One of the most iconic rap albums of all time, [artist id="1061"]Dr. Dre's[/artist] 1992 solo debut, The Chronic, will be re-released on September 1. The digitally remastered version of the multiplatinum gangsta rap landmark, with such hits as "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang" and "Let Me Ride," will feature all 16 original songs and seven new tracks uncovered in the Death Row Records vaults, according to the label's new CEO.
"There's a couple of crown jewels on Death Row, one is The Chronic, the other is the entire Tupac collection and Snoop's camp, but Dre was the first artist released on Death Row and, in my view, the greatest hip-hop producer ever," said Lara Lavi, CEO of the Canadian company WIDEawake Entertainment, which purchased the storied California gangsta rap label's catalog in a bankruptcy auction last year for $18 million. "I think he's a genius, so we decided to honor Dr. Dre, honor the authentic O.G., and put out a digitally remastered album back to the original sound Dre intended."
Among the additional songs on an accompanying DVD are "Poor Young Dave," (featuring Snoop), "Slippin in the West" (featuring CPO and Kurupt), "Smoke Enough Bud" (featuring Jewell and Snoop), "Foo Nay Mic" (featuring CPO), "Dog Collar" (featuring Snoop, Lady V, KV, Big Pimpin, 6'9", Twin and Badass), "Touchdown" (featuring Snoop and Threat) and "Would You Ride" (featuring Kurupt, Amber, Tyrone, Daz and Snoop).
The bonus disc will also contain a 30-minute interview with Dre from 1997. In the interview, never before seen in its entirety, he discusses hip-hop and the music business. The album will also feature liner notes from one of Dre's longtime colleagues, filmmaker and producer Quincy Jones III.
Lavi said that part of the impetus behind the first effort from the re-launched label was a desire to update The Chronic after years of subpar versions of the album released as the label's catalog got handed around to various distributors, some of whom she said used poor-quality MP3s as source material. A companion DVD will feature a collection of the official videos released from the album and alternate versions, as well as a trailer for an upcoming movie titled "Saigon, CA," cut to some of the songs from The Chronic.
"It's about first-generation Vietnamese kids in Southern California during the Death Row era who are all listening to Death Row and are involved in black-market activity," Lavi explained.
In addition to the extras on the Chronic disc, she said there will also be a link to the new Death Row Web site, where six more songs from the vault will be available as well as information on a remix contest that will result in a promo-only vinyl album that will be serviced to club DJs.
Lavi said Dre has not been involved in any of the plans for the Chronic reissue, which she promised will be the first of four releases from the new Death Row this year. Among the other projects is a four-CD box set of previously released and some unreleased master recordings due out around Thanksgiving that will feature songs from late TLC member Left Eye, Danny Boy, Crooked I, the Outlawz and Tupac, as well as a Snoop collection called The Lost Sessions Volume 1," (October 13) and That was Then, This is Now, a compilation of old material and new songs from Danny Boy.
"Lots of fans of urban music are frustrated now with the Auto-Tuning and the predictable beats," Lavi said. "We think there's a thirst for the authentic O.G., the sound that made hip-hop great."
A spokesperson for Dr. Dre could not be reached at press time.