Snap Judgment: Listening to music Dr. Dre's way
Rejoice! The magnum opus that Dr. Dre has spent the past two years perfecting is finally here! No, not Detox — that won’t be out ’til the end of this year (maybe). I’m talking about his new Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, created with Monster Cable and Interscope/Geffen/A&M honcho Jimmy Iovine. These are no tinny little ear buds — they retail for $350, and they come with a higher purpose. “With Beats,” Dre announces on the official site, “people are going to hear what the artists hear, and listen to music the way they should: the way I do.” Sounds like a challenge to me. So I got my hands on a pair of Beats by Dr. Dre, and used ’em to listen to some beats by Dr. Dre, the way the man intended…
00:00: I slip on my Beats by Dr. Dre and turn on their internal power. This noise-canceling technology is sick! Is my cubicle-neighbor saying something to me? Possibly, but I know not what, for I am enveloped in a world of pure and utter silence. Silence produced by Dr. Dre.
00:05: NWA’s “F— tha Police” comes blasting on. (Note: some NSFW lyrics in all linked songs.) Man, do those samples hit harder in surround-sound. I feel like I am literally standing in the middle of Judge Dre‘s courtroom, and I am a little worried that he is about to hold me in contempt for not answering his questions.
05:51: On to “Nuthin’ but a G Thang,” from The Chronic. You know, I don’t think I’ve ever really heard the lyrics of this song like I am now. How did I miss this classic couplet: “You never been on a ride like this before/With a producer who can rap and design luxury headphones, the maestro.” So true!
10:04: “‘Slim Shady, you a basehead.’/’Nah-ah!’ ‘Then why’s your face red?/Man, you wasted.'” Now you’re just being unfair, Dr. Dre. My face is red because I’m overwhelmed by emotion at the awesomeness of this Eminem song that you produced, obviously.
14:42: I could listen to “Still D.R.E.” all day on repeat, even with my mediocre regular headphones. With Beats by Dr. Dre, I am in total rap-nerd heaven. That bone-deep bassline! Those haunting keys! That little mischievous keyboard thing that comes in on the chorus!
30:24: Yeah, I just listened to “Still D.R.E.” four more times in a row.
31:16: If you’re like me, you still remember the first time you heard “In Da Club” in 2002. (I was In Da Dorm Room.) Listening to that epic stomp of a track again on Beats by Dr. Dre allows me to imagine a wonderful world where 50 Cent kept making killer singles…
34:02: …instead of middling filler like last year’s “Come & Go.” This has to be one of the more forgettable songs Dre’s ever been involved with. Still, revisiting it with this unbelievable equipment makes me appreciate those Psycho shrieks and descending keys a lot more, for sure.
Okay, so these headphones are pretty dope. And how am I supposed to go back after that? I’m currently considering switching my listening habits full-time to exclusively Dre-produced music, exclusively on Dre’s headphones. (I do have a nagging fear that Beats by Dr. Dre’s insane noise-canceling abilities might be making me go a tiny bit deaf, like what happened to Colin Greenwood last year. Will I still even be physically capable of hearing Detox by the time I’ve spent another week with these things?!) But you tell me, all kidding aside: Would any of you audiophiles be willing to spend serious cash for this kind of sound?