Today, Thursday, December 15th 2022, marks a true milestone in hip hop and will remind fans all over the world of the progress that the culture has made over the years. Why? Because this date marks 30 years since the release of Dr Dre’s exceptional debut album, The Chronic.
Dr Dre is more than a mere producer. He is a businessman, entrepreneur mogul and someone who shifted the culture. Few can say they have achieved such a feat, but Dr Dre is most definitely one of them. Dre’s discography includes some of the most iconic tracks in hip-hop, and today is the day we celebrate The Chronic and laud its creator.
Born Andre Romelle Young in Compton, Dr Dre first emerged on the L.A. music scene as part of the electro group the World Class Wreckin’ Cru. Operating primarily as a DJ alongside DJ Yella, when the crew disbanded in the mid-1980s, Dre, alongside his friend Yella, joined a new crew, N.W.A.
As a producer and rapper in N.W.A., Dre began to develop a sound that would later come to be known as G-funk, with tracks such as ‘Dopeman’ giving the musician a winning production formula. He would later utilise the funky formula to create anthem after anthem during the ’90s and eventually build an empire.
After significant disagreements with his manager Jerry Heller in early 1992, Dr Dre and The D.O.C. left N.W.A and Ruthless Records to form Death Row Records alongside infamous businessman Suge Knight. It was here that the magic happened, and before long, he was working on his groundbreaking debut album, The Chronic.
Alongside fellow California rappers like Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Warren G and Tupac Shakur, Dre Dre began cultivating a West Coast scene that was larger than life. However, it was The Chronic that initially turned heads. With legendary songs such as ‘Nuthin But A G Thang’, ‘Deep Cover’ and ‘Deeez Nuuuts’, the West Coast G-funk movement became undeniable.
Recorded at the legendary Death Row Studios in Tarzana, California, The Chronic effectively launched the careers of several West Coast artists’ careers, including Snoop Dogg, Daz Dillinger, Kurupt, Nate Dogg, and Warren G. Furthermore, it set the blueprint for other successful West Coast albums such as Doggystyle, All Eyez On Me, and Dogg Food all of which reached number one on the Billboard 200.
Speaking on his disbelief with regard to how the album was received, in a 1993 interview with Rap Sheet Magazine, Dr Dre revealed. “I went to a lot of record label companies, tried even to get a little production work to pay for rent and shoes. But nobody wanted to take a chance on me.” He continued, “Everybody was slamming doors on me, talking about, ‘This isn’t hip-hop; you’re using live instruments.’ It had me second-guessing myself,”
It is hard to believe that even the man himself didn’t believe in the project, especially since The Chronic was been chosen by the National Recording Registry to be archived in the Library of Congress. Overall it is safe to say that the album is legendary and deserves to be celebrated 30 years on. You can listen to the album below and see for yourself why it is undeniably exceptional.