Dr Dre begins this album, the much-anticipated Chronic sequel, as The Watcher. He’s an “OG” who’s grown tired of the gangster lifestyle, so now, instead of running the streets and causing mayhem, he just sits back and observes others. He also raps not only better than Dre ever could but almost to the point of lyrical flawlessness. That’s because it was Eminem, not Dre, who wrote the lyrics for the song.
As the most popular rapper on the album, Eminem is like the new and improved Snoop while old Snoop, Daz, Kurupt, and Nate Dogg continue to do their thing. It wouldn’t be a Chronic without them. That’s almost literally the case considering the fact that they’re the only guests to be featured on both albums. Everyone else is new to the set and Eminem is the obvious best, so the two best songs are the two he’s on.
Elsewhere it’s up to Dre and his beats, composed with co-producer Mel-Man, to keep the song quality levels high. That they do with ride-rattling precision. It’s modern-day, sometimes futuristic, “gangsta” music with deep basslines, dominant kicks, snazzy snares and not a whole lot else. Less seems to be more here in contrast to the abundance of familiar instrumentals laced with the Chronic of 1992.
That it is conceptually limiting, thus rather silly, to name the album after the year 2001, especially when it’s released for 2000 and Snoop Dogg can be heard saying it’s Still 1999, is the one major flaw on a sequel that otherwise manages to outdo its predecessor. This is the better Chronic. If rap’s easily-influenced fanbase agrees, that means another career high for Dr Dre in the new millennium.
my rating : 4 of 5