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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Derrick crowns Dre the king of beats, funk

I was watching videos on BET earlier today, and of course I noticed something. When Eric B. and Rakim made videos, most of us watched what The R did in the video as opposed to Eric B. When NWA made videos we saw Dre in the video because he was a full-fledged member of the immediate group. There was great production in these and many other old school instances, but the question was always, 'Who's that rhyming'? These days the question is, 'Who's beat is that'? How many times has Bubba Sparxxx been referred to as 'That white dude with Timbaland'? I remember once referring to Philly's Most Wanted as 'those scrubs with all those Neptunes beats.' In recent years, an artist's supposed worth can be gauged by the number of popular producers employed in the recording of said artist's album. I remember when Marley Marl was tight because of all the talent around him. There are now people getting by with no one truly examining their abilities because they have the right friends or business associates. Mac 10 sounds soooooo much better over Mannie's beats than he has over anyone else's. Don't get me wrong. Timbo made a good choice with that country boy, but when did hip hop become so producer driven? Let's See?? 




Before the '90s started, there were some well-known producers. There was of course Prince Paul, Marley Marl, The Bomb Squad, Dre and Yella, Sir Jinx and Mr. Todd Shaw's crew among others. The popularity of these people resulted from the fact that they could gather the best artists in one place to create music. I even fail to remember the producers of such heavyweights as Ice T and the Fat Boys'pardon the pun. Going into the early '90s the situation remained basically the same. The Bomb Squad kept cranking out beats (PE, Cube); so did Dre&Yella, Dangerous Music and others like newcomer DJ Premier.  




Around 1992 everything changed though. A company named Deathrow Records was formed. This company would undoubtedly be the most incredibly talented group of artists hip hop has ever seen. There were hungry emcees (Snoop, Kurupt, Daz, Mr. Malik) with an old great to guide them (The D.O.C.), and there was a fierce businessman (Suge Night) to head up the company. The one thing that drove the success of Deathrow Records, though, drives the success of many hip hop empires today' The Beat. It is the rhythm behind the great voices at the old Deathrow that initially drew ears. When The Chronic came out, everything changed'everything.  




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No one person had ever created such a creatively original album that changed music as we know while focusing and directing such a great amount of untamed talent. You would think that no one person could rise above that great group of talent and shine so brightly, even though it was his album. You would think that no one person had the ability to make such a beautiful piece of music with such a rough, for many, frightening edge. You would think, 'Dre might need to reconsider this 'I'm leaving Eazy' thing; he ain't no Cube.' This was different than Straight Outta Compton, EFIL4AGGIN, and any other work from N.W.A., though. This was different than anything we had ever seen. This wasn't Dre using the guitars he made his signature with N.W.A, and this wasn't Dre smoothed out like The W.C.W.C. This was Dre using funk like no one had ever done. This was Dre reinventing the art of sampling, for a second time (and not his last). This was Dre being so creative with the funk that years later you would see George Clinton, Roger and Zapp, Charlie Wilson, and others come back to help those who helped us never to forget the music. Eric Sermon was doing wonders with the funk over in N.Y., but he had and still has nothing on Dre.  




After the summer of Dre in 1992, the producer was no longer anonymous. Many people accredit the success of all of the Deathrow products to Dre's artistic guidance. If he were even responsible for half, with the D.O.C. responsible for the other half, that would be incredible. Maybe Dre's even partially responsible for Red Hot Lover Tone to come to his senses, stop rhyming, and become half of the Trackmasters. We should all thank Dre for helping to raise Mannie Fresh, Timbaland, Daz, Battlecat, Melman, Alchemist and so many others into the fine producers we know now. 




Let's not all get mad at Dre for some of the negative results of the renaissance he started, though. Puff and JD should NEVER rhyme. Respect to Puff for keeping great producers (Hitmen, Mario Winans, Chucky Thompson, etc.) no matter what, and respect to JD for being one of the great producers no matter what. How is it the JD can keep such a successful record for having successful rap acts'his beats. Why do you act like you hate Puff but dance to his songs'the beats. Why does Philly's Most Wanted sell'the beats. Why are all of these producers getting their just due now'the beats. Who started it all'?Dre. Things just ain't the same for gangstas.  
























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