After seven years away, reclusive superstar rap producer Dr. Dre said
he plans to break his silence as a solo artist with the release of his
sophomore album this June.
"I'm working on my next album right now," Dre (born Andre Young) said
recently while laying down tracks in an L.A. studio. "I'm trying to go
for a June release. It's called The Chronic 2000 (Still Smokin')."
He said the album -- his first solo disc since 1992's multiplatinum
The Chronic -- is slated to feature at least two or three tracks
with his former protégé Snoop Dogg (born Calvin Broadus). It was with
Snoop that Dre recorded some of the most enduring gangsta rap/funk
tracks of the decade, including such songs as their signature hit "Nothin' But a 'G' Thang."
Following his departure from trailblazing gangsta rap group N.W.A in
1992, Dre helped co-found the wildly successful gangsta rap label
Death Row Records. Dre pioneered the G-funk sound -- a mixture of
gangsta rap lyrics and old-school funk samples -- on his solo debut,
The Chronic, helping to establish Death Row as a powerhouse in
the hip-hop world.
After splitting with the label in 1996, Dre formed his own label,
Aftermath Records, the same year and released the poorly received 1997
sampler entitled Dr. Dre Presents ... The Aftermath.
With the exception of that album, Dre has kept a low profile with his
work in producing and rapping since 1992. Besides sitting behind the
boards on Snoop Dogg's first album, Doggystyle, he has made only
sporadic cameos, including a duet with Ice Cube on 1994's "Natural Born
Killaz," and with Tupac Shakur on 1996's hit single "California Love."
Now that he has resurfaced onto the rap scene, Dre is bringing along
some support from those he has worked with in the past as well as some
newer hip-hop friends.
"Snoop will be on there, of course and I think [former N.W.A partner
Ice] Cube will probably do something," Dre said. "And a new guy named
Hit Man, Kurupt and of course Slim Shady," he added, referring to his
latest MC find, rapper Eminem (born Marshall Mathers).
With the single "My Name Is" (RealAudio excerpt)
from his soon-to-be-released major-label debut, Slim Shady LP
(Feb. 23), beginning to gain steam, Eminem said being involved with
Dre's album was an unexpected coup.
"It's real exciting," said the rapper, whose debut features a handful
of Dre-produced tracks. "Just to even partake in it. I won't lie,
that's like a dream come true type of sh--."
Following Dre's lead, Eminem said he was not yet at liberty to discuss
the names of the Chronic 2000 tracks on which he is slated to
As for the expected comparisons between himself and ex-Dre mate Snoop
Dogg, Eminem said he understands the connection and promised not to
let Dre down.
"I can see the comparison," Eminem said. "I won't disappoint [Dre]. I
may offend people, but I won't disappoint them."