The disgust Dre packed into the word ‘bitch’ is terribly embarassing in retrospect, both for him—he’s age 41 now and well past gangsta caricature—and for listeners who may have mimicked him without a second thought. But what’s kept The Chronic so potent is Dre’s invention, not quite from scratch, of a sound that defined early 90s urban L.A. in the same way that Motown defined 60s Detroit. Over grooves built from liberally sampled pieces of the Funkadelic catalog, Dre delivers his verses with hypnotically intimidating ease, so that “Let Me Ride” and “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” feel like dusk on a wide-open L.A. boulevard, full of possibility and menace. The Chronic also introduced the world to Snoop Doggy Dogg, and while it’s debatable whether this was a net positive for the world, Snoop’s drawled-out Mississippi-ness (he was rap’s first country cousin) was just one more original element.
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