THE DEFIANT ONES
Ok, I really wanted to write this fresh after binging The Defiant Ones on HBO. Now I have to say, as a documentary addict, this really is the best Hip Hop doc I have ever seen. And I have honestly seen just about all of them.
As a monster Dr Dre, Snoop, PAC, NWA, Eminem, Kendrick, 50 Cent, The Game and Hip Hop fan in general, this really is a must see tv event. I implore anyone who appreciates these artists or the Rap Game in general, to drop what you’re doing and watch it immediately.
Like many Dre fans, I have had a love/hate relationship with him over the last few decades, ever since I first heard that Detox was coming out. This was shortly after Chronic 2001 was released, I read an article on MTV where he announced that a new project was on it’s way. The Defiant Ones allowed me to finally let go of Detox as an album, a concept, and the essence of this mythological project, for which many years I have not been able to do. For me and many others, it was the unicorn of the rap world. And as of today, I can say that I finally have some closure.
Dre has left a trail of scrapped projects in his wake over the years, and I was excited for every single one of them. There was a time when he was producing Rakim’s next album (Pre Seventh Seal), Raekwon’s OB4CL2, even Busta Rhymes and Eve were signed to Aftermath in the mid 2000's. He would eventually produce individual songs for these artists over the years, but the albums that he announced would never truly release. Even Ice Cube was rumored to have a Dre produced album. The fact of the matter is, Doc would often give Detox beats to his artists for their own projects; He always wanted the artists on his label to shine. “Get Rich or Die Trying”, Obie Trice’s “Cheers”, The Game’s “Documentary” and even a track on Usher’s “Confessions” were given beats from Detox.
I remember back in 2009-2010 when Detox was scrapped again due to multiple songs leaking unmastered online. “Topless ft. Nas”, “Popped Off”, “Kush”, “I Need a Doctor”, “Die Hard ft. Eminem”, “Syllables”, “Psycho”, “Under Pressure ft. Jay-Z” and a plethora of reference tracks featuring Ludacris, TI, and 50 Cent were appearing online. Thus making the hype reach the stratosphere; Fans were officially ready to finally hear this project in full. Also he launched a Dr. Pepper commercial which basically cemented the fact that Detox was on its way. Dre always made it seem like this mysterious album was a stones throw away at all times, when in reality he is just a different type of visionary.
Seeing Dr. Dre’s legacy of classic songs and albums over the course of four decades really opened up my eyes about his work ethic and his long-term effect on Hip Hop as a whole. He makes music based off of emotions, not to make ‘hits’ for radio. I never understood why he couldn’t just master the leaked songs, slap a new cover on it and release it ‘as is’. I was looking at it from a strictly selfish stand-point. When the truth is we were asking too much from Dre as fans of the culture.
What he has accomplished, no one in history has been able to do. Not Puffy, not Suge Knight, not even Birdman. And the fact of the matter is, his fingerprints are everywhere. He has released so much amazing material over the years that in theory, Detox was already released. I was a fan of his work with Busta Rhymes on the Wash Soundtrack, Truth Hurts and so many other artists he gave birth to over the years. You just have to find them.
Instead of harboring resentment towards Dre for never ‘officially’ releasing his magnum opus, we need to turn that into pure adulation for what he has released. I also think the album Compton is partly to blame as well because I don’t think it necessarily scratched the Detox itch that we were all hoping for. But today I can finally say with conviction, that it doesn’t have to. From now on I will just be happy that this genius is still around, pumping out quality music like literally no one else can. And we can appreciate Dr. Dre’s library of classic material now more than ever.