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The Chronic
Studio album by Dr. Dre
Released December 15, 1992
Recorded June 1992
Death Row Studios
(Los Angeles, California)
Bernie Grundman Mastering
(Hollywood, California)
Genre Hip hop
Length 62:52
Label Death Row, Interscope
P1-50611
Producer Dr. Dre, Suge Knight (exec.)
Dr. Dre chronology
The Chronic
(1992)
2001
(1999)
Singles from The Chronic
  1. "Nuthin' but a "G" Thang"
    Released: January 19, 1993
  2. "Fuck wit Dre Day"
    Released: May 20, 1993
  3. "Let Me Ride"
    Released: September 13, 1993

The Chronic is the debut solo studio album of hip hop producer and rapper Dr. Dre, released December 15, 1992 on his former own label, Death Row Records, and distributed by Priority Records. Recording sessions for the album took place in June 1992 at Death Row Studios in Los Angeles, California and at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood, California. The album was named after a slang term for high-grade marijuana. The album cover is a homage to Zig-Zag rolling papers.[1] The Chronic was recorded by Dr. Dre following his departure from N.W.A and Ruthless Records over a financial dispute, and consequently featured both subtle and direct insults at Ruthless and its owner, former N.W.A group member, Eazy-E.

Upon release, The Chronic received generally positive reviews from music critics and earned considerable sales success. The album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 and has sold over three million copies,[2] which led to Dr. Dre becoming one of the top ten best-selling American performing artists of 1993.[3] Dr. Dre's production has been noted for founding and popularizing the G-funk sub-genre within gangsta rap. The Chronic has been widely regarded as one of the most important and influential albums of the 1990s and regarded by many fans and peers to be the most well-produced hip hop album of all time.[4][1][5] In 2003, the album was ranked number 137 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Contents

Music

Production

The production on The Chronic was seen as innovative and ground-breaking, and received universal acclaim from critics. Allmusic commented on Dr. Dre's efforts, "Here, Dre established his patented G-funk sound: fat, blunted Parliament-Funkadelic beats, soulful backing vocals, and live instruments in the rolling basslines and whiny synths"[4] and that "For the next four years, it was virtually impossible to hear mainstream hip-hop that wasn't affected in some way by Dre and his patented G-funk."[6] Unlike other hip hop acts (such as The Bomb Squad) that sampled heavily, Dr. Dre only utilized one or few samples per song.[7] In Rolling Stone's The Immortals - The Greatest Artists of All Time, where Dr. Dre was listed at number 54, Kanye West wrote on the album's production quality: "The Chronic is still the hip-hop equivalent to Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life. It's the benchmark you measure your album against if you're serious."[8]

Jon Pareles of the The New York Times described the production, writing "The bottom register is swampy synthesizer bass lines that openly emulate Parliament-Funkadelic; the upper end is often a lone keyboard line, whistling or blipping insouciantly. In between are wide-open spaces that hold just a rhythm guitar, sparse keyboard chords."[9] Pareles observed that the songs "were smoother and simpler than East Coast rap, and [Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg] decisively expanded the hip-hop audience into the suburbs.[10] Until this point, hip hop had been primarily party music (for example, Beastie Boys)[11] or angry and politically charged (for example, Public Enemy or X-Clan), and had consisted almost entirely of samples and breakbeats.[12][13] Dr. Dre ushered in a new musical style and lyrics for hip hop. The beats were slower and mellower, borrowing from late 1970s and early 1980s funk music. By mixing these early influences with original live instrumentation, he created a distinctive genre known as G-funk.[9]

Lyrics

The album's lyrics caused some controversy, as the subject matter included homophobia and violent representations. It was noted that the album was a "frightening amalgam of inner-city street gangs that includes misogynist sexual politics and violent revenge scenarios".[14] Dr. Dre's dissing of former band-mate, Eazy-E, resulted in vicious lyrics, which were mainly aimed at offending his enemy with homosexual implications, although it was noted to have "a spirited cleverness in the phrasing and rhymes; in other words, the song is offensive, but it's creatively offensive".[15]

