These days, the word “classic” is thrown around as loosely as a Nerf ball at a picnic. However, we at TRU consider classics to be something which stand the test of time and have a resounding influence on their respective fields. But how do albums considered classics sound to the ears of TRU’s young blood? Aaron J. McKrell was born in 1990 and we’ve convinced him to turn his scope on a classic from the rich history of hip-hop to view it through a contemporary lens in a weekly series we call…
The Chronic, number 14 in this series, was one I’ve been waiting to review for a while now. The main reason? I was waiting to give it multiple run-throughs on my Asus. Confession: I had never heard The Chronic in its entirety before reviewing. So, you can imagine my delight when I finally did.
Simply put, this album is awesome on all fronts. Although Dr. Dre is not revered as a stellar lyricist, he performs strongly on the mic on each and every track he’s on. His conviction when rhyming is enough to make me respect his hardcore boasts and threats- even though I have seen those World Class Wreckin’ Cru pictures. Yes, those pictures. It doesn’t matter. Although I’m usually a stickler for the be-true-to-your-rhymes shtick, I give a pass to The Chronic because it’s just so dope.
That’s what it is: the dopest hip-hop album I’ve ever heard. Not the best, but the dopest. There isn’t one weak track, and each funked-out cut is laced with drums thick as maple syrup and an eerie baselines. Dre also weaves well-placed samples through the music to make it richer. The result is a thundering thumper; this album is the definition of trunk music. If you have any doubt, just blast “Fuck Wit’ Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)” through your speakers and cruise around for a little while. Then thank me later.
As far as content goes, it, well, doesn’t go far. Aside from a few deep tracks- “The Day the N****z Took Over” and “Lil’ Ghetto Boy”- this album is primarily about sex, money and mayhem. Fortunately, sharp lyricism, strong guest appearances, and ear-grabbing production keep The Chronic fresh from start to finish. Most notably, Snoop Dogg appears on several tracks, and is the lyrical star of the show. His flavorful flow and effortless delivery sucked me into a ride through the grimy streets of Compton and Long Beach. A highlight of Dre and Snoop’s incredible chemistry is “Nuthin’ But a G Thang,” which is both smooth enough and hardcore enough to be one of the greatest crossover songs ever created.
My only beef with this album is the harsh lyrical assaults hurled at Eazy E. As Chris Rock said in his list of the 25 greatest hip-hop albums ever, it’s kind of hard to ride around listening to “Eazy E can eat a fat dick.” Of course, Eazy was alive and in in the midst of a beef with Dre when this album was recorded, so I don’t count it against the overall product.
It’s 2012. The Chronic is now 20 years old. But it sounds just as grimy and amazing today as I imagine it did when it came out in 1992. Scratch that. Amidst the hip-pop dominating the charts, it probably sounds even better. An undeniable masterpiece.
Classics Revisited: Gang Starr – Daily Operation
Classics Revisited: Main Source – Breaking Atoms
Classics Revisited: A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory
Classics Revisited: Geto Boys – We Can’t Be Stopped
Classics Revisited: Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth – Funky Technician
Classics Revisited: Ice Cube – Amerikkka’s Most Wanted
Classics Revisited: De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising
Classics Revisited: Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique
Classics Revisited: Slick Rick – The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick
Classics Revisited: Big Daddy Kane – Long Live The Kane
Classics Revisited: Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Classics Revisited: NWA – Straight Outta Compton
Classics Revisited: Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full