Compton is Dr. Dre‘s third official release disguised as a soundtrack for the blockbuster film Straight Outta Compton which focuses on the careers of Dre and his NWA group members. Officially released on August 7th it seems as if Compton has been out for a while now though it’s only been a mere four weeks. It’s backstory is littered with the stench of Dre’s now defunct, Detox which was 16 years overdue until Dre decided it was better to start fresh, and fresh he did.
Compton is the update that would fit a 2015 Dr. Dre. He’s mature and reflective, at 50 looking back on his career as a landmark etched in hip hop history. He brings Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, and Ice Cube into the picture as an ode to early beginnings and mixes them with new faces Jon Connor and Justus. The diverse group of emcees serve their purpose as Dre takes us on his journey. Through it all the most important guests are no surprise. Eminem and Kendrick Lamar‘s contributions to Compton are part of the reason Dre deserves a spot as a legendary figure in hip hop in the first place. But as he’s did wonders for their careers, they’ve done them for him behind the microphone.
Dr. Dre sounds as crisp as ever as an emcee and producer. He’s not supposed to be keeping up with the youngings flow wise, but he is and he’s doing it just as good if not better than them. “Deep Water” is the standout cut featuring Kendrick Lamar’s rumored “shots” at Drake. Dre’s verses could have easily have fallen on deaf ears but between the poignant writing such as “would you look over Picasso’s shoulder/ And tell him about his brush strokes?” and production where he makes distortion aesthetic he manages to keep pace with Kendrick.
The only thing that hurts Compton is its density. In a world where artists are putting out albums with no features and two verse songs, Dr. Dre’s Compton boasts at least two artists on every track, each just as wordy as the other. It can be a lot to digest. All in all, Compton shines and it shines bright.