“He is a dope producer but he aint work in years, I’m in the streets, whooping niggas asses, dropping albums, and starting wars but yet this nigga is taking 3 years to do one song!” 2Pac on Dr Dre
When Dr Dre made the announcement in 2002 that he was gonna working on the followup to his classic Chronic 2001 album. The Hip Hop world were patiently anticipating a classic. Dre’s first two albums set the bar creatlively in Hip Hop and changed the game forever. Dre took his creativity to the next level by introducing the G-Funk style into Hip Hop with The Chronic album. His Chronic 2001 album released seven years later wasn’t as G-funkish but it kept the West Coast mentality and remains as a classic to this day. So we were expecting Dre to take his time to deliver the icing on the cake.
We were expecting the usual Dre recipe.. Funky smoked out beats along with appearances from the usual suspects such as Snoop, Eminem, Xzibit, Warren G, King T, along with some new up and comers from the West Coast and the Aftermath Roster. Dre and Snoop has already developed huge momentum for the West with the highly successful Up and Smoke Tour so Dre releasing the album around late 2002 or 2003 would have put the West back in the forefront.
But then around that time Eminem signed the at the time hottest rapper in the game 50 Cent and Dre doing the smartest thing at the time and focused all of his attention on 50. Dre ended up executive producing 50’s debut Get Rich or Die Trying and producing several cuts on the album including 50’s Biggest hit to date “In Da Club” and it crossed 50 over to a mega star in the Rap World. Aftermath have apparently hit the jackpot.
Despite Dre focusing more and more on Eminem’s album Encore and still contributing work to 50 and Gunit, People still were buzzing about Dre’s Detox album. Dre talked about how he was still working on it but he still was focused on Eminem’s album and other projects. Ok that’s fine. We understand Dre’s a busy man and Eminem is his main attraction but the West Coast album needed an album from Dre to give them that lift and we all thought when he introduced a young Compton emcee Jaycon “The Game” Taylor to the label. We all thought this was the antidote he needed.
Since signing Game, Rumors were heavily circulating about the Detox album again. Game was the perfect emcee to set the theme for Detox at the time. He was young, cocky, He respected the OGs of the Game, He gave Eazy E his well deserved due and brought his name back into the mainstream. Many thought Game was the emcee Dre needed to complete Detox and it would have been the perfect pairing. Game could play a role similar to Snoop Dogg’s on the first Chronic album. Dre could have featured the usual suspects like Eminem, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, JayZ or even Nas to sell the album but the theme could have been built around hungry rappers such as The Game, Stat Quo, The resigned Eve, and Bishop Lamont. Not to mention the fact that he had Rakim signed. This tools were there to make this album a blockbuster for the year of 2005 but Dre once again became confined in his laziness and the buzz about Detox once again disappeared despite him claiming on Game’s Higher track : “Look out for Detox”
On the Cover of a 2006 XXL issue, Dre deaded the talks of doing Detox and claimed that he wanted to focus on producing new artists. This was a huge disappointment for many fans and while Dre’s reasoning could have been logical and at the same time understanding considering that he felt alot of pressure was on him to deliver a classic. The problem with that statement is that he rarely produced! With the exception of Eminem, and Busta Rhymes, Every artist on the Aftermath roster were treated like a tax write off. Artists like Joell Ortiz, Joe the Beast, Eve, Bishop Lamont, and Stat Quo all left the label claiming politics and Dre’s unwillingness to release music. This remains as a dark cloud that may further follow Dre’s career as it may overlook his accomplishments.
For years Detox remained as a Hip Hop Myth and people often joked about the release dates of the album. The anticipation for Detox at this point is at an all time low and thats mainly due to Dre’s lack of work ethic and his unwillingness to put out albums and artists to build his Aftermath brand. 50 Cent had to pretty much strong-arm Dr Dre to put out his lead single Disco Inferno because Dre was trying to hold on to the track and wait for a perfect time to release. But 50 told Dre that he needs to release the track because its gonna blow up, Dre refused so 50 leaked the song himself and it ended up being a smash hit. I feel that Dre dropped the ball with Detox to the point where it further lost interest in the Hip Hop Public. Sure he can produce all Eminem albums but this is not what the hip hop game or mainly the West Coast needs. Eminem is already established.
It also doesn’t help matters that 50 Cent and Game started their fued and forced Dre to pick sides. The fued while exciting costed both artists heavily in the long run. These guys could have done songs together on the Detox album and created magic because every song Game and 50 did were great. Dre made the biggest mistakes by picking sides and he picked working with 50 which may have made more business sense at the time, I believe would have made better sense if he would have worked with both and just not get involved with the vendetta.
The bottom line is that It’s such a shame seeing a guy like Dre due to his lack of consistent material or his trepidations of dropping a dud kept him from releasing songs that could not only help his artists signed to his label but also reestablishing his name as possibly the greatest producer in Hip Hop. Theres only so long that he can live off past accolades. There could have been so much money being made, So many new and hungry artists being developed and doors open for up and comers to the point where there could be artists out now eating off that branch Dre reestablished. Look at how many careers The Chronic started, I know Detox would have done the same but its like Snoop Dogg once said :Dr Dre doesn’t care about saving the West Coast.