Rapper Snoop Dogg, who had a significant role on the album, was praised for his lyrics and flow, and it was mentioned that "Coupled with his inventive rhymes, Snoop's distinctive style made him a superstar before he'd even released a recording of his own"[2] and that his involvement was as important to the album's success as its production.[16] Touré of the The New York Times remarks that "While Snoop delivers rhymes delicately, the content is anything but. Growing up poor, often surrounded by violence, and having served six months in the Wayside County jail outside of Los Angeles (for cocaine possession) gave Snoop Dogg experiences upon which he draws."[17] Snoop Dogg later commented on the "reality" of his lyrics, stating "My raps are incidents where either I saw it happen to one of my close homies or I know about it from just being in the ghetto. I can't rap about something I don't know. You'll never hear me rapping about no bachelor's degree. It's only what I know and that's that street life. It's all everyday life, reality."[17]

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Singles

Three singles were released from the album: "Nuthin' but a "G" Thang", "Fuck wit Dre Day" and "Let Me Ride". "Nuthin' but a "G" Thang" was released as the first single on January 19, 1993. It peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and Hot Rap Singles.[18] It sold over a million copies and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified it Platinum on March 24, 1993.[19] The song was nominated for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the 1994 Grammy Awards,[20] but lost to Digable Planets' "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)". Steve Huey of Allmusic named it "the archetypal G-funk single" and added "The sound, style, and performances of "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang" were like nothing else on the early-'90s hip-hop scene."[2] He praised Snoop Dogg's performance, stating "[Snoop Dogg's] flow was laconic and relaxed, massively confident and capable of rapid-fire tongue-twisters, but coolly laid-back and almost effortless at the same time".[2]. Today it is one of the most critically and commercially lauded hip-hop/rap songs of all time. It is rated the 134th best song of all time by Acclaimedmusic.net, and the sixth best hip-hop/rap song [21], and voted in a VH1 poll as the 13th best song of the 1990s.[22]

"Fuck wit Dre Day (and Everybody's Celebratin')" was released as the second single on May 20, 1993 and like the previous single, it was a hit on multiple charts. It reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and number six on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks.[18] It sold over 500,000 units and the RIAA certified it Gold on October 8, 1993.[19] Allmusic writer Steve Huey stated that the song was "a classic hip-hop single", citing Dr. Dre's production as "impeccable as ever, uniting his signature whiny synth melodies with a halting, descending bass line, a booming snare, and soulful female vocals in the background"[15] and alluded to Snoop Dogg, stating "Attitude was something Snoop had by the boatload, his drawling, laid-back delivery projecting unassailable control — it sounded lazy even though it wasn't, and that helped establish Snoop's don't-give-a-damn persona."[15] The track contains direct insults to rappers East coast rapper Tim Dog, 2 Live Crew member Luke, and Dre's former accomplice Eazy-E.

"Let Me Ride" was released as a cassette single on September 13, 1993.[23] It experienced moderate success on the charts, reaching number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number three on the Hot Rap Singles.[18] The song won Dr. Dre Best Rap Solo Performance at the 1994 Grammy Awards.[24] On this song and "Nuthin but a "G" Thang", Time magazine noted that Dr. Dre's verses were delivered with a "hypnotically intimidating ease" and made the songs feel like "dusk on a wide-open L.A. boulevard, full of possibility and menace".[25]

Reception

Commercial performance

The album has sold over four and half million copies in the United States and over eight million worldwide,[2][26] and was certified three times Platinum by RIAA on November 3, 1993.[27] It is Dr. Dre's second best selling album, as his follow-up album, 2001, was certified six times Platinum.[28] The album first appeared on music charts in 1993, peaking on the Billboard 200 at number three, and peaking on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums at number one.[29] The album's three singles became top ten Billboard singles.[30] "Nuthin' but a "G" Thang" peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and at number one on both the Hot Rap Singles and Hot R&B Singles charts.[30] "Fuck Wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin')" became a top ten single on four different charts, including the Hot R&B Singles (number 6) and the Hot 100 (number 8).[30] The Chronic re-entered the charts in 2003, peaking on the Ireland Albums Top 75 at number 48, and on the U.K. Albums Top 75 in 2004 at number 43.[31]

Critical response

 Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[4]
Blender 4/5 stars[32]
Robert Christgau (C+)[33]
Entertainment Weekly (A+)[34]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[35]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars 1993[14]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars 2004[36]
The Source 4.5/5 stars[37]
USA Today 3.5/4 stars[38]
Washington Post (favorable)[39]

