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
"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
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
"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.