Wednesday, April 7, 2010

In the Year 2000: Dr. Dre and the Inna Nets

As I was contemplating the impending arrival of some new Dr. Dre music (finally) the other day, a thought occurred to me: how will the internet handle this? Why do I ask this question? Well, the last time Dre dropped an album, I was in junior high, playing NBA Hangtime on N64 24/7, chatting with my friends using AIM on a PC running Windows 98 with a 2 GB hard drive and a 56k dial-up connection. Phew! Remember those days? Flash forward eleven years later and the world is a very, very different place - the inna nets being no exception.

Dr. Dre's musical output has never before been met by the cynical, snide, hyperbolic sarcasm of the online community. What judgment will Detox meet in the presence of the hipster deity form known as Pitchfork? Will it receive a 5.3 rating? 6.7? 8.4? Will Tom Breihan write the review (#noshots)? These things matter in 2010, for better or for worse.

The last time Dre dropped an album, 5 Mics in The Source actually meant something. In the '90s, many great rap records received this coveted rating, from Illmatic to Ready to Die, The Low End Theory to Aquemini. That was the '90s; the 2000s were far different. The last album to earn 5 Mics in The Source was Lil Kim's The Naked Truth. (That must've been some bomb-ass head!) The album also got a perfect score in Vibe Magazine. (Like a Hoover vacuum!) Even Pitchfork gave it a score two decimal points shy of the solid 8.0 mark. (Blowjobs for everyone!) Where are we at in 2010?

When he's not fapping to PAWGs - I'll betcha Dre has no clue what any of that means - Byron Crawford kicks the facts. In his latest XXL piece, he writes: "Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine at the Boston Red Sox’ home opener... [was] obviously just a commercial for those Beats by Dr. Dre headphones." So true. And that's something that troubles me about the all-of-a-sudden rush to push Detox, and attend MLB games, and go on Maria Bartiromo's show (of all places), and so on and so on. Jimmy Iovine went so far as to say that we need more Lady Gagas in music nowadays. Really? Would he have said that if she didn't have her own Heartbeats line under the Beats by Dre/Monster umbrella? GTFOH!

In watching these pathetic pseudo-infomercials - not nearly as appalling as Kim Kardashian appearing on Letterman's show to defend the diamond trade in Africa - one thing was quite noticeable: Dr. Dre seemed uncomfortable as fuck! I guess that's why we don't see him in the media spotlight as often as we'd expect from any other celebrity. Words can't describe what the fuck this is supposed to mean:

(Who had it worse, Dee Barnes or that baseball?) ... But that's fine. Dr. Dre is a genius in the booth and I've still got some faith in the project. I'll let the music speak for itself once I hear it (and you should too). Stay tuned...