Despite some negative criticism towards its lyrical themes, The Chronic initially received generally positive reviews from music critics. Rolling Stone's Havelock Nelson gave it 4 out of 5 stars and wrote "The Chronic drops raw realism and pays tribute to hip-hop virtuosity."[14] Entertainment Weekly gave it an A+ rating and wrote that the album "storms with rage, strolls with confidence, and reverberates with a social realism that's often ugly and horrifying".[34] The Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot gave the album 2 and a half out of 4 stars in a mixed review, stating "Dre combines street potency with thuggish stupidity".[40] The Village Voice's Robert Christgau gave it a C+ rating and called it "bad pop music".[33] While writing unfavorably of the album's lyrical content, Christgau commended Dr. Dre's production and sound, describing it as "bell-bottoms-and-Afros music, its spiritual source the blaxploitation soundtrack, and what it promises above all is boom times for third-rate flautists--sociopathic easy-listening".[33] USA Today gave it 3 and a half out of 4 stars and commended Dr. Dre for his performance, stating "Dre's prowess as beat-master and street preacher is undeniable".[38]

Retrospective reviews of the album were also positive. The New York Times writer Jon Pareles mentioned that The Chronic and Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle, "made the gangsta life sound like a party occasionally interrupted by gunplay".[10] Allmusic's Steve Huey compared Dr. Dre to his inspiration, George Clinton, stating "Dre's just as effortlessly funky, and he has a better feel for a hook, a knack that improbably landed gangsta rap on the pop charts".[4] Rhapsody writer Brolin Winning named the album as "an untouchable masterpiece of California Gangsta Rap" and that it had "track after track of G-Funk gems".[41] On Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, it was noted that "Dre funked up the rhymes with a smooth bass-heavy production style and the laid-back delivery of then-unknown rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg."[26] Time magazine's Josh Tyrangiel states that Dr. Dre created "a sound that defined early 90's urban L.A. in the same way that Motown defined 60's Detroit".[25] In a retrospective review, Rolling Stone gave it 5 out of 5 stars and praised Snoop Dogg's contributions and Dr. Dre's production, stating "His 1992 solo smash The Chronic features system-busting Funkadelic beats designed to rumble your woofer while the matter-of-fact violence of the lyrics blows your smoke-filled mind".[36]

Accolades

Comparison of Zig-Zag rolling papers with The Chronic album cover

In 1994, "Nuthin' but a "G" Thang" and "Let Me Ride" were nominated at the 36th Grammy Awards, with the latter winning Best Rap Solo Performance for Dr. Dre.[24] The Chronic was included in Vibe magazine's "100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century" and it was ranked at number six in their "Top 10 Rap Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone ranked it at number 137 on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[26] The record ranked at number eight in Spin magazine's "90 Greatest Albums of the '90s" and in 2005, it was ranked at number thirty-five in their "100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005". The Source magazine originally gave the album four and a half mics out of five[37] and it was added to The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums. It was later revealed that while everybody at the magazine knew it was an instant classic, the music editor at that time had a strict policy of staying away from a perfect rating.[42] In 2005, MTV Networks listed The Chronic as the third greatest hip hop album in history.[43] In 2006, Time magazine ranked it as one of the 100 greatest albums of all time[25] and it was listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[44] In a retrospective issue, XXL magazine awarded The Chronic a perfect "XXL" rating.[45]

Influence

Having split from N.W.A, Dr. Dre's first solo album established him as one of the biggest hip hop stars of his era.[1] Yahoo! Music writer S.L. Duff wrote of the album's impact on his status in hip hop at the time, stating "Dre's considerable reputation is based on this release, alongside his production technique on Snoop's Doggy Style and his early work with N.W.A. Whatever one thinks of the over-the-top bravado rapping, the tracks and beats Dre assembled are beyond reproach".[46] The Chronic brought G-funk to the mainstream—a genre defined by slow bass beats and melodic synthesizers, topped by P-Funk samples, female vocals, and a laconic, laid-back lyrical delivery referred to as a "lazy drawl". The album takes its name from a slang term for premium grade cannabis, Chronic. The album cover is a homage to Zig-Zag rolling papers.[1]

