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Dr. Dre Presents... The Aftermath

Dr. Dre & Various Artists

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Album Review

Dr. Dre shifted directions drastically halfway through 1996, leaving Death Row Records and abandoning gangsta rap, claiming that he had "Been There, Done That." So, Dre founded a new record label, Aftermath, and built an artist roster consisting entirely of new, unproven talent. He also decided not to concentrate on rap, signing urban R&B acts as well as hip-hop. Aftermath's initial release was the various-artists compilation Dr. Dre Presents...The Aftermath and one listen proves that Dre wasn't kidding when he said he wasn't interested in gangsta anymore. There are a number of rappers on The Aftermath, even a handful of hardcore rappers, but nothing fits into the standard G-funk template. The true revelation of the album is Dre's skill for urban R&B and soul, all of which sounds fresh and exciting compared to several of the fairly pedestrian hip-hop tracks. Despite the success of these urban productions, none of the actual performers make much of an impact — the tracks are impressive only because they demonstrate Dre's musical versatility and skill. In fact, the two tracks that really stand out — Dre's stately, sexy "Been There Done That" and the powerful "East Coast/West Coast Killas," which features cameos by B-Real, KRS-One, Nas, and RBX — are a combination of terrific production and personality, which is usually what results in great singles. But that doesn't mean that The Aftermath is a washout. Instead, it's a promising fresh start for Dre that is full of potential and enough great music to make it a vital listen.

Biography

Born: 18 February 1965 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

More than any other rapper, Dr. Dre was responsible for moving away from the avant-noise and political stance of Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions as well as the party vibes of old-school rap. Instead, Dre pioneered gangsta rap and his own variation of the sound, G-funk. BDP's early albums were hardcore but cautionary tales of the criminal mind, but Dre's records with N.W.A. celebrated the hedonistic, amoralistic side of gang life. Dre was never much of a rapper — his rhymes were simple...
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Dr. Dre Presents... The Aftermath, Dr. Dre
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