It was 2002, and Dr. Dre had just conquered the planet. What to do on an encore?
The previous two and also a half years were essentially the most successful of Dre’s storied career. After struggling to ascertain his new Aftermath Entertainment label, he struck gold with Eminem’s debut, The Slim Shady LP, after which his own second album, 2001. As the latter moved over 7 million copies, it dominated urban radio throughout 2000 with singles like “Still D.R.E.,” “Forget About Dre,” “The Next Episode,” “Xxxplosive” and “Fuck You.” Meanwhile, Aftermath issued Eminem’s diamond-certified classic The Marshall Mathers LP and Xzibit’s platinum album Restless, and became one of several hottest rap labels on the market.
Dre had been considered on the list of greatest producers from the past twenty five years. At best, one third solo record could have been merely another laurel as part of his heavily feathered cap. Instead, he embarked on creating Detox, that she often called his “final album.”
During the following 10 years approximately, Dre reportedly worked tirelessly on tracks with a lot more than two dozen rappers, producers and vocalists, from Aftermath stars like Em, 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes and Kendrick Lamar, to T.I., Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Skylar Grey and Mary J. Blige – that is not counting artists rumored to possess hit the studio with him, like Elly Jackson of La Roux and Q-Tip. For nearly ten years, he publicly vacillated on if Detox would ever be released, and just as he seemed primed to offer the album the globe was awaiting, he apparently didn’t put it out in the end, leaving us with only Internet leaks and rumors products might have been. Some fans still clung for the hope that maybe in a short time time, much like the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson became his legendary aborted Smile sessions into your valedictory 2011 box set, perhaps Dre would reward their patience with one hell of your rarities package.
The saga took an expected turn immediately when it was said he will drop 1 / 3 album all things considered. But it’s not Detox. Instead, it is just a companion record for the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton (which premieres August 14th) which will include new music, including potentially the primary songs through the seminal gangsta rap group since 2000.
As news carries on break concerning the surprise release, let’s look back on the once-endless-seeming project who’s appears to obtain finally put to rest.
2002-2003: Dre announced that his highly anticipated follow-up to 2001 could well be called Detox. Perhaps inspired by his impressive cameo within the Oscar-winning good-cop-bad-cop drama Training Day (or as Prince Paul’s hip-hopera A Prince Among Thieves), he explained so it would be around the life of an hit man of the identical name. “I needed to come up with something more important but still make it hardcore, what exactly I decided to try and do was make my album one story about anyone and just perform record via a character’s eyes,” he told MTV News that April. “It’s more likely to take me a year to make it all together.” 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg and Eminem would add vocals, and Denzel Washington was rumored to narrate the entire thing.
But problems had already begun to elevate by the end of year when Dre ditched the thought idea. In November, Ice Cube told MTV News that Dre postponed Detox to be effective on his Aftermath debut. (That project never appeared, and Ice Cube eventually left the label.) The following March, Dre told XXL which he gave “the cream in the crop” of his Detox beats to 50 Cent’s megahit Get Rich or Die Tryin’, including possibly “In Da Club.” Nevertheless, Interscope suggested that Detox might appear from the fourth quarter of 2003.
2004: Detox was tentatively scheduled for fourth quarter of 2004. More guests were leaked (Mary J. Blige, Eve along with the Game), in addition to contributing producers (Denaun Porter, Nottz and Hi-Tek). Dre told XXL in March that she wanted to “have 12 or 13 singles. So I’m really taking time with each one of these. No album fillers reely like that. No fast-forwarding.” And Dre’s right-hand man for the time, Scott Storch, told MTV News that Detox can be “one of the most advanced rap album, musically and lyrically, we’ll ever have a chance to listen for.”
But by mid-year, Dre conceded which he was too pre-occupied regarding his Aftermath imprint. “I’ve decided in the past two weeks approximately that I wasn’t gonna do another album,” he told XXL in May. “I wanna work with these artists.” To be fair, Aftermath was among the hottest labels in the time, on account of a roster that included 50, Em, Busta Rhymes while others.
