Weekly updates:

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Weekly updates

When news of a new Dr. Dre album hit last week, it’s fair to say their was a lot of excitement in between the usual ‘But where’s Detox?’ comments. Before it debuts as a stream on Apple Music tomorrow, I’m going to attempt to predict what it might possibly sound like, on some Johnny Carson holding the envelope to the dome type shit, because I’m a glutton for punishment.

Since Andre Young is now wealthy beyond his wildest dreams, thanks to the overwhelming success of the Beats By Dre brand and partnership with Apple, he could actually buy all of Compton at this point instead of dedicating music to his old hometown. He’s no longer constrained by the traditional market demands of needing to sell a lot of albums in order to make ends meet, so in theory he doesn’t have to worry about having a radio hit or pandering to any current musical trends in order to hedge his bets. That’s not to say that he shouldn’t care—ego and professional pride don’t evaporate simply because you can now swim in a pool full of money like Scrooge McDuck—but it’s fair to say that he can afford to take some creative risks.

Studying the track listing for Compton, however, doesn’t exactly fill me with a great deal of confidence. The line-up of featured artists reads like a combination of old Aftermath castaway songs combined with testing-ground for his latest signees, with a sprinkling of old timey rap family reunions thrown in for good measure. Then again, the entire cast of The Chronic were basically unknowns when it came out, so maybe it’s not a bad thing at all. Since Dr. Dre is the closest thing hip-hop has to Quincy Jones at this point (sorry, QD III doesn’t count), he’s previously proven that his real talent is assembling other talented people to make him sound good. Let’s examine the starting line-up, shall we?

Anderson .Paak: According to his bio, “L.A.’s most amazing young vocalist/drummer Anderson .Paak is presented through a contemporary rock/alt/hip-hop/R&B song-sculpting lens to create the next genre and sound. With a dynamic vocal range to pave the way for things to come from this uprising talent.” aka “this is good music to smoke weed to.”

Marsha Ambrosius: She was originally in Floetry before going solo and later signing to Aftermath. She left the label before she released Friends & Lovers in 2014, but it still featured a Dr.Dre co-produced leftover from the sessions that combined a classic Sade song with Jeru The Damaja’s ‘Come Clean’ beat and a rap from the doc.

Justus: Google told me that he was the fourth Archbishop of Canterbury, a German rapper and a Cleveland-based female rapper before I found the correct match. Turns out he’s a 23-year-old white guy from Garland, Texas who was discovered by The D.O.C. back when he was called JT and is now signed to the ‘Math. All I can tell you about this guy is that he really likes taking pictures of paintings for his new boss. Let’s hope white lightning can strike twice for Andre.

Asia Bryant: The struggle is strong with this one. Released an album called Christmas In Asiaville in 2012 and claims that she was nominated for a Grammy on her Twitter profile but my fact-checking team haven’t gotten back for the pub. The fact that she’s on a song with The Game indicates that this might be a Detox reject.

Jon Connor: This dude’s been around for a while, but I just hoped someone warned him that only five of the 23 acts once signed to Aftermath actually put an album out through the label. Can we get the Long Island Medium to investigate if there’s a curse up in there?

King Mez: According to a profile written about this J. Cole weed carrier, ‘he was born on the exact day that Nas’s Illmatic debut came out.’ Guess we better rethink those Top Five Dead Or Alive MC lists, asap.

BJ The Chicago Kid: Pause.

Candice Pillay: A singer with a fondness for bunts, flannel shirts and dudes with top-knots, so her and Dre are like two peas in a pod. Currently has her album available for free download on her website. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, Jerry.

It’s looks like there’s an awful lot of ‘sanging’ involved, with ten of the sixteen tracks featuring some non-rapping personnel. Will this be Dre’s attempt to get all grown and sexy? Or does he have a more melodramatic sound planned on some concept album tip?

Predictably, Dre’s old buddies Ice Cube, Snoop, Kendrick and Eminem all appear to ensure to bulk up the guest list, so the only real question is will Dr. Dre and his many minions be able to redefine the sound of rap as effectively as he did with his first two albums? Let’s hope so. I’m assuming the worst, of course, but if you go into these things with lowered expectations then there’s no risk of being let down. Stay tuned for a proper review where I’ll be forced to eat my words and/or gloat that I was right. I’m good, either way.

Keep up with Robbie’s weekly ‘No Country for Old (Rap) Men’ here.