Dr. Dre 2001

Since Dr. Dre left then gangsta rap juggernaut Death Row a few years ago, it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the highly regarded producer. His Aftermath imprint released a mediocre compilation of signees to the label from whom full-lengths have yet to materialise. One of these artists is now enjoying success as Eve, of the Ruff Ryders clique. He also botched the overseeing of the Firm debacle that included Nas, Foxy Brown and Az. And to add insult to injury, Death Row stole the original title of this album for an inferior collection of unreleased material. However, his discovery of Eminem and subsequent success with the shock-value rhymer has apparently rejuvenated Dr. Dre, as 2001 represents a blazing return to form. His production here is highly refined and outstanding during the first half and lyrically Dre reminisces on his longevity and asserts his continuing relevance. Make no mistake though — there are more misogynist rants than you can shake a stick at. These are primarily brought in by the extensive list of lyrical contributors, which includes Snoop Dogg, Xzibit and Eminem, whose appearances on prime cuts “What’s The Difference” and “Forgot About Dre” are exhilaratingly deranged even by his standards. Although Dre gives his guests too much rope, his production and his personally reflective approach — poignantly evident on “The Message” — signals he’s back in control behind the boards. (Aftermath)