Still, the Detox dream persisted. On the title track to his hit album Encore, Eminem shouted, “And don’t be concerned ’bout that Detox album. It’s coming. We’re gonna make Dre get it done.”
2005-2007: “Look out for Detox,” promised Dre within the Game’s “Higher.” But what followed was silence, at least from your Doctor himself. Meanwhile, collaborators like Mike Elizondo and J.R. Rotem stoked anticipation within the press, and built a mythic status for that still-unreleased album.
In don’t forget national 2006, now-defunct Scratch magazine published a Detox cover story, calling it “hip-hop’s unreleased masterpiece. . . not far off?” Numerous Dre-affiliated producers gave details regarding the on-off sessions, including Bernard “Focus” Edwards Jr., who teased, “We were doing psychedelic Sixties rock music with dark chords.”
Producer Imsomie “Mahogany” Leeper posited that Detox could have an overarching theme similar towards the 1998 movie Very Bad Things. “The road Dre led me down was like, ‘I’m thinking about making the album as being a movie, like having 16-bar jazz pieces, live instruments.'”
Meanwhile, this article suggested that tracks in the Game’s The Documentary and Obie Trice’s Cheers along with “Throwback,” a standout track from Usher’s diamond-certified Confessions, were created for Detox. Of the latter, Just Blaze said, “I did the beat in like 2001 for Dr. Dre. . . the entire concept was him telling hip-hop that she’s gonna want him back when he retires.”
In 2007, Dre gave a comprehensive interview to your LA Times. Journalist Robert Hilburn suggested that, contrary to public opinion, the rapper have been working on his third album for that past eight years. He somewhat unfavorably compared Dre to Phil Spector, Brian Wilson, Axl Rose and “earlier pop music train wrecks” before acknowledging the West Coast icon was faraway from an eccentric studio recluse. Indeed, Dre was responsible for some from the biggest hits on the decade, from Eminem’s Encore, 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ along with the Game’s Documentary to Eve’s “Let Me Blow Ya Mind,” Gwen Stefani’s “Rich Girl” and Mary J. Blige’s “Family Affair.”
Still, many drew parallels between Detox and Guns N’ Roses’ decades-in-the-making Chinese Democracy (a minimum of before the latter was published in 2008). For his part, Dre explained, “I was actually hoping to own it out in 2010, yet it’s going to obtain to be pushed back quite some time because of a few other things I’ve got to figure on.” He continued to refer to Detox as his final album.
2008: Is there movement within the Detox front? In June, Snoop Dogg claimed the long-gestating album was finished. “I was beginning doubt it myself then I went up within and he played a great deal music personally it knocked my leave,” he explained.
The following month, Dre confirmed fortunately to USA Today. “In an excellent world, I’m shooting for just a November or December release,” he explained, adding it would feature Nas, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne.
But in November, Interscope CEO and Dre’s BFF Jimmy Iovine kiboshed the Detox release date. “Dre’s moving back [inside the studio] in January,” he told Billboard. “Dre were forced to stop making his album to do Eminem’s album [Relapse].”
2009: With Detox still a fantasy, purported leaks on the seemingly never-ending sessions started appear. There was “It Could Have Been You” with Nas, R. Kelly and Bishop Lamont. Several T.I. reference tracks emerged at the same time, including “I Am Hip-Hop (Detox),” “Topless” and “Shit Popped Off” (which eventually appeared on T.I.’s Fuck Da City Up mixtape). Meanwhile, their email list of Detox helpers continued to stack up, from neo-soul singer Anthony Hamilton to Drake.
Dr. Dre previewed a snippet of “Popped Off” himself within a Dr. Pepper commercial. By now, ever rising mogul was deep into his Beats by Dre venture, and during his promotional appearances to the headphones line he continued to note Detox. He told ABCNews.com, “Hopefully I’ll get it done for the end of this season, and now we can listen to it next year.”