The album launched the careers of West Coast hip hop artists, including Snoop Doggy Dogg, Daz Dillinger, Kurupt, Nate Dogg, and Warren G, Dr. Dre's stepbrother—all of whom pursued successful commercial careers.[1] The Chronic is widely regarded as the album that re-defined West Coast hip hop,[4] demonstrated gangsta rap's commercial potential as a multi-platinum commodity, and established G-funk as the most popular sound in hip hop music for several years after its release, with Dr. Dre producing major albums that drew heavily on his production style.[6] The album's success established Death Row Records as a dominant force in 1990s hip hop.[6] It has been re-released 3 times, first as a remastered CD, then as a remastered DualDisc with enhanced stereo and four videos, and in 2009 as "The Chronic Re-Lit" with a bonus DVD containing a 30 minute interview and 7 unreleased tracks.[4] The singles "Fuck wit Dre Day" and "Nuthin' but a "G" Thang" are in best-selling video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas[47][48] on the fictional radio station Radio Los Santos.[49] The senior Vice President of Death Row Records, John Payne, recently came out to say that the album would be re-issued as The Chronic Relit.[50] Payne stated "It will be remastered with a couple more songs that were done at that same time as well as a lot of footage and artwork. We’re remastering it so that it works with today’s technology, but we’re not changing the mixes or doing anything like that."[50]

Track listing

# Title Performer(s) Samples[51] Length
1 "The Chronic" [Intro] Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg (who does the dialog) 1:57
2 "Fuck Wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin')" Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Jewell, RBX 4:52
3 "Let Me Ride" Dr. Dre, Jewell, Ruben
background vocals by Snoop Dogg
4:21
4 "The Day the Niggas Took Over" Dr. Dre, Dat Nigga Daz (for first time ever), RBX, Snoop Dogg 4:33
5 "Nuthin' but a "G" Thang" Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg 3:58
6 "Deeez Nuuuts" Dr. Dre, Dat Nigga Daz, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg (for first time ever), Warren G 5:06
7 "Lil' Ghetto Boy" Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Dat Nigga Daz (singing in vocals) 5:27
8 "A Nigga Witta Gun" Dr. Dre
background vocals by Snoop Dogg
3:28
9 "Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat" Dr. Dre
background vocals by RBX, Snoop Dogg
3:48
10 "The $20 Sack Pyramid" (Skit) Big Tittie Nickie, The D.O.C., Samara, Snoop Dogg 2:53
11 "Lyrical Gangbang" Kurupt, The Lady of Rage, RBX 4:04
12 "High Powered" Dr. Dre (intro), RBX, The Lady of Rage, Dat Nigga Daz 2:44
13 "The Doctor's Office" (Skit) Jewell, The Lady of Rage 1:04
14 "Stranded on Death Row" Bushwick Bill, Kurupt, The Lady of Rage, RBX, Snoop Dogg 4:47
15 "The Roach" [The Chronic Outro] RBX, Dat Nigga Daz, Emmage, Jewell, the Lady of Rage 4:36
16* "Bitches Ain't Shit" Dr. Dre, Dat Nigga Daz, Kurupt, Snoop Dogg, Jewell, The Lady of Rage 4:48

Chart history

Charts[29][31] Peak
position
Ireland Albums Top 75 48
U.K. Albums Top 75 43
U.S. Billboard 200 3
U.S. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 1

