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2001MTV Chronic 2001 (1999)

Chronic 2001 is thick-bass-heavy like 22" inch rims buoyed by hydraulic bounce. It's the sound of twilight street folklore, old yarns spun by vain, swaggering young and old Gs. And it's brilliant.

Dr. Dre frames the album with his only two solo cuts, "The Watcher," and the melodic, Mary J. Blige-enhanced "The Message," affirming that he is indeed the Alpha and the Omega. "The Watcher" ignites without warning: "Things just ain't the same for gangsters," Dr. Dre booms over high octane bass tickled with high octave keys. A panoramic survey of rap through one its sub-genre's architects, Dr. Dre reminds us that he has been there, done that, seen that, from Eazy-E's death to Tupac's murder, and that the new Dr. Dre, a thirtysomething self-proclaimed family man, has "moved out of the hood for good." However, unlike artists who create id-satiating alter-egos (see RZA/Bobby Digital), Dr. Dre passes the thug baton to fully independent other egos like Hittman and Eminem with which to race up the charts.

Shivering with a plucky ukulele, "Still D.R.E." is the last anthem of the millennium with equally incisive lyrics, courtesy of ghostwriter Sean Carter. Dr. Dre and his multi-platinum boy Eminem converse "Guilty Conscience"-style on "What's the Difference." A "biotch"-whispering Snoop and a virulent Hittman drape "Bitch N****s," a low slung, Blaxploitationist-funk-groove. "Bang Bang" sizzles. "Forgot about Dre" cranks.

And the jams just go on and on, way into the Dre night, to the dawn of the Dre Day.