Friday, March 10, 2006

The Chronic: Life Lessons from Dr. Dre & Friends

Dr. Dre. The Chronic. Most people between ages 20-28 own this album. If you don't, I'm really not sure what happened to you on your way up... must have gotten lost in the shuffle. This is pretty much the rap album to own if you have to choose one. At least once a month i throw it on and let it go. This week I played the album, but it was different. I started to realize that behind the gangsta lyrics and G-Funk beats was a message; many messages actually. It became clear that this entire time, The Chronic held information that I would use later in life. It held keys that opened doors to a more deeper understanding of the music, and of life. Ladies and Gents, without further ado, I present The Chronic: Life Lessons from Dr. Dre & Friends.

1. "The Chronic" (Intro) - Rap cd intro's can do one of two things; make you skip to the intro, or listen to it. You can't skip the intro to this one. This is Snoop's true introduction to the world. This is Death Row's introduction to the world. This is letting Eazy-E, among others, know that Dre isn't fuckin' around. Roughly halfway through, Snoop lets us have this nugget of knowledge: "G's Up, Ho's Down...If that Bitch Can't Swim, then she Bound to Drizzowd." Brilliant. Pretty much if your bitch can't keep up, you better get rid of her. Knowledge for life my friends, right under our noses. Also of note is a message to Easy-E and the former manager of N.W.A., signed "Sincerely Yours, These Muthafuckin' Nuuuuuuuuts."

2."Fuck Wit Dre Day"- This is my favorite song on The Chronic. It always has been, and probably always will be. The beat is gangsta, the song is gangsta, but the video pushes it over the edge. They are rapping in the middle of a huge party in what looks like an enormous garage. The day I saw this video is the day I realized there exists parties in this world where the only alcohol present is a fridge full of 40's. How raw is that? A tall ice box, filled to the top with 40's, all facing ass out. I also found out that if you attend one of these parties, it is okay to shake up the 40's and spray down whichever bitch you choose with your buddies. The knowledge this song bestowed upon we was when Snoop says "Here's a jimmy joke about yo mama that you might not like/ I heard she was a 'Frisco Dyke." Picture the shock on my mom's face when I asked her what that meant, and she immediately tried to change the subject. Years later I remember that as my first introduction to the word 'dyke.'

3. "Let Me Ride"- This song starts with a superb "BIATCH!" Up until I heard it, I had no idea there was more than one way to say 'Bitch.' Also, this song contains a sample of "Mothership Connection," by Parliament. Not too much knowledge here, but in retrospect he was teaching young Whitey (myself) about switches. You know, cars with hydraulics use switches to make the car "...Pancake, front and back, side to side and all that shit." He's just telling you what he can do with his switches!

4."The Day the Niggaz Took Over"- This song features RBX, Snoop and Daz. It talks about Bloods and Crips, swap meets, and, well, taking over. The knowledge here is " a VCR, in the back of my car/that I ganked from the Slausson Swap Meet/and muthafuckas better not try to stop me" Basically Dre is condoning Swap Meet Theft. I got caught opening packs of baseball cards and taking the best ones out of Walmart once.

5."Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang"- I learned as much from this video as I did from the song. The video showed me that if I could own any hoodie on earth, it would be a the black LBC one Snoop wears in the beginning. Also, I want to go to a BBQ in California someday. Every car had switches, the grill was packed with meat, and there was a little four year old dancing like a muthafucka. Also, there were some pretty good looking women playing volleyball, and their male teammates would just pull their bikini tops thats cool. Snoop's bringing the knowledge again on this track: "...And before me dig out a bitch I have ta' find a contraceptive/You never know she could be earnin' her man,And learnin' her man/and at the same time burnin' her man/Now you know I ain't wit that shit Lieutenant/Ain't no pussy good enough to get burnt while I'm up in it." This is actually a public service announcement: Wear condoms all the time, because your bitch could be playin' another dude, and fuckin around on him with you, but no matter what it ain't worth catching something.

6."Deeeeez Nuuuuuuts"- I think the title says all you need to know about this song. It presented the world with the phrase "Deeeez Nuuuuuuts," which is probably used more than you think. If its not, I'm saying right now that everyone needs to work it back into their vocabulary.

7."Little Ghetto Boy"- This song features a sample from 70's soul singer Donny Hathaway's song of the same title. It illustrates what its like to be a kid in the ghetto. It goes from Snoop being on Death Row, to Dre just getting out of jail after a bid, and finally Dre trying to jack a younger guy and having a gun pulled on him. Definately a cautionary street tale. The knowledge you take away from this song is getting a firsthand view of the life of a 'Loc'd ass O.G."

8."A Nigga Witta Gun"- On this song Dre is just talking shit, letting people know they can't fuck with him. Knowledge of guns is what you can gain from this song: AK's, .38's, fo-fo's, and my personal favorite, them Desert Eagles.

