Dr. Dre Returns To Radio With Snoop Dogg's Help

'Still D.R.E.' is first single from producer/rapper's upcoming The Chronic 2001.

Dr. Dre fans are getting a taste of the influential rapper and producer's

new sound with "Still D.R.E.," a song that debuted on hip-hop radio earlier

this month.

"Still D.R.E.," which is receiving a healthy amount of airplay in major

markets, is the first track to be heard from The Chronic 2001,

the long-awaited follow-up to The Chronic (1992). On it, Dr. Dre

continues to explore a sound he introduced on recent productions for

Snoop Dogg and Eminem.

"Dre has a very distinct sound," said Robert Scorpio, program director

for KBXX-FM in Houston, where the song is in heavy rotation, getting

around 20 plays a week. "You can tell a lot of creative thought was put

into it. Hip-hop tracks [in general] have gotten really boring in that

nobody's original anymore."

The single finds Dr. Dre — who became famous for his production work with

seminal gangsta-rap group N.W.A — and his protégé Snoop Dogg,

casually trading rhymes about their return to the rap scene. On The Chronic,

Dr. Dre introduced Snoop Dogg, then known as Snoop Doggy Dogg, to the

world, on songs such as "Wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin')" (RealAudio

excerpt) and "Nothin' But a 'G' Thang" (RealAudio

excerpt). The album is regarded as a hip-hop classic for its

laid-back use of live keyboards and George Clinton samples.

"Still D.R.E." uses a heavy, midtempo drumbeat and a loop that combines

piano with what sounds like either ukulele or mandolin. Dr. Dre, in a

tough voice, shouts, "Dr. Dre is the name/ I'm ahead of my game." Later,

he announces, "I'm taking my time to perfect my beat/ And I still got

love for the street."

Snoop fills out the beat with a near-psychedelic voice — laconic

and musical — on his verses.

Earlier this year, Dr. Dre (born Andre Young) used guitar as an element

of his productions of Eminem's "Role Model" and Snoop Dogg's "Buck 'Em."

He applied a fright-night piano loop to Eminem's "Guilty Conscience."

Less apparent in Dr. Dre's recent productions are the often-emulated

chiming keyboard loops of The Chronic and Snoop Dogg's 1993 album

Doggystyle, also produced by Dr. Dre.

Glenn Aure, music director for KMEL-FM in San Francisco, said he sees

the song as an advertisement for The Chronic 2001, which is due

Nov. 2. The station began playing the song four weeks ago and is playing

it 25 times a week, he said.

"Lyrically, it's not [as strong as] Juvenile's 'Back That Azz Up,' "

Aure said. "But this is to tell people to be on the lookout, and people

are checking it."

In May, Snoop Dogg said he was thrilled to be working again with his

original mentor. Snoop Dogg is now signed to Master P's No Limit Records.

"Working with Dr. Dre was like basically being more of a student," said

the 27-year-old Snoop Dogg (born Calvin Broadus), whose recent No

Limit Top Dogg includes three Dr. Dre productions.

"It was a matter of getting some sh-- from Dre that I didn't have that

would best represent him and would best represent me over his music, and

me saying the right sh-- and he directing me on what to say and how to

say it. ... The chemistry is there — always."

A spokesperson for Dr. Dre said he is still working on the album and has

not decided which tracks, beyond "Still D.R.E.," will make the cut. But

according to promotional material sent to retailers this month by

Interscope Records, The Chronic 2001 is slated to include: "Intro,"

"Watcher," "F*** You," "Still D.R.E.," "Big Egos," "Xxplosive," "The

Difference," "Light Speed," "Forget About Dre," "Next Episode," "Ice

Breaker," "Bitch Niggaz," "Murder Ink," "Some L.A. Niggaz," "Bang Bang,"

"Ackrite," "Housewife" and "The Message."

Aure said friends of his who worked in the studio with Dre told him the

rapper recorded more than 100 songs.

Dr. Dre produced the album with Mel-Man, according to the label's

promotional material.

In addition to Snoop Dogg, The Chronic 2001 welcomes back rappers

Kurupt and RBX, each of whom appeared on The Chronic. New to the

Dr. Dre fold are Los Angeles rappers Xzibit and Defari as well as Eminem, the

24-year-old Detroit native and former underground stalwart who struck

platinum this year with The Slim Shady LP.

Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Xzibit, along with Dre's half-brother

Warren G, performed Sunday in Oahu, Hawaii, as part of a weekend-long

event dubbed the Concert on Chronic Island. The event was primarily for

radio programmers and radio-station contest winners, according to Dianna

Obermeyer, director of promotions and marketing for Los Angeles' KPWR-FM,

which sponsored the event.

Dorsey Fuller, music director for KKBT-FM in Los Angeles, said he expects

the song, the album and Dr. Dre's new collaborations to explode in the

coming months.

"It seems like the West [Coast] is having a resurgence," he said. "These

guys, they are the ones that initiated that whole situation. It's fitting

for them to bring it back."

Interscope has not decided whether to release "Still D.R.E." as a

commercial single, according to a label spokesperson who asked not to be

identified. So far, 29 U.S. stations have played the song, and 19 added

it last week, as reported by trade magazine Radio & Records.