There are a lot of connections that run between Kendrick Lamar and Dr. Dre. The two icons were from the mean streets of Compton and soon began a working relationship after J. Cole pushed the music mogul into checking out the new and rising star Lamar. However, owing to some of Dre’s other contributions to hip hop, the former N.W.A. man had been impacting Lamar’s life for a long time.
Sitting down with Complex, Lamar broke down how some of the biggest names in the business have helped shape his vision. “[What resonated with me was] the storytelling, just the storytelling, how in-depth the storytelling was,” he said of the Notorious B.I.G.
“The storytelling and the flow. The one thing about West Coast music, we had storytelling, it wasn’t crazy in-depth like that, but we had it. Our stuff was more laid back, more flow and feel good, more how records felt. His was just grimy. Stories was crazy. Flows was crazy.”
It was something that highly influenced Lamar, a man who is now equipped with a tag that reads: ‘greatest of his generation’. Within the 25 greatest albums of all time that the rapper picked, he noted Dr. Dre’s seminal album The Chronic as one of the seminal moments in his musical life.
Dre released his debut solo studio album, The Chronic, in 1992, through Death Row Records, and the record immediately saw him break out as a star in his own right. Following the triumphant debut, Dre landed a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance for his single, ‘Let Me Ride’. However, if there was one song to demonstrate everything you needed to know about the rap scene at the turn of the 1990s, then just point them to ‘Nuthin But A “G” Thang’ with Snoop Dogg, which featured on Dre’s first solo LP.
When discussing Dr. Dre’s iconic record The Chronic, Lamar said: “That was probably the first rap album I remember them playing in the house from top to bottom. Songs that I actually remember as a kid. That’s the start of them house parties I always talk about growing up.”
He added: “‘Lil’ Ghetto Boy’ was crazy because of the storytelling, and I do a lot of storytelling in this album. I really pattern… Like I listen to my album and how it’s broken down to 12 songs. It really kind of shapes and forms into an album like that. Just with the storytelling and what represents the city today and kids around the world today.”
Listen to Dr. Dre’s The Chronic below.