9."Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat"- Random Guy: "You really don't understand do you? Hey man, don't you realize for us to make this thang work man we got to get rid of the pimps and the pushers and prostitutes, and then start all over again clean..." Dre: "NIGGAZ YOU CRAZY." What a great start to a song. The songs title implies gunfire, and thats pretty much what this song is like. My favorite part is when he provides us with an insightful look into a typical night in Compton for him and his boys: "Rat-tat-tat-tat late at night with my gat/On the streets of LA/Wonderin' where the pussy at/Straight playa, looking for a hoe/Hangin' out, rollin in my '64." Nothing but driving that '64 around looking for members of the opposite sex to fornicate with.

10. "The $20 Sack Pyramid"- Possibly the greatest skit ever on a rap album, The $20 Sack Pyramid is a parody of the $10,000 Pyramid that probably is on the Game Show Network right now. There are two contestants, and one must provide clues to the other, facilitating the correct guess based on those clues. If they win they get a $20 sack of endo, and a $35 gift certificate to the Compton Swap Meet. I mean, the premise alone is hilarious. But when you listen to the clues, the guesses, and the final answer, this skit is unbeatable. Besides being funny, it also enhances the listeners vocabulary, and gives them pick up lines to use, as well as what to watch out for if you think a gay person is after you. A few samples: "Endo..uh, uh...Buddha." O shit I used to Sell? "Uh, uh...Hocus Pocus" O things that people smoke! ... "O fuck me in the ass...O, o step to me and let me suck your dick." Things that Tim Dawg would say? ... "I know Doc...uh, uh Dre gon' do my music. Uhhh, Snoop and me be going to the swap meet and shit. " O, I know that one. Things that niggaz be sayin' to get the pussy!

11. "Lyrical Gangbang"- The beginning of this song says it all: This should be played at high volume. Preferably, in a residential area. Lady of Rage leads off, followed by Kurupt and RBX. All you learn from this song is that Kurupt "makes 'em cool off like a Polar Cap"... and that he's "Livin' large like a fat bitch."

12."High Powered"- I love this song because its so gangsta. Dre introduces the song and then drops a nice beat. "Yo man, give me some of that ol' gangsta-ass shit.../Some shit I can just kick back, smoke a fat ass joint toYou know what I'm sayin?" So Dre gets us going, but RBX knocks it out of the park with the beginning of his verse. "Seven execution style murders/I have no remorse cuz I'm the fuckin' murderer/ Haven't you ever heard of a killa? /(Bomb sound) I drop bombs like Hiroshima." God damn thats a hard way to start off your verse. Thats why this shit is so High Powered.

13. "The Doctor's Office"- This is the other skit on this album. In it, Dre is a doctor, and woman make appointments to come to his office and fuck him. Thats about the whole idea.

14."Stranded on Death Row"- I like this song because each person that raps comes out of a different cell block, giving the illusion that they are rapping from an actual Death Row somewhere. Kurupt comes out first, then RBX, Lady of Rage, and Daz. At this point in the album, the knowledge has started to dry up, but you still get a lot of tough talk and gangsta shit. Something mentioned here, which i learned on this album, is what '187' means. For everyone that doesnt' know, its the police code for murder. If you prefer the Demolition Man version, its...Murder Death Kill. Murder Death Kill.

15. "The Roach" (Outro)- This song is basically Parliament's "(P-Funk) Wants to Get Funked Up," but with different words. The different words all have to do with marijuana, so if you are looking for information on the plant this is a good place to start. It includes terminology and examples of how it effects people. Also it mentions different names for it, different ways to smoke it, and different materials to put it in. Munchies are mentioned, and this would be a great end to the album if it weren't for the secret song....

16. "Bitches Ain't Shit"- Mothers, do not let your son's listen to this song until they are adults. You don't want your kid talking about women the way these guys do on this song. I will end with the chorus of this song, which really emphasizes my point. "Bitches ain't shit but ho's and tricks/lick on these nuts and suck the dick/Get's the fuck out after you're done/And I hops in my ride to make a quick run..."

Just a quick background on The Chronic. It was released shortly before Christmas, in 1992. I was 11 at the time, but didn't get into the album until I was about 14 or 15. Sure, I knew the singles: Dre Day, Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang, Let Me Ride. But I lived in a small town in Massachusetts, under my mother's watchful eye, and I couldn't see her letting me listen to a cd with a Chronic leaf on it. Anyway, let's take a look at the guilty parties on this album: Dre, Snoop, RBX, Daz, Kurupt, Lady of Rage, Warren G, and a sprinkle of Nate Dogg. All these people were nobody's before the Chronic; after most of them went on to successful careers. Dr. Dre produced the songs, but most songs are heavily influenced by George Clinton and Parliament, better know as Parliament Funkadelic, or P-Funk. Dre's music, in turn, was called G-Funk. Definately in my top 5 rap albums of all time. Dr. Dre, if you ever read this...thank you for sharing that gangsta-ass knowledge with the world.


Blogger OfficerDiOrio said...

you forgot...."shit I used to come up on loot"

11:57 AM  

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