How Dr Dre chose the name of his album ‘Chronic 2001’
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How Dr Dre chose the name of his album ‘Chronic 2001’

Dr Dre is undeniably one of the wealthiest men in hip-hop and released a tonne of music to achieve the status he has today. Known as the pioneer behind G-funk and the man who gave the world Snoop Dogg, 2pac, Eminem, and many others, the producer and entrepreneur has several hits to his name. Born and raised in Compton, the star (born Andre Young) began his music career as part of the World Class Wreckin’ Cru. Primarily operating in South Central LA as an electro beatmaker, and turntablist by the mid-1980s, Dre had become the iconic producer of N.W.A. However, he made even more of an impact during the 1990s.

In 1991, Dre went into business with the formidable and infamous Suge Knight. Working as a duo, they formed Death Row Records, and while in a partnership with Knight, Young created a seismic shift in hip-hop culture with his debut album. Entitled The Chronic, Young’s 1992 project shifted the power dynamics of hip-hop. It forced New York to accept the California hip-hop scene and sparked the G-funk movement, which dominated the culture during the ’90s. The Chronic is archived in the USA’s Library of Congress, meaning it is of national importance in America. The album boasts the first-ever G-funk track ‘Nuthin But A G-thang’ and has been certified as a culturally significant specimen.

Following the release of The Chronic in 1992, Young diverted his attention to scouting and producing other artists, namely Snoop Dogg and 2pac. The two partners in crime were the prodigy children of Death Row Records. Together, they created magic and a bit of havoc. However, irrespective of 2pac’s raucous nature, a lot of the Dre-produced hits he released have proven to be timeless. By 1998 when Young parted ways with Knight and the label, he looked to produce his own body of work.

The Chronic 2001 often called 2001, was Dr Dre’s second studio album. However, he released the project after a seven-year hiatus from rap. Therefore it was marketed as his comeback album, but many fans wonder why it was named 2001, when it was released in 1999. Well, there is a reason why. However, it is pretty abstract.

After the death of Biggie Smalls in 1997, by 1998, Death Row became a dormant label. Dr Dre had transitioned into a partnership with Jimmy Iovine of Interscope to form Aftermath Entertainment, and Snoop Dogg had created his label Doggystyle Records. This culmination left Suge Knight very salty as he would see no income. Having heard through the grapevine that Dre was planning on releasing an album related to The Chronic, Knight told Iovine and Dre The Chronic 2000 was already a working title for a Death Row album which was effectively complete. This left Dre no choice.

In an appearance on the Top Creatives podcast, hip-hop duo Onyx explained how the name really came about, detailing, “This is the time with Suge tryna f*cking go against Dre, so he wanted to put out the project Chronic 2000 the same day or before Dre, so I was telling Fredro, ‘tell Dre to name his shit Chronic 2001!'” You can watch a documentary about the making of 2001 in the video below.