Dr Dre’s 1992 debut album, The Chronic, was a culture-shifting, genre-advancing masterpiece and has been archived in the USA’s Library of Congress as a culturally significant recording. Its release shook hip-hop and created an entirely new subgenre that swept the globe.
Although many fantastic albums have been released on Dr Dre’s watch, such as the Marshall Mathers LP and Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, in a sit-down interview, Brooklyn DJ Clark Kent once insisted that Dr Dre’s debut project is not a classic.
During a conversation with Angie Martinez for Warner Music Group’s Iconic Records podcast series, Kent spoke about classic hip-hop projects and, following Biggie Smalls’ 1994 project Ready To Die, listed various names but not The Chronic.
Elaborating on why he didn’t include the 1992 body of work in his list, the DJ stated, “If you look at every album that you think is a classic album, like the real classics, the NWA’s, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg first album, A Tribe Called Quest joint, Slick Rick’s album… TheChronic. I can’t even put The Chronic before I put Snoop Dogg’s [first] album. Snoop Dogg’s album is better than The Chronic. It definitely is. That’s not even a question.”
Kent continued, “What I’m saying is, if you take a second and listen to all of those albums, Reasonable Doubt, Life After Death, Ready To Die, they’re the same album. All of these albums do the same thing. They begin, they hold you in the middle, they hug you, and then they end. That’s what classic albums do.”
Although the DJ showed a lot of bias towards Brooklyn artists, he admitted that one determining factor makes The Chronic, not a classic, unveiling, “You gotta have great songs that make that thing happen. If you don’t…. you’ll get one song that doesn’t hit properly. You done took yourself out of the classic thing because if you can skip, you ain’t got a classic. That’s why I won’t say The Chronic is a classic. Because I can skip [‘High Powered’ featuring] RBX.”
DJ Clark Kent revealed that the most classic album, in his opinion, is Life After Death by Biggie Smalls. He also disclosed that he is a fan of Doggystyle but can’t bring himself to put The Chronic on his list of classics. You can listen to Kent’s interview with Martinez below.