2010: A series of events give rise on the hope that Detox is finally being a reality. In April, Iovine announces that Dre’s collaboration with Jay Z, “Under Pressure,” will be the album’s first single, and Dre confirms this news during an appearance on CNBC. But in June, an unfinished version of “Under Pressure” leaked. In frustration, he posted a “Message From Dre” within the Interscope website. “The song that’s out for the Internet is undoubtedly an incomplete song that I’m still working away at,” he wrote. An official version has yet to show up.
Still, momentum appears to build towards an eventual release, from more leaks such as a second version of “Topless” (these times with Eminem) and “Turn Me On,” into a Vibe cover story where Dre protested, “I thought it’d take, at for the worst situation, quite a while.” He also suggested another tantalizing future work for fans: an all-instrumental album called The Planets.
Meanwhile, a TV commercial for Beats by Dre Powerbeats found Dre working inside gym with LeBron James like a pre-release instrumental of “Kush” boomed for the soundtrack. “You’ve been carrying out a whole lot of performing exercises, Dr. Dre,” riffs comedian Affion Crockett. “It’s ’bout time one does a little working on that album!”
The end of year brought official Detox music. “Kush” featured Snoop Dogg and Akon, and although the single earned mixed reviews, it peaked at Number 34 around the pop charts. “I Need a Doctor” become the bigger hit, as a result of soaring pop production by Alex Da Kid, an arena-shaking chorus by Skylar Grey as well as a passionate, anguished verse from Eminem.
“You visit me with ideas/You say they’re just pieces on the puzzle ’cause the shit I hear is crazy/But you’re either gettin’ lazy or perhaps you don’t believe inside you no more,” Eminem rapped. “You’re said to be my mentor/I can endure get rid of/I demand you remember whom you are!”
2011-2014: As “I Need a Doctor” soared to Number Four within the charts and was certified double platinum, Dr. Dre and Eminem perform the track in the 2011 Grammy Awards. Detox seemed imminent, with a lot more leaks for instance Dre and Em’s “Die Hard,” which premiered within the Showtime series Fight Camp 360: Pacquiao vs. Mosley, and “Chillin'” with Swizz Beatz. Dre posted a relevant video where he stated the phrase “4/20,” leading fans to imagine that Detox would drop on April 20th (a rumor an Interscope rep later denied.
But that November, Dre seemingly pulled the plug on the whole lot during an interview with Fader TV. “I’m gonna take somewhat bit of your break, enjoy a long time with the family,” he was quoted saying.
It’s unclear what led Dre to avoid publicizing Detox. Perhaps he chosen to stop focus on Detox to devote his full focus on new protégé Kendrick Lamar, equally he had finished with 50 Cent as well as the Game years before. In April 2012, Dre and Lamar release “The Recipe.” Its producer, Scoop DeVille, later told Whoo Kid on Shade45 how the beat was originally meant for Detox. Meanwhile, 50 Cent mused that Detox might just be an EP. “I have no idea if he’s even excited to complete it now,” said 50.
In 2014, Eminem producer Dawaun Parker told the podcast “Shots Fired” that Dre’s next album would not be called Detox. And while describing her recent studio sessions with Rap-Up.com, Marsha Ambrosius told much the same story.
“We visited Hawaii just prior to the end of last year to get a couple of weeks along with to really cram together with the production team he’s got going now, Focus as well as the squad,” she said. “Detox would have been a title that has been thrown around countless years ago. . . It sounds just like a fitness center now.”
2015: On July 29th, Ice Cube appears on Philadelphia’s Power 99, doing press to the Straight Outta Compton movie and claims that Dre could well be dropping his third album – as well as the soundtrack for the film – on August 1st. “It’s mega. It’s Dr. Dre. It’s what everybody’s been expecting,” Ice Cube tells the Rise & Grind Morning Show. That same afternoon, multiple sources confirm to Rolling Stone that this record will probably be released afterwards.
With that, it would appear that Dre’s Detox has turned into a legendary unfinished album, ranking alongside Prince’s Crystal Ball and 2Pac’s One Nation as one of popular music’s great what-ifs. But his forthcoming Straight Outta Compton soundtrack most likely are not a bad consolation prize.