Dr. Dre has a reputation for being an obsessive, meticulous perfectionist who isn’t satisfied until the take meets his high standards. He once locked Eve in the booth for 40-plus takes, and another time obliterated Gwen Stefani’s self-confidence until she talked to 50 Cent, of all people. But every time an artist relays a story about how tough Dr. Dre was on them, they always end it with how grateful they were that he pushed them to their artistic limits.
But what about his own artistic limits? Does Dr. Dre have anybody to push him to test his? Everybody who steps into the studio with him comes out singing his praises. Most recently, Rick Ross was effusive when describing his experience making “3 Kings”, and the beat (from Jake One, not Dre) didn’t disappoint. But go through Dr. Dre’s work over the past years; there isn’t a HIT among them. “Crack a Bottle” charted well, but chalk that up to the assembled star power. Otherwise, the track has no longevity. When was the last time you played it? Exactly.
The last single that Dr. Dre really put his weight behind was that lukewarm supposed Detox single “Kush” which had that abominable faux Nate Dogg. I’m going to assume you haven’t played that song since the week it was released, either. Dr. Dre has actually produced some good-to-great album cuts over the past few years, but nothing that comes even remotely close to capturing the “it” factor that makes a hit single. Does he still have the mojo (or ghostproducers) to make a smash? Possibly, but with all his other ventures popping off, he may not care either way. And THAT is what scares/disappoints us the most.