2001 (Dr. Dre album)
|Studio album by Dr. Dre|
|Released||November 16, 1999|
|Genre||West Coast hip hop, gangsta rap, G-funk|
|Producer||Dr. Dre (also exec.), Mel-Man, Lord Finesse|
|Dr. Dre chronology|
|Singles from 2001|
2001 (also referred to as The Chronic 2001) is the second studio album by American hip hop recording artist Dr. Dre, released on November 16, 1999, by Interscope Records. It is the follow-up to his debut album The Chronic (1992). It was produced primarily by Dr. Dre and Mel-Man, as well as Lord Finesse, and features several guest contributions from fellow American rappers such as Hittman, Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Xzibit, Nate Dogg, and Eminem. 2001 exhibits an expansion on his debut's G-funk sound and contains gangsta rap themes such as violence, promiscuity, drug use, street gangs, and crime.
The album debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 516,000 copies in its first week. It produced three singles that attained chart success and has been certified sextuple platinum in sales by the RIAA after sales of six million copies in the United States. Despite mixed criticism toward its gangster-themed lyrics, 2001 received generally positive reviews from music critics. As of July 2013 the album has sold 7,664,000 copies in the United States.
In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Dre talked of his motivation to record the album and how he felt that he had to prove himself to fans and media again after doubts arose over his production and rapping ability. These doubts came from the fact that he had not released a solo studio album since The Chronic (1992). He stated:
For the last couple of years, there's been a lot of talk out on the streets about whether or not I can still hold my own, whether or not I'm still good at producing. That was the ultimate motivation for me. Magazines, word of mouth and rap tabloids were saying I didn't have it any more. What more do I need to do? How many platinum records have I made? O.K., here's the album – now what do you have to say?
The album was originally intended to be a mixtape; with tracks linked through interludes and turntable effects, but was then changed to be set up like a film. Dr. Dre stated, "Everything you hear is planned. It's a movie, with different varieties of situations. So you've got buildups, touching moments, aggressive moments. You've even got a 'Pause for Porno.' It's got everything that a movie needs." Speaking of how he did not record the album for club or radio play and that he planned the album simply for entertainment with comical aspects throughout, he commented "I'm not trying to send out any messages or anything with this record. I just basically do hard-core hip-hop and try to add a touch of dark comedy here and there. A lot of times the media just takes this and tries to make it into something else when it's all entertainment first. You shouldn't take it too seriously."
Some of the lyrics on the album used by Dre have been noted to be penned by several ghostwriters. Royce da 5'9" was rumored to be a ghostwriter on the album. He was noted for writing the last track, "The Message"; however, he is not credited by his legal name or alias in the liner notes. A track he recorded on the album, originally named "The Way I Be Pimpin'", was later retouched as "Xxplosive"; this version has Dr. Dre rapping penned verses by Royce and featured Royce's vocals on the chorus. Royce wrote several tracks such as "The Throne Is Mine" and "Stay In Your Place" which were later cut from the final track list. The tracks have been leaked later on several mixtapes, including Pretox.
The album's production expanded on that of The Chronic, with new, sparse beats and reduced use of samples which were prominent on his debut album. Co-producer Scott Storch talked of how Dr. Dre used his collaborators during recording sessions: "At the time, I saw Dr. Dre desperately needed something. He needed a fuel injection, and Dre utilized me as the nitrous oxide. He threw me into the mix, and I sort of tapped on a new flavor with my whole piano sound and the strings and orchestration. So I'd be on the keyboards, and Mike [Elizondo] was on the bass guitar, and Dre was on the drum machine." Josh Tyrangiel of Time has described the recording process which Dr. Dre employs, stating "Every Dre track begins the same way, with Dre behind a drum machine in a room full of trusted musicians. (They carry beepers. When he wants to work, they work.) He'll program a beat, then ask the musicians to play along; when Dre hears something he likes, he isolates the player and tells him how to refine the sound."
