Dr. Dre’s “Detox” Is A Lose-Lose Situation
Remember when Dr. Dre had the internet going nuts with the announcement that the lead single from the ridiculously long awaited swan song Detox was to be “Under Pressure” featuring Jay-Z? How many of us really believed it was going to drop? Even with the picture of Jay-Z and Dre in the studio, most have simply chalked Detox up to be a myth and a cruel joke. But what if Detox really does come out this year? Sure, it’s been in the works since 2000 (and been rumored to be released every year since then), but perhaps this time it will finally see the light of day.
Okay, now that I’ve stopped laughing, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this.
Releasing “Detox” is a lose-lose situation for Dr. Dre.
Dr. Dre will always be known as the super producer who redefined the West Coast with N.W.A., for his solo album The Chronic, and for birthing the infamous Death Row Records. He’ll also be remembered for signing notable artists in his later years such as Eminem and 50 Cent to his Aftermath imprint. Although not as groundbreaking as his debut, 2001 is still regarded as an excellent album.
Ten years have passed since then and every single year there is talk that Detox is coming. We are teased with rumored songs and guest appearances to the point that Detox has reached mythological levels, paralleling the Loch Ness Monster or a bigfoot. Most of us who’ve been waiting for this album are numb to the feeling. That’s not to say there won’t be some excitement if and when the album gets a concrete release date. But perhaps the overall feeling will be a sigh of “finally.”
And seriously, what’s the point? There are kids today who aren’t particularly familiar with Dre’s legendary portfolio of music. They may know who he is, but their connection with Andre Young is not even close to those of us who were impacted by the good doctor’s work.
As good as Dr. Dre is, it’s increasingly difficult to believe he can release something that lives up to everyone’s lofty expectations with this album. Anything less than a million sold out the gate may be considered a failure. The game has changed so much over the past decade regarding how music is received that actually selling a million albums is far more difficult than it was back when 2001 was initially released. The game may have simply passed Dr. Dre by.
In an interview I did back in 2008 with Dre’s former right hand man for many years, Bruce Williams, we discussed the issues revolving around the release of Detox.
“People are on Dre about Detox and Dre never really wanted to do Detox,” Williams said. “He’s 40-something-years old, what’s he going to talk about? He’s gotta relate to these 13-year-olds buying records. What is he going to talk about? He can’t come out here saying, ‘F*ck the police.’ He can’t keep talking about smoking weed. He’s been there and done all that. Where is there to go now? But it has to be done and he’s going to make sure that sh*t is right before he puts it out.”
It was clear with that statement and when taking a look at all the rumored records that have been recorded for Detox that it just wasn’t right. In Williams’ book Rollin’ With Dre, he mentions the only reason Dre is doing Detox is to fulfill his obligation to Interscope Records chairman Jimmy Iovine.
When I asked if we would have to wait any longer for Detox, Williams said candidly, “If it comes out, I’ll be shocked—and I’ll also know that it has to come out.”
We certainly will be, too. But ultimately, as a fan, I’d rather not see this album released. I’d rather live my life knowing the greatest piece of work may exist in a vault somewhere rather than be disappointed with something which can’t live up to the ridiculous amount of hype.
For me, Detox will forever be the greatest story never told.