DR. DRE Bad Intentions Featuring Knoc-Turn'Al (Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope)
Another 1p special from Asda, this CD single features the title track (easily the highlight of the soundtrack to Dre and Snoop's film "The Wash", from which it's extracted), a smattering of tracks from Dre's "2001" album and the video to the main attraction. "Bad Intentions" still sounds superb, three minutes of unbridled, competitive libido, toasting and boasting, which makes the remaining two tunes, "The Watcher" and "The Next Episode", look like Wu-Tang Clan social commentary in comparison. Good stuff, although nothing here usurps the man's terrific debut album "The Chronic" as the greatest Dre to date.
DR. DRE The Chronic (Death Row)
Dating from a far-off era when Dre was more interested in selling records than headphones, his debut solo album "The Chronic" is a G-funk urtext that more than earns its Parental Advisory stripes. The decades haven't blunted its misogyny or casual violence, nor have they challenged the assertion that Dre knows as well as George Clinton what to do with a P-Funk riff.
It remains a brutal record that still refuses to be housetrained; the "Never Mind The Bollocks" of its time, perhaps. The L.A. riot footage that runs through the social commentary of "The Day The Niggaz Took Over" and lines such as "I gots to get my loot on/And come up with some furniture or something/Got a VCR in the back of my car/That I ganked from the Slausson swap meet" give it a disturbingly prescient, ripped-from-the-headlines feel in places. "Lil' Ghetto Boy" closes with a long, lazy flute solo gliding atop the machine beats and samples, and "Let Me Ride" and "The Roach (The Chronic Outro)" are unarguably classics of their kind, updating their Parliament source material for another age. Neighbourhood game show satire "The $20 Sack Pyramid" is that unlikely thing, a skit that's worth listening to twice (contrasting sharply with "The Doctor's Office" elsewhere on the album).
For those who might scoff at Dre's cultural significance (he being, remember, the force responsible for bringing the likes of Snoop Dogg and Eminem to a wider public), I've recently started reading something called "The History Of Rock", published by noted artistic weathervane Marks & Spencer, and there he is, with a page of his own, nestled between Primal Scream and Rage Against The Machine. "The Chronic" is one of the building blocks that got him there; it's defiant, unapologetic and hard as nailguns.
"Digitally remastered", boasts the sleeve of the album's current vinyl issue, not necessarily a good thing. It sounds loud and relentless, but that's as likely to be a characteristic of the music as much as the sonics.