The album primarily featured co-production between Dr. Dre and Mel-Man and was generally well received by critics. Allmusic writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted that Dr. Dre had expanded on the G-funk beats on his previous album, The Chronic, and stated, "He's pushed himself hard, finding new variations in the formula by adding ominous strings, soulful vocals, and reggae, resulting in fairly interesting recontextualizations" and went on to say, "Sonically, this is first-rate, straight-up gangsta." Entertainment Weekly’s Tom Sinclair depicted it as "Chilly keyboard motifs gliding across gut-punching bass lines, strings and synths swooping in and out of the mix, naggingly familiar guitar licks providing visceral punctuation". NME described the production as "patented tectonic funk beats and mournful atmospherics". PopMatters praised the production, stating that "the hip-hop rhythms are catchy, sometimes in your face, sometimes subtle, but always a fine backdrop for the power of Dre's voice." Jon Pareles of The New York Times mentioned that the beats were "lean and immaculate, each one a pithy combination of beat, rap, melody and strategic silences". The album marked the beginning of Dr. Dre's collaboration with keyboardist Scott Storch, who had previously worked with The Roots and is credited as a co-writer on several of 2001's tracks, including the hit single "Still D.R.E.". Storch would later go on to become a successful producer in his own right, and has been credited as a co-producer with Dr. Dre on some of his productions since.
The lyrics on the album received criticism and created some controversy. They include many themes associated with gangsta rap, such as violence, promiscuity, street gangs, drive-by shootings, crime and drug usage. Stephen Thomas Erlewine said that the only subject matter on the album was "violence, drugs, pussy, bitches, dope, guns, and gangsters" and that these themes have become repetitive and unchanged in the last ten years. Critics noted that Dr. Dre had differed from his effort to "clean-up his act" which he tried to establish with his 1996 single, "Been There, Done That" from Dr. Dre Presents...The Aftermath. NME mentioned that the album was full of "pig-headed, punk-dicked, 'bitch'-dissing along with requisite dollops of ho-slapping violence, marijuana-addled bravado and penis-sucking wish fulfilment." Massey noted that the lyrics were overly explicit but praised his delivery and flow: "His rhymes are quick, his delivery laid back yet full of punch." The rhymes involve Dr. Dre's return to the forefront of hip hop, which is conveyed in the singles "Still D.R.E." and "Forgot About Dre". Many critics cited the last track, "The Message"; a song dedicated to Dr. Dre's deceased brother, as what the album could have been without the excessively explicit lyrics, with Massey calling it "downright beautiful" and "a classic of modern rap".
Three singles were released from the album: "Still D.R.E.", "Forgot About Dre" and "The Next Episode". Other tracks "Fuck You", "Let's Get High", "What's the Difference" and "Xxplosive" were not officially released as singles but received some radio airplay which resulted in them charting in the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. "Still D.R.E." was released as the lead single in October 1999. It peaked at number 93 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 32 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and reached number 11 on the Hot Rap Singles. It reached number six on the UK single charts in March 2000. The song was nominated at the 2000 Grammy Awards for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, but lost to The Roots and Erykah Badu's "You Got Me".
"Forgot About Dre" was released as the second single in 2000 and like the previous single, it was a hit on multiple charts. It reached number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 14 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and number 3 on the Rhythmic Top 40. It reached number seven on the UK single charts in June 2000. The accompanying music video won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Rap Video in 2000. The song won Dr. Dre and Eminem Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the 2001 Grammy Awards. "The Next Episode" was released as the third and final single in 2000. It peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 11 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and number 2 on the Rhythmic Top 40. It peaked at number three on UK single charts in February 2001. It was nominated at the 2001 Grammy Awards for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, but the award went to another single from the same album to Dr. Dre and Eminem for "Forgot about Dre".
The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 516,000 copies. It also entered at number one on Billboard 's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album was successful in Canada where it reached number two on the charts. The record was mildly successful in Europe, reaching number 4 in the UK, number 7 in Ireland, number 15 in France, number 17 in the Netherlands and number 26 in Norway. It peaked at number 11 on the New Zealand album chart. At the end of 2000, the album was number five on the Billboard Year-End Top Albums and number one on the Billboard Year-End Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It re-entered the charts in 2003, peaking on the UK Albums Top 75 at number 61 and on the Ireland Albums Top 75 at number 30. By October 2011, the album had sold 7.5 million copies in the United States, and it was certified 6x Platinum by the RIAA on November 21, 2000. It is Dr. Dre's best selling album, as his previous album, The Chronic, was certified 3x Platinum. As of July 3, 2013, the album has sold 7,664,000 copies in the US.
