Today in Hip Hop History: December 15, 1992
23 years ago today, Dr. Dre and the newly-conceived Death Row Records released his classic debut album, The Chronic, after his separation from Compton-based gangsta rap super-group NWA. The album sling-shotted Dre’s solo music career into international stardom and first brought G-Funk hip hop into the mainstream. Alongside himself, Dre’s The Chronic helped launch the career of several West Coast hip hop artists such as Snoop Doggy Dogg, Warren G, Nate Dogg, Daz Dillinger and Kurupt.
The Chronic was produced completely by Dre, who has cemented his legacy in hip hop through his unique and undeniably talented producing throughout the past 31 years. The production on the album was groundbreaking within hip hop; his funk and soul-filled beats included live instruments, whiny synths and fewer samples than most production at the time. It influenced the G-Funk West Coast sound, which dominated hip hop for a few years after its release.
The lyrics on the album featured typical West Coast gangsta raps, disses and misogynistic shots in a bravado manner. There contain several references to NWA, most notably Jerry Heller and Eazy-E, both of whom supposedly exploited finances from the rest of the group during their time together. Additionally, Snoop Doggy Dogg laid a significant portion of the verses on the album; so much so that it could be seen as a collaborative album between the two. Before any solo release, The Chronic introduced the world to the now-celebrity rapper Snoop Dogg.
As of this year, The Chronic has moved over 5.7 million copies since its conception, making it over 5x RIAA Certified Platinum. The album won Dre a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance on “Let Me Ride.” It has been listed in several publications, such as Time Magazine’s 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and Vibe’s 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century. It produced some of the most widely known hip hop songs of all time and serves as arguably one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time.