‘Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre’ is the first album from hip-hop legend Dr. Dre in 16 years and its arrival coincides with the release of the N.W.A. biopic. Now the critics have weighed in on the long-awaited album. Here’s a roundup of reviews.
It seemed almost mythic — and in fact, it was — until it happened. The album, long awaited, has arrived as the first from the legendary producer, DJ and mogul who has launched the careers of other legends, namely Snoop Dogg and Eminem. It is not the ‘Detox’ album that Dr. Dre first announced back in 2002, but a different album altogether.
It arrives in conjunction with the new biopic movie, ‘Straight Outta Compton.’ Taking its title from the brilliant debut album of the legendary hip-hop trio N.W.A. that it chronicles, it’s the story of that pioneering West Coast hip-hop group of which Dr. Dre was a member. Dr. Dre also serves as executive producer of the movie.
So many years have gone by since N.W.A. burst onto the scene in the last 1980s and were predominant as pioneers of hip-hop through the 1990s. Yes, so many years have gone by that when Ice Cube made a recent appearance on ‘The Tonight Show’ to promote the movie, he and host Jimmy Fallon did an amusing and yet telling skit ‘Things N.W.A. does not stand for,’ as nowadays, that middle word is routinely bleeped out on television.
But yes, we now have a new album from Dr. Dre, and arriving on Apple Music, it’s now been subject to a fast barrage of reviews. We can imagine reviewers rapidly getting to work to get their reviews online ironically under deadline. Yes, 16 years went by, but when the album was out, it was just suddenly out days after an official announcement that it would premiere exclusively on Apple Music.
And now, simultaneously with the critics the world at large is listening. And here’s a roundup of reviews.
“….Ever since “The Chronic,” it’s been clear that Dr. Dre’s real peers are film score composers — say, John Williams or James Horner — who communicate emotional direction with broad, legible strokes that set the tone for the details sprinkled atop. […] Mainly, though, what “Compton” shows is that Dr. Dre isn’t racked by self-doubt. He merely needs some kind of muse, something bigger than himself to believe in. In this case, the muse is both the city and the history on display in “Straight Outta Compton.”….” — New York Times
“… If you’re looking for the sorts of jaunty, addictive hooks found on Snoop Dogg joints Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang or The Next Episode, then you should probably put your expectations in check. Dre’s third effort has its standout tracks, sure, but like other albums with a conscience we’ve heard this year, he goes for something deeper and more cohesive with Compton (*** of four)…..” — USA Today
“….Presented on a platter through Apple Music, the company Dre says made him hip-hop’s first billionaire, it’s a shockingly strong album, a confident statement that upends expectations of a 50-year-old who’s spent more time over the past decade in board rooms and bulking up than releasing music. […] Compton feels liberated from past Dre iterations due to a sidestep. With the substantial contributions of producer/rapper/singer/drummer Anderson .Paak and rapping (and likely ghostwriting) from Kendrick Lamar, this is a new sound…..” – Complex
“….Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr Dre has been delayed for so long that even hardcore fans might have had doubts. But it’s a stunning comeback that cements the rapper’s place in history. […] What’s particularly impressive is how Dre, inspired by the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton, has captured the past of his hometown – The Game, Snoop, Cube, Cold 187um (of oft-overlooked legends Above the Law, whose debut album was produced by one Dr. Dre back in 1989) – and mixed it perfectly with the present. — The Guardian
You can see the official trailer for ‘Straight Outta Compton’ below. It’s clear that with a single album, officially his third solo album, Dr. Dre has reaffirmed his place in music history, and only time will tell, if it will be his last album. But thankfully we do have ‘Compton: a Soundtrack.’
Pictures: PR Photos