK, but nothing great, and this still doesn’t qualify as G-Funk in my book.  I’m tired of the brass now.  Female Chorus that’s rather boring and doesn’t fit the genre IMHO.  Musically it’s OK. 1.5/5

For the Love of Money

Oh man, Bone Thugz!  When do they start rapping?  Oh wait – they just took that one sample.  There’s some annoying female singing, but then the rap starts.  The rap is OK.  There’s a build-up, but then it just gets quiet and goes back to the women talking.  Is that crap the chorus?  The “Oooh” sample and the “Yeah” sample get old REALLY quick.  Listenable, but not great at all.  2/5

Satisfaction

WTF is that noise?  Why is that there?  It sounds like someone yelling incomprehensibly in a sewer.  Women drone the “chorus” as far as I can tell.  Rap consists of talking about being rich and getting women.  Sewer yelling is in the background of the rap, and it’s annoying.  I hate this song.  1/5

Animals

This is yet more singing – very upbeat and has an OK melody, but again, it’s not hardcore enough.  This is the sort of uplifting song I hear on Kendrick Lamar’s albums, which is fine in context, but that’s not what I’m looking for from this album.  Lots of cursing in the rap, but no imagery, just bitching and pleading about feelings. 1/5

Medicine Man

Some woman is singing with no backing.  Oh wow she’s cursing oh my, my sensibilities are scarred!! This is just all over the place.  Eminem starts rapping at 2:07 or so.  This sounds like one of the songs from his albums, but it’s very philosophical and free of the normal dark lyrics I look for with his rap.  Where’s the imagery like him and Dre standing there with a can of gas and matches after committing arson and murder?  Nowhere.  This is lame, but listenable.  2/5

Talking To My Diary

Reminds me of Dilated Peoples – Worst Comes To Worst, except that song is WAY better.  Oh man he’s so hard, he is talkin’ to his diary.  I’m scared.  Oh this might be the first mention of “being high” I’ve heard – how controversial.  Another shout-out to Eazy.  Has a GREAT jazz trumpet lick – there should be a whole album of just THAT – Dre may have discovered a new genre here, and he should exploit it.  This is probably the best song yet.  3/5

TL;DR

This album will probably do well in today’s hip-hop scene, since all the music on it sounds exactly what I’m used to hearing these days.  It is NOT suitable for those looking for an addition to 2001 and The Chronic.  Apparently we’ll never get another great G-Funk album from Dre, so it’s probably time to stop wishing.