Thursday, October 22, 2015

Compton: A Little City You Might Have Heard Of

Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre is a record by a 50-year old man, allegedly hip hop's first billionaire, and as such, perhaps it's not always clear who this album is for--old school rap fans, those into modern sounds, a wide audience, a limited one--but one thing is certain: it's not for lazy people. It's there in the song titles ("All in a Day's Work", "It's All On Me"), it's forefront in the lyrics ("Don't ever call me fortunate, you don't know what it cost me, So anybody complaining about they circumstances lost me"), and it lurks in the grooves, some of which do take time to absorb. But the effort is always  rewarded, as they consistently reward repeat listens. 

While not perfect by any means--the murder scene that closes "Loose Cannons", while cinematic, seems an odd fit; the clapping during the speech of "All in a Day's Work" is either pretend, phony clapping or clapping from phony people; at times, the vocals are over-processed and abrasive. Still, this is a master at work. Comparisons to Dre's previous albums are inevitable, but it's no matter; those weren't perfect, either, but we like them anyway (Eazy-E gay jokes and a barrage of misogyny were never going to age well). 

If we're willing to forgive the sins of Dre's prior albums, then so to should we appreciate Compton. As yet, that has not necessarily been the case; reaction seems mixed. Maybe when the DVD for the movie this album was inspired by drops, people will begin to catch on. Until then, for me it's Dre Day, and I'll be celebrating.

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