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Dr Dre - The Chronicle (Death Row)

This is a compilation of "mid-period" Dre, after NWA, but before he (personally it seems) called a halt to the East vs. West Coast feuding, founded Aftermath Records and took over the world. Called from the seven-year period he recorded and produced for Death Row, these 12 tracks show the no. 1 hip hop producer, but also show why he was not yet regarded as one of the world's greatest producers, full stop.

There are some absolute classics on this, 'Nuthin' but a G thang' and 'Gin & Juice', both featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg on the mic - morally reprehensible, but the tracks that defined the sweet smooth sound of G Funk. Then there's the soulful sound of 'Lil' ghetto boy' with its flute-filled backing and the seminal 2Pac party song, 'California Love'.

But, alongside them, are quite a few numbers that haven't lasted as well - tracks like 'Afro Puffs' by the Lady of Rage, 'Natural Born Killaz' with Ice Cube, Dre's own 'Let me ride' and 'Fuck wit Dre day' sound flat and dated. This is, however, a tasty recap of a very important period of Dre's development with enough classics to make it worthwhile and should be required listening for anyone whose hip hop collection starts with the "Slim Shady album".

Donnacha DeLong

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