Graham Reid | | 1 min read
So just to be clear there's the NWA classic gangsta rap album Straight Outta Compton and now a bio-pic of the same name.
But despite this being subtitled "A Soundtrack by Dr Dre" it isn't the soundtrack to the film, it is music inspired by the film. (As far as I can tell there is no actual soundtrack album.)
So here is sort-of Dre's first album under his own name for over 15 years which will, unfortunately for him, invite comparisons with his terrific solo debut after NWA, The Chronic.
But this is a guest-heavy selection of often dark and bruising cuts which feature the likes of his pals and proteges such as Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, Kendrick Lamar, Justus and others.
After a faux-doco interview about the brief history of Compton there follows a swirling, sometimes usefully shapeless implosion of beats and rap but looking back from the 21st century . . . which has alienated those who wanted some reprise of NWA's classic sound and Nineties period.
But as an evocation of contemporary hip-hop with its roots now decades deep it is a real meltdown of moods from elusive dreams to rage, ghetto gunfire to woozy blunt-affected head-nod, then it is occasionally quite something.
It is hauled back by some strained references back to the glory days of NWA and gangsta (All in a Day's Work, Darkside) and seriously stupid melodrama (Loose Cannons with Xzibit is the kind of audio-film that never works) but Deep Water (Lamaar, Justus and others) is an oppressive, claustrophobic track and One Shot Kill with Snoop Dogg is a brittle work.
And Eminem courts controversy with Medicine Man as only he can reliably do.
Patchy for sure . . . but by no means the disaster some have suggested, but neither is it a newly minted classic from Dre and his superstar colleagues. Explicit language, of course.