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Why Dr Dre named his album '2001' having released it in 1999

Dr Dre is undeniably one of the biggest moguls in hip hop and has so many hits to his name. With his career beginnings as part of the World Class Wreckin’ Cru, the tycoon (real name Andre Young) adapted and worked his way to the top with multiple endeavours.

Starting in the early 1980s as a DJ for the electro group World Class Wreckin’ Cru, Dre quickly rose to the top of the Los Angeles hip hop scene as a respected and renowned DJ and producer. Before long, he was recruited by his childhood friend Eazy E and became the primary producer of the pioneering gangsta rap crew N.W.A.

With N.W.A Dre made some amazing music, including tracks such as ‘Dopeman’ and ‘Always Into Something’ however, the crew had disbanded by the end of the decade with Ice Cube abruptly leaving. Shortly after the crew’s disbandment, Dre founded Death Row Records with Suge Knight and continued to grow from there.

Death Row would become an international phenomenon but would also become infamous for its part in the East Coast vs West Coast feud. With Snoop signing to the label in 1992 and Tupac in 1995, Death Row became one of the most dominant forces in hip hop, with their signature G-funk sound garnering attention from every corner of the country.

However, after Shakur’s death in 1996 and the fallout with Suge Knight, by 1997, after the death of Biggie Smalls, Death Row became a dormant label, and Dr Dre went on to form Aftermath Entertainment alongside Jimmy Iovine under Interscope Records.

It was here that Dre started planning his comeback album 2001. But it wasn’t released in 2001, it was released in 1999, so it left many confused, asking the question, “why is it not called 1999?!” Well, in a conversation with Lil Wayne on his Young Money Radio podcast, Dre revealed why he named the album 2001.

Speaking on the name, he stated, “I think at that time, I wanted to call the album The Chronic 2000, right?” Dre said. “And my previous partners from Death Row, I heard that they were doing an album called The Chronic 2000. And it was actually Jimmy Iovine’s idea to call the album 2001.”

He continued, “I didn’t really give a f*ck”, Dre said. “I thought the music was great, I thought that everything we were doing was fantastic, and I just said, ‘Ok, f*ck it, what’s in the title? Let’s just call it 2001. It’s almost like a shot at them, they called it 2000, and I said, ‘Yeah, that’d be great 2001.”

So, Dre called the album 2001 because the name 2000 was already a working title for a Death Row album, the label with whom he had had a fallout. You can listen to the lead single of 2001 in the video below.