Detox: The Third 'Most Advanced' Dr Dre Album That Never Was
Rapper and producer Dr Dre is one of hip hop's most celebrated names.
Not only has he found critical and commercial success with his own back catalogue, but also he helped pave the way for emerging artists like Eminem to rise to the top - all while producing for the likes of 2pac, Snoop Dogg, Nas, Ice Cube, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Gwen Stefani and even rockers Nine Inch Nails.
Not bad going, and as he turns 54 today, you can imagine he'd be looking back on his career and giving himself a pat on the back before blowing out the birthday candles. His former NWA bandmate Ice Cube certainly agrees:
But he's also the man behind what could be hip hop's greatest moment - except it hasn't actually happened yet, and, by the looks of things, will likely never happen.
This mythical moment is Dre's long-awaited third album, Detox, which was announced back in 2002 amid rumours it would be his final release - one last mic drop for the hip hop world.
Over the years that followed that bombshell, Dre reportedly worked on tracks with everyone from Eminem, 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes and Kendrick Lamar to Mary J. Blige, T.I., Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and even Drake, creating hundreds of beats for the long-awaited album, as the hype surrounding it continued to grow.
In a 2004 interview with MTV News, Scott Storch, who produced 1999 hit 'Still D.R.E.', even promised us Detox would be 'the most advanced rap album, musically and lyrically, we'll ever have a chance to listen to'.
It was also believed that the mysterious album would be more of a project or soundscape, perhaps inspired by his cameo in good-cop-bad-cop movie Training Day - with Denzel Washington even rumoured to feature as a narrator.
"I had to come up with something different but still keep it hardcore, so what I decided to do was make my album one story about one person and just do the record through a character's eyes," he told MTV News in April 2002.
"It's probably going to take me a year to get it all together."
However, some 17 years later, this fabled album still hasn't materialised.
In 2015 Dre instead ended up following up his second album, 2001, with Compton, which wasn't the third release we were expecting.
Instead, the fate of Detox has remained murky, having reportedly been delayed or shelved countless times, with Dre telling XXL in 2005 that he had more pressing commitments with his label, Aftermath Entertainment, which by then had signed the likes of Eminem, 50 Cent and G Unit.
"I've decided within the last two weeks or so that I wasn't gonna do another album," he said, adding: "I wanna work on these artists."
Of course, he's also been keeping himself busy (and probably quite rich) with that Beats headphones empire of his, along with production credits for 2015's NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton - making it increasingly apparent that maybe Detox is just destined to be no more than a hypothetical hit.
There is hope yet, though.
Just last year, Storch popped up again to say Detox is still 'to come'.
"I think it's going to happen, man. Matter of fact, I know that it's going to happen," he said on Power 106's The Cruz Show.
Dre has also previously spoken out about being able to juggle his two personas as musical mastermind and savvy entrepeneur, once telling the Guardian: "I don't think the brand has overtaken the music, I think that they just work together, like, I love watching the two come together."
Well, if Detox does ever make it to the airwaves, it had better be damn good. Hype is something of a double-edged sword, after all...
Featured Image Credit: PA