And now the much anticipated part 2 of Dr. Dre’s “Compton” review. Let’s jump right in to the…
9) Deep Water (ft Justus, Kendrick Lamar)
This song might be my favorite on the album. The song is a metaphor about both the rap game and gang life being like jumping into deep water (it may seem easy, but it will swallow you up quickly if you aren’t tough enough to fight through). The gentleman drowning at the beginning and end symbolizes a young rook jumping into the game (or gang) and it isn’t going well for him. Once you’re in it, it’s nearly impossible to get out. Every line you hear that is distorted is meant to sound like someone under water (which is seriously so sick). The stand out of this track is Kendrick’s verse. My goodness, he took this trill beat and murdered it. His flow is bonkers and I seriously have trouble listening to it only once. Btw, this is my favorite beat on the album. Listen and I think you’ll know why. It is dark, grimy, has a deep bass, and just goes super hard.
10) One Shot, One Kill (Jon Connor ft Snoop Dogg)
Wow. This song is the definition of dope. I am a huge fan of rock-influenced beats in hip-hop and this one instantly jumped near the top. The build up in the start is so sick and sets the tone perfectly. There is a lot going on with this beat between the guitar, drums, alarm, and so on but it flat out works. Snoop absolutely killed it. In his verse he reminds the game that he is a legend and no one can touch his resume. His advice to other rappers:
Then Jon Connor brings it during his segment as well. His verse is about him getting his moment to shine (his one shot) and killing it (he did). He is definitely an artist to look out for in the next few years as he signed to Aftermath a few years ago and has been working with Dre on his debut album ever since.
11) Just Another Day (Game ft Asia Bryant)
IT’S MUTHAFUCKIN GAME TIME!!!! When Game and Dre get together for a track it’s guaranteed to be bomb. No exception here. This entire album is gangsta, but this song is one that especially encapsulates the essence of gangsta rap. A classic boom-boom-bap beat with melodic synths and horns sets up Game to rep his city like he usually does. This beat definitely has my red 2002 Honda Civic bumping like acne. This only gets me more excited for The Documentary 2.
12) For the Love of Money (ft Jill Scott, Jon Connor, Anderson .Paak)
In the famous words of Mark Jackson, “Momma, there goes that man again.” Jon Connor kills his second and final appearance on the album. If you weren’t a fan before hearing him, you are now. Connor hails from Flint, MI, another city notorious for its murder rate so he fits the concept of the album perfectly. He reps his city wherever he goes and though he isn’t famous yet, he’s going to keep rapping his ass off for the love of the city (not for the money). Dre raps about being one of the few black men with money and further drives home the fact that he came from nothing to achieve that. In fact, he has so much of it that he is donating to charity all the proceeds from EVERY album he sells to help his city of Compton. How awesome is that. And I can’t leave her hanging: Jill Scott is amazing on the hook. This beat has so many components to talk about, but the main takeaway is this: it is once again fantastic and an excellent example of Dre’s impeccable production quality.
13) Satisfiction (ft Marsha Ambrosius, King Mez, Snoop Dogg)
This song has one of the best subject matters on the entire album. A little fame and money can cause anyone to start living a flashy and extravagant lifestyle. Reality is, it is all fake. Dre, King Mez, and Snoop all call out the fake people acting like they have everything in the world when in reality, they are either broke or unhappy. The lifestyle is faked. The guitar sounds like it is running (maybe from reality?) and the drums are at the forefront of this beat. There are also a lot of hi-hat, symbols, and vocals in the background that complete the beat, which is one of the “busiest” on the album (meaning there is a lot going on).
14) Animals (ft Anderson .Paak, DJ Premier)
This song is another great one. The track tackles the media’s negative portrayal of black people. They’re made to look like animals and reckless and are thus stereotyped as such in public (by police officers and civilians in general). This is both unfair and untrue, as a certain number of people should not represent an entire group. But possibly the best part of the song is the fact that two of the most legendary producers in hip-hop history came together to create this beat. DJ Premier and Dr. Dre worked together on it and it is smooth as hell. It’s an amazing vibe for a song about such a tough subject matter. It is very uplifting and has clear components of both producers’ signatures all over it. Definitely a stand out track from the album.
15) Medicine Man (ft Candice Pillar, Anderson .Paak, Eminem)
Batman and Robin are back at it again. Em and Dre have been one of the most prolific duos in rap history, so you knew Eminem was going to have at least one verse on the album. He fittingly gets the last guest verse on the last Dr. Dre album. Anyone who knows me knows I have a boner for Eminem so I’ll try not to go to crazy but this song is incredible. The basic message: say what you want to say on a track, but if you aren’t giving it your all or doing it for the love of the game, go fuck yourself. This song has a completely different feel from the rest of the album but sticks with the theme of being true to yourself and where you came from. The initial beat is cool. It’s got a groovy bassline, spacey synths, upbeat drums, and layers of vocals and other instruments. Then it switches to a dramatic piano-based beat. It builds and builds as Eminem spits about his legacy and then the beat hits its climax and BANG, Em starts to rip it. Telling listeners he still don’t give a fuck and is ready to murder (lyrically) anyone, no matter how much criticism he may face. Right up there with “Deep Water” for favorite song on the album (thought I am admittedly extremely biased whenever Eminem is on a song).
16) Talking to My Diary
This is it. The final song on the final album. And it goes out with a bang. An honest and open look into Dre’s perspective on everything he’s done and the legacy he has left behind. He reminisces about the past and ends it talking about how much he misses the days of NWA (before all the bullshit and beef). This beat is classic Dr. Dre at his finest. I don’t need to explain it, just listen and enjoy it. I love how he lets the beat ride out (after an outstanding trumpet outro) to symbolize his exit from the game and allow the listener to reminisce about the song, album, and his legacy.
There you have it. The complete review of Dr. Dre’s instant classic “Compton.” It truly does play as a soundtrack to the city that has created some of the best emcees to ever hold the mic. Gangsta rap has and always will be one of my favorite sub genres of rap and Dr. Dre is a pioneer of it. This album is no exception to the great work Dre has put in over the years. I hope you enjoyed reading and if you somehow haven’t heard “Compton” yet, please get on that.