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
The album received generally positive reviews from music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic stated, "2001 isn't as consistent or striking as Slim Shady, but the music is always brimming with character." Entertainment Weekly's Tom Sinclair praised the production, calling it "uncharacteristically sparse sound" from Dr. Dre and that it was as "addictive as it was back when over 3 million record buyers got hooked on The Chronic and Snoop Dogg's Dre-produced Doggystyle" and went on to commend Dr. Dre, stating, "If any rap producer deserves the title "composer", it's he." NME mentioned that Dr. Dre didn't expand the genre, but it was "powerful enough in parts, but not clever enough to give Will Smith the fear". PopMatters writer Chris Massey declared that "Musically, 2001 is about as close to brilliant as any one gangsta rap album might possibly get." Christopher John Farley of Time stated that "The beats are fresh and involving, and Dre's collaborations with Eminem and Snoop Dogg have ferocity and wit." Although he was ambivalent towards the album's subject matter and guest rappers, Greg Tate of Spin was pleasantly surprised by "the most memorable MC'ing on this album com[ing] from Dre himself, Eminem notwithstanding" and stated, "Whatever one's opinion of the sexual politics and gun lust of Dre's canon, his ongoing commitment to formal excellence and sonic innovation in this art form may one day earn him a place next to George Clinton, if not Stevie Wonder, Duke Ellington, or Miles Davis."
In a negative review, Robert Christgau of The Village Voice panned Dr. Dre's misogynistic lyrics and stated, "It's a New Millennium, but he's Still S.L.I.M.E. ... For an hour, with time out for some memorable Eminem tracks, Dre degrades women every way he can think of, all of which involve his dick." Allmusic's Erlewine talked of how the number of guest rappers affected the album, and questioned his reasons for collaborating with "pedestrian rappers". He claimed that "the album suffers considerably as a result [of these collaborations]". Erlewine criticized the lyrics, which he said were repetitive and full of "gangsta clichés". Sinclair mentioned similar views of the lyrics, calling them "filthy", but noted "none of [this] should diminish Dre's achievement". NME spoke of how the lyrics were too explicit, stating, "As the graphic grooves stretch out, littered with gunfire, bombings and 'copters over Compton, and the bitch-beating baton is handed from Knock-Turnal to Kurupt, 2001 reaches gangsta-rap parody-level with too many tracks coming off like porno-Wu outtakes." Massey referred to the lyrics as a "caricature of an ethos [rather] than a reflection of any true prevailing beliefs."
In its March 2006 issue, Hip Hop Connection ranked 2001 number 10 on its list of the 100 Best Albums (1995–2005) in hip hop. In a 2007 issue, XXL gave the album a retrospective rating of "XXL", their maximum score. In Rolling Stone 's The Immortals – The Greatest Artists of All Time, where Dr. Dre was listed at number 54, Kanye West talked of how the track "Xxplosive" inspired him: "'Xxplosive', off 2001, that's [where] I got my entire sound from—if you listen to the track, it's got a soul beat, but it's done with those heavy Dre drums. Listen to 'This Can't Be Life,' a track I did for Jay-Z's Dynasty album, and then listen to 'Xxplosive'. It's a direct bite."
Credits adapted from liner notes.
