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8 Dr. Dre

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It’s like this and like that and like this,” goes the chorus of”Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang,” one of the hits from the mostcommercially and artistically untouchable hip-hop album of theyear, Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. And so it goes with the man himself.

It’s like this: The Chronic spent eight months in the top 10 andsold over 3 million copies. The record was inescapable on theradio, on MTV, and on the car radios and boom boxes of hip-hopfans who sensed street credibility in the hulking rapper whoonce glared at them from N.W.A album covers. Much of so-calledgangsta (the ”G” in ”’G’ Thang”) rap is tedious. But TheChronic’s slow-sizzle funk, frat-house humor, AKs-and-babesscenarios, and secret weapon — the loping, who’s-that? voice ofDre’s protege, Snoop Doggy Dogg — became the soundtrack for thebaggy-panted, interracial B-boy scene. In an industry in whichbuzz is crucial, The generated 1993’s biggest buzz.

It’s like that: Dre — a.k.a. Andre Young, 28 — couldn’tcompletely enjoy the album’s success. This year he served twohouse-arrest sentences: The first involved a brawl last yearwith New Orleans police; the second, stemming from his assaultof a record producer, resulted in Dre wearing a police-monitorankle bracelet.

It’s like this: Snoop’s Doggystyle, produced by Dre, sold800,000 copies in its first week, becoming the second major buzzalbum of the year. It’s like that: On Dec. 10, Snoop and twoother men pleaded innocent to murder charges stemming from thedrive-by shooting of an L.A. man this past summer. A trial datehas not been set.

It’s like this: Dre calls his music ”hip-hop with profanity”;others call it misogynist and violent. The New York City stop onhis summer tour was canceled in part because of a protest from acoalition of women’s groups. ”All of them are straight bitches,”Dre says. ”Print that.”

It’s like that: A resident of the prosperous middle-classneighborhood of Calabasas, Calif., the burly but soft-spoken Dreis all business. He drives several different cars and co-ownshis record label, Death Row Records. ”I guess music talks,” hesays.

It’s like this: Naysayers say gangsta rap is a fad.

It’s like that: They may be right, since rap never stays still.But Dre’s music is more than a G thang; his earthy, funky styleis the sound of modern pop and R&B. More importantly, itscrossover demonstrated that the best and worst values espousedon The Chronic are more mainstream than anyone thought. ”Peoplein the suburbs, they can’t go to the ghetto,” its auteur says,”so they like to hear about what’s goin’ on. Everybody wants tobe down.” In 1993, Dr. Dre let us be that, and more.

— David Browne

Like it or not, he brought rap’s bleakest inner-city messagehome for dinner


Like it or not, he brought rap’s bleakest inner-city messagehome for dinner