Mu­sic Re­view: Dr. Dre’s ‘Comp­ton’ feels clas­sic

The China Post - - ARTS - BY ME­LANIE J. SIMS

Dr. Dre’s new al­bum “Comp­ton” doesn’t just un­fold, it charges for­ward — a bar­rel­ing mass of re­lent­less beats and lyri­cal strong-arm­ing that amounts to much more than any­one could have ex­pected from a hip-hop leg­end whose last solo al­bum hit shelves in 1999.

He might be mil­lions of dol­lars richer and sev­eral decades re­moved from the life that inspired the up­com­ing N.W.A. biopic, “Straight Outta Comp­ton,” but Dre has not lost his edge, nor has he lost his touch.

“Mur­der this, mur­der lis­ten, hit a sub­ur­ban whip­pin’,” Dre spits on “Geno­cide.” “Tinted win­dows, (gun sound) right at your wifey, and I bet you miss her.”

The man can still rap. Fel­low vet­er­ans Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg de­liver per­haps their hard­est verses in re­cent mem­ory on “Is­sues” and “One Shot, One Kill,” re­spec­tively. But Dre’s out­stand­ing pro­duc­tion — with help from Dem Jointz, DJ Dahi, Fo­cus. and more — is what makes “Comp- ton” en­thralling. Verses from Ken­drick La­mar and new­comer King Mez also shake things up.

“Once upon a time, I shot a (per­son) on ac­ci­dent. I tried to kill him but I guess I needed more prac­tic­ing. That’s when I re­al­ized bang­ing wasn’t for ev­ery­body,” La­mar rhymes on “Deep Wa­ter,” which be­gins with the gut-wrench­ing sounds of a man splash­ing, and gasp­ing for air.

“Loose Can­nons” is son­i­cally bananas, with its shift­ing sound beds, which tran­si­tion seam­lessly be­tween rolling drums, heavy me­tal-inspired strings and more, while Xz­ibit, Cold 187um and Sly Pyper take turns on vo­cals. The song con­cludes with a chill­ing skit that ends with a woman be­ing shot then buried.

Per­haps the al­bum’s most shock­ing line comes by way of Eminem on the oth­er­wise clever “Medicine Man.” In a rapid fire verse about dis­miss­ing con­se­quences and mur­der­ing rap­pers on ev­ery Dre-pro­vided beat, Em spouts off about rap­ing b-words who en­joy it — a poor way, per­haps, of de­scrib­ing how even his crit­ics and com­pe­ti­tion rel­ish his bars.

AP

This CD cover re­leased by In­ter­scope Records shows “Comp­ton,” a re­lease by Dr. Dre.

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