Dr. Dre is one of the most legendary figures in hip hop history. From his early days with the influential N.W.A. through to his most recent release Compton, the 50-year old artist has conquered multiple industries. For us, his most important contributions have been to rap music.
Dre has an ear for hot music, and he’s proven that many times over the course of his thirty-year career. He’s had a hand in introducing the world to the likes of Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar, and so many more artists. Even Compton helped to put on artists like King Mez and Anderson .Paak, who are making constant headlines since collaborating with the Doctor.
We wanted to shine the spotlight on some of the artists, both popular and rising, that Dr. Dre has put on over the years. Here’s ten of the dopest MCs the Doctor recommended.
It’s hard to imagine Snoop Dogg’s career if it weren’t for the Doctor. Sure, it’s possible that he would have come up anyhow, making hits alongside Pharrell and the Neptunes, but The Chronic introduced Snoop Dogg to the world. The funky, West Coast cat had a smooth flow, and his nasally voice was perfect alongside Dre’s deeper, more intimidating swagger.
Snoop Dogg appears on all but one (actual) song on The Chronic, and while Dre put him on by featuring him constantly on the now-classic, it’s hard to imagine how impactful the record would have been if it weren’t for Snoop himself. The Chronic may be billed as a Dr. Dre album, and his vision was certainly the driving force behind its power, but as with all of the Doctor’s work, there was some serious magic in the collaboration.
The Chronic‘s biggest star may have been Snoop Dogg, but the album is credited for kicking off the West Coast’s run of phenomenal releases and influential style. G-Funk, as it came to be known, is a term that describes gangster rap over funky beats, and Warren G is one of the genre’s biggest proprietors. Warren’s 1992 cameo on “Deeez Nuuuts” put him in position to ‘regulate’ the rap sub-genre. He continues to make music, and released a strong EP titled Regulate… G Funk Era, Pt. II earlier this year.
Tha Dogg Pound (Kurupt & Daz Dillinger)
Tha Dogg Pound was a pivotal part of Death Row during the label’s hayday. The Chronic actually helped to facilitate the relationship between Kurupt and Daz Dillinger, and the two formed the duo shortly after the album’s sessions. Kurupt has gone on do six solo albums, while Daz Dillinger has released a remarkable fifteen, putting out at least one a year (with the exception of 2013) since 2002. As a duo, they did seven albums with another one due out soon.
The king of the hook has worked with tons of rap artists, but his first big break was also on The Chronic. Alongside Warren G, Nate Dogg appeared on “Deeez Nuuuts” and went on to propel G-funk into a mainstream phenomenon. Dr. Dre linked up with Nate Dogg multiple times over the course of their careers, creating massive rap tracks like “Lay Low” and “The Next Episode” for our listening pleasure. Nate has a voice unlike anyone in the game, and his absence is truly felt amidst a West Coast renaissance that has us pining for the hook-master to collaborate alongside the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Vince Staples, and others.
Rap music changed forever during the course of Eminem’s initial commercial success. For one, the race barrier was broken in a way that Run DMC and Aerosmith could have never achieved with their crossover hit “Walk This Way.” Marshall’s controversial lyrics, atop his skin color, made him an icon to many young people while more conservative types saw him as a scapegoat to blame for violence, misogyny, homophobia, and general debauchery.
Dre first heard Eminem’s Slim Shady EP through Interscope’s Jimmy Iovine and quickly went on a search to find him. Their first effort together the Slim Shady LP, resulted in songs like “Guilty Conscious” which got Dre back into the swing of rapping alongside a valuable counterpart. The collaborative energy culminated between the two on songs like “Forgot About Dre” from 2001.
While he’s in the tabloids more for non-music happenings, there was a time when 50 Cent was the hottest artist in music. You might remember the Dr. Dre cameo in the video from 50’s platinum single “In Da Club,” which he also produced alongside tracks like “Heat” and “If I Can’t.” Dre executive produced his entire debut, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, which was also released on Shady/Aftermath/Interscope. Although Em gets more props for putting 50 on than Dre, Dre definitely deserves a nod.
Xzibit has parlayed musical success into a career in television and movies, but it’s all thanks, at least in some part, to Dr. Dre. The rapper definitely built himself a strong underground West Coast following though, before Dre helped him crossover. After featuring the MC on The Marshall Mathers LP and on 2001, Xzibit’s third album Restless (executive produced by Dre) saw some commercial success thanks to singles like “X” and “Front 2 Back.” The rapper went on to host MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” and appear in a variety of movies, including “8 Mile” and “The Wash.”
On his song “The Spiteful Chant,” Kendrick swears that Dr. Dre didn’t give him a handout, and we believe him. However, the Doctor executive produced his phenomenal good kid, m.A.A.d city LP and the newer, more experimental To Pimp a Butterfly. Dre doesn’t have production credits on either album, but K-Dot himself will attest to his influence on the projects, even if its just a verse on “The Recipe” or a voicemail on “Wesley’s Theory.”
More recently, the new king of the West Coast found himself atop bangin’ beats on the Compton compilation, where he threw down some of his illest bars to date.
As a part of the Doctor’s most recent crop, King Mez is an up-and-coming artist who crushed his features on Compton. He’s actually the first verse you hear spit an actual rap, and sets the bar high on “Talk About It.” On “Darkside/Gone,” he keeps up with Kendrick Lamar’s buzzed-about verse, and on “Satisfiction” he might just go harder than Snoop Dogg. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this Raleigh, North Carolina MC, although he hasn’t officially signed to Aftermath yet, the simple fact that Dre co-signed him heavy might be all the push he needs.
One of the most unique voices on Compton belonged to Anderson .Paak. Appearing on six of the album’s tracks, Dre didn’t hold back in using that voice to season the wild music that comprised the compilation.
You hear him drown on “Deep Water” and kick off “Issues” with a growl. He provides his own unique song with “Animals,” which showcases his songwriting capabilities and valid opinions on serious issues.
Along with producer Knxwledge, Anderson .Paak is one half of Nxworries, who has been on tour recently with Earl Sweatshirt along with releasing quality alternative R&B music. With a unique voice and a whole bunch of character, the future is bright for Anderson .Paak.