Out of a trio of solo studio albums, Dr. Dre’s 2001 project continued to elevate his rank as one of music’s top producers. Ahead of its 20th anniversary (Nov. 16), the California native and record executive Jimmy Iovine reflect on the sophomore album for Apple Music.
Highlighting singles like “Still D.R.E.,” “The Next Episode,” and “Forgot About Dre,” the media mogul takes a trip down memory lane and reveals details including Jay-Z’s pen game on “Still D.R.E.,” Eminem leading as the mastermind behind “Forgot About Dre,” and creating music magic with Snoop Dogg.
Dre said his main mission was to remain behind the boards, but early collaborator The D.O.C. encouraged him to record his vocals. “I’m trying to put myself in the studio with a lot of great artists as far as the microphone work goes, and then I’m trying to just get on a song or two here and there,” he said. “My first album ‘The Chronic‘ and the ‘2001‘ album I believe I might be on like four or five songs. It sounds and appears like I’m on more because of the way I sequenced the song and structured it. I didn’t want to appear on the album at all, to be honest. I just wanted to produce, find artists, and produce them. The D.O.C. talked me into getting on the mic and doing this thing.”
Dr. Dre also revealed that Eminem was the album’s missing link which ultimately inspired “Forgot About Dre.” The Hollywood Walk of Fame star recipient said Em originally wrote the song with the former and Snoop Dogg in mind, laying down reference vocals for Uncle Snoop which sounded appealing to Dre.
“I had no idea what triggered him to write that song,” he shared. “He just came in with those lyrics and we wrote some music to it and that was that.” Alongside Em’s appearance, Xzibit, Rell, Kurupt, MC Ren, Mary J. Blige, and more gifted the 1999 album with their vocals.
Watch the full recollection below where Dr. Dre also shares his thoughts on how music is made and distributed today.