In 2011 Snoop Dogg gave an interview (above) to the well-respected DJ Tim Westwood. Tim, a white guy from the UK, is one of the best interviews in hip-hop, largely because he’s known these guys for so long, so when Snoop got abruptly honest about his friend Dr. Dre, it wasn’t exactly a shock. But Snoop’s criticism of Dre was a complete surprise.
“I just think the wrong people is in the environment,” said Snoop when aked why Detox was continuously delayed. “When he made records that were hit records in the past – D.O.C., Snoop Dogg, RBX, Kurupt. It’s pieces that are not there that need to be there.”
This was around the time of “Kush” and “I Need A Doctor,” two Dre singles that had input from unlikely collaborators like Skylar Grey, Alex Da Kid, and Akon. Each of Dre’s previous solo albums incorporate and even help introduce new artists to the mainstream, but that didn’t work with those singles. Neither of them resonated with the public at large, and four years later we have Compton, with as diverse a tracklist as anyone could have imagined.
New artists like King Mez and Justus have multiple features while old heads like Cold 187um and Xzibit make unlikely appearances. So if you aren’t familiar with every name on the Compton tracklist, here’s a quick breakdown.
From: Raleigh, NC
King Mez has been making noise since 2009, when he released his debut mixtape Long Live The King while still attending Morgan State University in Baltimore. He doesn’t believe in trends, and his dedication to his own earnest sound is probably what earned the respect of Dr. Dre. At some point last year, Mez started posting pictures on Instagram in the studio with Dre, and now he’s featured three different times on Compton.
From: Dallas, TX
The world at large found out about Justus back in February when he was introduced as Dr. Dre’s newest protégé Justin Night. The Dallas rapper has been in the studio with Dre and D.O.C. working on material, some of which will surely appear on Compton, as he’s featured on three songs from Dre’s album. He doesn’t quite sound like the next Eminem, so we’re not sure what to expect when he and Dre collide.
From: Compton, CA
To some extent, it feels like Dre getting involved with Comptonite Kendrick was the seed that blossomed into this new album. Perhaps it was when Kendrick made “Look Out For Detox” that Dre knew he wouldn’t be able to top a song like that. We barely know what Kendrick sounds like on Dre’s own music, but since he’s got three features on the new album, it looks like we’re about to find out.
From: Liverpool, England
In 2006 it was reported that UK songstress Marsha Ambrosius, one half of the neo-soul group Floetry, was close to signing a deal with Dre’s Aftermath Records. It never went through, but they’ve kept a working relationship through the years – Dre was featured on Marsha’s “Stronger” from her dope 2014 album Friends & Lovers. Now she’s appearing on four songs off the Compton album, and seeing how well she’s worked with Aftermath artists in the past, we’ll bet she’s going to kill her parts.
From: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Lord knows how Dr. Dre found South African vocalist Candice Pillay. She’s contributed her writing talents to stars like Rihanna (“Cockiness,” “American Oxygen”) and Christina Aguilera (“Circles,” “Best Of Me”), and last year she quietly dropped her mixtape The Mood Kill on iTunes and Spotify, though it barely got any critical attention. Now she’s got two vocal features on Compton, and we’re dying to hear them.