Wednesday, 21 October 2009

53: Dr. Dre (featuring Eminem) - Forgot About Dre

Forgot about Dre? No chance. Andre Young has been to West Coast rap what Jay Z has become to the East Coast. A highly successful artist in his own right, as well as a producer, and a businessman; Dre is a multi-millionaire, multi-Grammy winning global superstar.

Following a successful career in rap group World Class Wreckin' Cru, and then, alongside Ice Cube and Easy E in NWA, Dre decided to branch out as a solo artist. His 1992 breakthrough, 'The Chronic' was a smash hit, and is widely regarded as one of the finest rap albums of all time. In the mid 1990s, Dre separated from Death Row Records, fearing that label boss Suge Knight was corrupt, and instead launched his own business, founding Aftermath Entertainment as a subsidiary of Interscope Records.

Dre's finest business decision must have been the one he took in 1998, when he signed a white boy from Detroit as the first artist on Aftermath. Eminem's debut album, 'The Slim Shady LP' was released in 1999, and sold over 9 million copies worldwide, and the album's first single, the Dre-produced 'My Name Is' reached #2 in the UK charts. A further hit followed with 'Guilty Conscience', which featured Dre and Eminem as voices (good and bad, respectively) in the heads of the song's protagonists.

Late in 1999, Dre released his second solo album, the confusingly-titled '2001', selling over 7 million copies globally, and further enhancing Dre's reputation as the daddy of late-90s rap. The second single from that album, released in the summer of 2000, reprised the collaboration with Eminem from 'Guilty Conscience', and earned the pair a Grammy for best rap duet.

(NB - video contains explicit lyrics)

The song revolves around a simple, yet effective looped sample, with Dre rapping the first and third verses, boastfully reminding listeners of his rap career to date. Eminem takes the mic for the second verse, rapping about random acts of violence straight out of his Slim Shady persona. And the chorus sees Em at his chattering finest. His rapid, machine-gun-like rhyme is one of the most memorable of the decade: "nowadays, everybody wanna talk like they've got something to say, but nothing comes out when they move their lips, just a bunch of gibberish, and motherf**kers act like they forgot about Dre".

The video (above) is a classic too, and features KTTV Fox 11 news reporter, Jane Yamamoto, reporting from the scene of an arson attack. Ms. Yamamoto has an impressive track record of cameo appearances - she appears in Eminem's video for 'Stan', as well as popping up as herself in episodes of '24', 'Prison Break' and 'The Sarah Silverman Program'.

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