Compton: A Soundtrack” Album Review

Courtesy of Jason Persse/ Flickr

Courtesy of Jason Persse/ Flickr

Vincent Johnson
    Staff Writter

*In the print issue, distributed on Aug. 19, this article was miscredited

In what will probably go down as one of the biggest trolls in hip-hop history, Dr. Dre recently announced that his long-awaited album, “Detox,” had been scrapped. After over a decade of anticipation, “Detox” had been aborted.

However, not all was lost. Within this perceived betrayal, there existed a blessing in disguise. Dr. Dre’s third and final studio album, “Compton: A Soundtrack,” was released this month and it is cinematic, electrifying and powerful.

Inspired by the blockbuster N.W.A. biopic, “Straight Outta Compton,” Dr. Dre’s latest album is captivating from start to finish and is a befitting conclusion to the musical legacy of a living legend.

One particularly noticeable aspect of the album is Dre’s diverse, yet highly calculated selection of featured artists. Dr. Dre, a legendary producer, has always been admired for his ability to bring the best out of his collaborators.

The variety and potency of the cast he selected for this go-round was nothing short of remarkable. From classic acts such as Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube, to Aftermath heavyweights like Game, Eminem and Top Dawg Entertainment superstar Kendrick Lamar, Dre certainly pulled out all the stops. A few select features from vocalists including Marsha Ambrosious, Jill Scott and B.J. the Chicago Kid added a crucial layer of soul to the record.

Perhaps the most astounding thing about Dre’s feature selection was his decision to use this final album to elevate a few young artists onto the world stage. Among these select few were Justus, Anderson, Paak and Jon Connor. It also included Raleigh’s own King Mez, who was given the honor of spitting the album’s opening verse.

Dr. Dre is a legend who has a long history of pushing young artists to new levels of success. A few examples of artists whose careers have been supercharged by Dre’s cosign include: 50 Cent, Game, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. With company like that, nothing short of greatness should be expected from the young, upcoming musicians Dr. Dre chose to collaborate with.

“Compton” is an amazing album from start to finish. A few recordings that stand out among the rest include songs like “Talk About It,” “It’s All on Me,” “Deep Water” and “For The Love of Money.”

Explosive yet gripping, “Talk About It” features two invigorating verses from King Mez and serves as an appropriate album opener. In “It’s All on Me,” Dr. Dre recounts the many struggles he faced in the early stages of his career while Justus provides a hook that is reminiscent of the late legend, Nate Dogg.

By the time listeners reach “Deep Water,” the album’s 9th track, things begin to take a dark turn. While Justus provides yet another impressive hook, Dr. Dre graces the track with a pair of aggressive verses. However, the most essential aspect of this song is the young King Kendrick. As he adopts his patented “furious flow” and recounts violent tales from his Compton upbringing, he proceeds to drop a healthy dose of lyrical nukes upon the bass-pumped instrumental for the final verse.

“For The Love of Money” features solid verses from both Jon Connor and Dr. Dre. The highlight of this track is the hook, where Jill Scott provides a performance that is soulful, magical and perplexing.

Inspired by a motion picture, “Compton” plays through like a movie. Some moments are light, some are dark and some are climactic. All-in-all, “Compton: A Soundtrack” is a great album, and an appropriate ending to a legendary story. Hip-hop will forever be indebted to the great Dr. Dre.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Reviews, sophia lucente

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