|1.||"Lolo" (intro) (featuring Xzibit and Tray Dee)||0:40|
|2.||"The Watcher"||Andre Young, Marshall Mathers||3:26|
|3.||"Fuck You" (featuring Devin the Dude and Snoop Dogg)||Young, Brian Bailey, Calvin Broadus, Devin Copeland||3:25|
|4.||"Still D.R.E." (featuring Snoop Dogg)||Young, Melvin Bradford, Shawn Carter, Scott Storch||4:30|
|5.||"Big Ego's" (featuring Hittman)||Young, Bailey, Bradford, Storch, Tracy Curry, Richard Bembery||3:57|
|6.||"Xxplosive" (featuring Hittman, Kurupt, Nate Dogg and Six-Two)||Young, Bailey, Ricardo Brown, Craig Longmiles, Nathaniel Hale, Chris Taylor||3:35|
|7.||"What's the Difference" (featuring Eminem and Xzibit)||Bradford, Marshall Mathers, Bembery, Alvin Joiner, Stefan Harris||4:04|
|8.||"Bar One" (featuring Traci Nelson, Ms. Roq and Eddie Griffin)||0:51|
|9.||"Light Speed" (featuring Hittman)||Young, Bailey, Brown||2:40|
|10.||"Forgot About Dre" (featuring Eminem)||Young, Bradford, Mathers||3:42|
|11.||"The Next Episode" (featuring Snoop Dogg, Kurupt and Nate Dogg)||Young, Brown, Bailey, Bradford, Broadus||2:41|
|12.||"Let's Get High" (featuring Hittman, Kurupt and Ms. Roq)||Young, Bailey, Mathers, Brown, Racquel Weaver||2:27|
|13.||"Bitch Niggaz" (featuring Snoop Dogg, Hittman and Six-Two)||Bailey, Bradford, Broadus, Longmiles||4:13|
|14.||"The Car Bomb" (featuring Mel-Man and Charis Henry)||1:00|
|15.||"Murder Ink" (featuring Hittman and Ms. Roq)||Young, Bailey, Weaver||2:28|
|16.||"Ed-Ucation" (featuring Eddie Griffin)||1:32|
|17.||"Some L.A. Niggaz" (featuring DeFari, Xzibit, Knoc-Turn'al, Time Bomb, King T, MC Ren and Kokane)||Young, Bailey, Joiner, Duane Johnson, Royal Harbor, Marquese Holder, Roger McBride||4:25|
|18.||"Pause 4 Porno" (featuring Jake Steed)||Laylaw & Aaron Harris||1:32|
|19.||"Housewife" (featuring Kurupt and Hittman)||Young, Bailey, Bradford, Brown, Curry||4:02|
|20.||"Ackrite" (featuring Hittman)||Young, Bailey, Bradford||3:39|
|21.||"Bang Bang" (featuring Knoc-Turn'al and Hittman)||Young, Bailey, Mathers, Harbor||3:42|
|22.||"The Message" (featuring Mary J. Blige and Rell)||Ryan Montgomery||5:30|
- "Lolo (Intro)" contains samples of "Deep Note" by James A. Moorer.
- "Big Ego's" contains samples of "Theme from The Persuaders!" by John Barry and "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" by Rose Royce.
- "Xxplosive" contains samples of "Bumpy's Lament" by Isaac Hayes and interpolates "Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)" by Snoop Dogg.
- "What's the Difference" contains samples of "Parce Que Tu Crois" by Charles Aznavour.
- "Bar One (Skit)" contains samples of "Poundin'" by Cannonball Adderley.
- "Light Speed" contains samples of "I'm Still #1" by Boogie Down Productions.
- "Forgot About Dre" contains samples of "The Climb" by No Doubt and "Compton's in the House (Remix)" by N.W.A.
- "The Next Episode" contains replayed elements of "The Edge" by David McCallum.
- "Let's Get High" contains samples of "Backstrokin'" by The Fatback Band and "High" by Skyy.
- "Bitch Niggaz" contains samples of "Top Billin'" by Audio Two.
- "The Car Bomb (Skit)" contains samples of "Time Is Passing" by Sun.
- "Murder Ink" contains samples of "Halloween Theme" by John Carpenter.
- "Ed-Ucation (Skit)" contains samples of "Diamonds Are Forever" by Franck Pourcel.
- "Housewife" interpolates "Bitches Ain't Shit" by Dr. Dre and "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang.
- Additional Notes
- "The Watcher" contains additional vocals from "Eminem" and "Knoc-Turn'al"
- "What's The Difference" contains additional vocals from "Phish"
- "The Message" contains hidden vocals from Tommy Chong
- List of number-one R&B albums of 1999 (U.S.)
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- Billboard Year-End
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