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Drew Garrison

The Nuanced Evolution of Dr. Dre’s Compton

For the past couple weeks, my Silver Screen & Roll Editor-in-Chief Drew Garrison and I have been unpacking Dr. Dre’s newest album Compton. These 16 meticulously crafted tracks have made waves in the music industry and popular culture, not just for its connection to Dr. Dre, but also for its presence alongside the N.W.A smash hit biopic, Straight Outta Compton. After a dozen e-mails and countless chat conversations, Drew and I got down to discussing this landmark record.

KOBEsh: 16 years and all we got is a soundtrack?

That statement couldn’t be more literal, but the sentiment couldn’t be further from the truth.

For the past 16 years, it’s a disservice to say that the hip-hop world has been waiting for Dr. Dre’s follow-up to 2001 because it’s actually been the entire music world was left wanting more. Rumors floated in and out of circulation, with co-producers, co-writers, guest rappers, recording studio engineers and personal friends alike slyly admitting that they in fact, had been working on the long-awaited Detox. The album grew in legend as the rumors, years and mystery grew in concert, with Dre’s new project becoming the hip-hop cousin to Axel Rose’s Chinese Democracy. And even as that fabled record finally came to life in 2008, Detox was nowhere to be found. Popular culture wondered if the years of speculation would indeed lead to anything of substance.

The good doctor, it seems, is not without a sense of humor.

Just as we came upon a second decade of anticipation for Detox, Dr. Dre’s new record, Compton, ironically appeared out of nowhere.

With 16 brand new tracks, the Dre-helmed album is, in a word, dense. So dense, in fact, that it’s taken myself and my co-writer Drew Garrison over a week to digest the entire work and come up with some thoughts. There is so much to Compton musically, thematically and lyrically that unpacking it in a single sitting is impossible. “Density” is the most anyone could really get out of one listen, in all sincerity.

I’ve got a ton of thoughts about the record, but Drew, let’s start the discussion here: what’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of Compton?

Drew Garrison: Evolved.

Dr. Dre’s probably most known for picking apart smooth samples and laying out perfect drums over the top of it, but Compton is a lifetime’s journey away from The Chronic. Considering it’s been over 20 years between those albums, and Andre Young isn’t busy taking us on a ride through his sweet chariot anymore, it’s only fitting the album is in a different world thematically. He’s a successful businessman, one of the most respected figures in music history, and is finally ready to share the latest chapter in his life.… Read more...

The Evolution of Kendrick Lamar

(My cohort from Silver Screen & Roll–SS&R Editor-in-Chief Drew Garrison–put together something of a different flavor: a deep dive into the world of music. Certainly something different than we usually post at MAMBINO, but I threw in a Giannis Antetokounmpo reference just to keep us in the sports stream. Enjoy!)
KOBEsh: In late September, Kendrick Lamar suddenly released “i” into the digital ether, a mysterious new single off his mysterious new album with a mysterious release date. No one quite knew when the world would see the rest of the material from the highly anticipated follow up to the critically acclaimed debut record but one thing was for sure—”i” let us know that at the very least, Kendrick wasn’t going to just put out Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, Part 2.
After months of speculation, one of music’s worst kept secrets is finally out: a couple of weeks ago, hip-hop’s hottest act Kendrick Lamar released his highly anticipated sophmore album To Pimp a Butterfly overnight. The clandestine album has almost become a prerequisite these days for artists of Lamar’s stature–after all, haven’t we gotten to the point where if Jay Z or Beyonce or Kanye West released an album with a four month run-up, wouldn’t that just feel out of the ordinary?
Let’s start off here: what were you expecting this album to be, even before you heard “i”? Did you have expectations? And then when you finally heard To Pimp a Butterfly, what was you instant reaction?
Drew Garrison: I didn’t have any expectations for Kendrick after really digging GKMC and swinging down to embrace Section.80. It definitely felt like Kendrick’s next album was going to be a significant release for music, and certainly feel like it’s an album of that magnitude. I think the instant thought once the final time yelled “PAC” cut out was just how dense the release is. This album isn’t a slice of cheesecake, it’s the whole thing. In one sitting. Game on. … Read more...