Personnel

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e Dr. Dre The Chronic Album Info. RapCentral. Accessed March 5, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e Steve Huey. "Nuthin' But a "G" Thang" Review. Allmusic. Accessed March 6, 2008.
  3. ^ Stephen Holden (January 12, 1994). The Pop Life. The New York Times. Accessed March 24, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Huey, Steve. Review: The Chronic. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-08-12.
  5. ^ Timeline: 25 years of rap records BBC News (October 11, 2004). Accessed April 8, 2008.
  6. ^ a b c Stephen Thomas Erlewine. Dr. Dre > Biography. Allmusic. Accessed March 5, 2008.
  7. ^ Ethan Brown, (2005). Straight Outta Hollis, Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the Rise of the Hip Hop Hustler. Anchor. ISBN 1400095239. "[Unlike] popular hip-hop producers like the Bomb Squad, Dre instead utilized a single sample to drive a song."
  8. ^ Kanye West (April 7, 2005). The Immortals - The Greatest Artists of All Time. Rolling Stone. Accessed March 9, 2008.
  9. ^ a b Jon Pareles (November 14, 1999). Music; Still Tough, Still Authentic. Still Relevant?. The New York Times. Accessed March 18, 2008.
  10. ^ a b Jon Pareles (July 11, 2000). Rap Review; Four Hours Of Swagger From Dr. Dre And Friends. The New York Times. Accessed March 18, 2008.
  11. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. Beastie Boys > Biography. Allmusic. Accessed April 6, 2008.
  12. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. Public Enemy > Biography. Allmusic. Accessed April 6, 2008.
  13. ^ Andy Kellman. X Clan Biography. Allmusic. Accessed April 6, 2008.
  14. ^ a b c Nelson, Havelock. Review: The Chronic. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2009-08-12.
  15. ^ a b c Steve Huey. "Fuck Wit Dre Day" Review. Allmusic. Accessed March 6, 2008.
  16. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. Snoop Dogg > Biography. Allmusic. Accessed March 7, 2008.
  17. ^ a b Touré (November 21, 1993). Pop Music; Snoop Dogg's Gentle Hip-Hop Growl. The New York Times. Accessed March 18, 2008.
  18. ^ a b c The Chronic - Billboard Singles. Allmusic. Accessed March 6, 2008.
  19. ^ a b RIAA Searchable database - Dr. Dre Singles. RIAA. Accessed March 7, 2008.
  20. ^ Dr. Dre Timeline. Rock on the Net. Accessed March 22, 2008.
  21. ^ www.acclaimedmusic.net
  22. ^ http://www.vh1.com/shows/dyn/the_greatest/127759/episode_featured_copy.jhtml
  23. ^ Dr. Dre | Let Me Ride (Dirty Cassette Single) | Album. MTV. Accessed April 7, 2008.
  24. ^ a b Grammy Searchable database - Dr. Dre. Grammy. Accessed March 4, 2008.
  25. ^ a b c Josh Tyrangiel (November 13, 2006). The All-Time 100 Albums. Time. Accessed March 4, 2008.
  26. ^ a b c 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Rolling Stone (November 1, 2003). Accessed March 4, 2008.
  27. ^ RIAA Searchable database - The Chronic. RIAA. Accessed March 4, 2008.
  28. ^ RIAA Searchable database - 2001. RIAA. Accessed March 4, 2008.
  29. ^ a b Dr. Dre - Discography, Charts and Awards. Allmusic. Accessed March 4, 2008.
  30. ^ a b c Billboard Singles: The Chronic. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-08-12.
  31. ^ a b Dr. Dre - The Chronic Chart Positions. aCharts. Accessed March 4, 2008.
  32. ^ Pappademas, Alex. Review: The Chronic. Blender. Retrieved on 2009-08-12.
  33. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert. "Review: The Chronic". The Village Voice: March 1, 1994. Archived from the original on 2009-08-12.
  34. ^ a b Columnist. "Review: The Chronic". Entertainment Weekly: 54. January 8, 1993.
  35. ^ Gold, Jonathan. Review: The Chronic. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2009-08-12.
  36. ^ a b Hoard, Christian. "Review: The Chronic". Rolling Stone: 249. November 2, 2004.
  37. ^ a b The Mind Squad (Matty C). "Review: The Chronic". The Source: 55. February 1993. Archived from the original on 2009-08-12.
  38. ^ a b Gundersen, Edna. "Review: The Chronic". USA Today: 04.D. March 2, 1993.
  39. ^ Griffin, Gil. "Review: The Chronic". The Washington Post: N.15. February 19, 1993.
  40. ^ Kot, Greg. "Review: The Chronic". Chicago Tribune: 7. January 14, 1993.
  41. ^ Brolin Winning. About Dr. Dre. Rhapsody. Accessed March 9, 2008.
  42. ^ Reginald C. Dennis Death Of a Dynasty. HipHopdx.com
  43. ^ The Greatest Hip-Hop Albums Of All Time. MTV Networks. Accessed March 4, 2008.
  44. ^ 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Rocklistmusic. Accessed March 5, 2008.
  45. ^ Columnist. "Retrospective: XXL Albums". XXL: December 2007.
  46. ^ Duff, S.L. Review: The Chronic. Yahoo! Music. Retrieved on 2009-08-12.
  47. ^ GTA: San Andreas toasts success. BBC News (November 4, 2005). Accessed March 28, 2008.
  48. ^ Jonathan Sidener (September 25, 2007). Microsoft pins Xbox 360 hopes on 'Halo 3' sales. SignOnSanDiego. Accessed March 28, 2008.
  49. ^ Spence D. (October 27, 2004). Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - Radio Los Santos. IGN. Accessed March 28, 2008.
  50. ^ a b Death Row To Re-Release “The Chronic”. HipHopDX. Accessed May 16, 2009.
  51. ^ The Chronic: Credits. RapBasement.com. Retrieved on 2009-04-16.

References

External links








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