Tag Archives: dr. dre


What I’m Listenin’ To These Days

It’s been a while since I’ve made any kind of regular contribution to this site. Work and after-work activities have been keeping me busy, and 4080 has had to take a back seat to all of that. The other day I was brainstorming ways to ease back into blogging, and I figured one method would be to do a weekly post on all the music I’ve been listening to. We’ll see how long I can keep it up, but here’s the first in what is hopefully a long, regular and interesting series of posts about the tunes I happen to be feeling at any given moment.

Freddie Hubbard – Straight Life (CTI Records, 1970)

I bought this LP a while ago (a year, maybe?), but never really gave it a thorough listen. For some reason, I remember feeling indifferent about it. Luckily, I decided to give it a spin this morning while I was doing some cleaning and was completely blown away; this album is damn good. It’s only three tracks, but the first two are some of the funkiest jazz fusion I’ve ever heard. Freddie Hubbard lays down sweet, sweet trumpet solos over latin-inspired grooves by bassist Ron Carter (who also played on A Tribe Called Quests’s classic album The Low End Theory) and drummer Jack DeJohnette. Also dropping solos are saxophonist Joe Henderson and pianist Herbie Hancock (!). But the cherry on the funk cake is George Benson, whose guitar sustains the album’s funkiness, especially when the soloists stray a little too far into straight jazz.

Dr. Dre – “Kush” (Detox, Aftermath, 2011)

Dre is finally releasing Detox, which has been in the works since the early 1930s. The latest single, featuring Eminem, is straight garbage, but “Kush” is nice. It’s an updated version of that classic Dre sound – pianos, thick baselines, simple drums. Akon is on the hook, which sucks, but Snoop stops by for a guest 16 which includes the obligatory “Bitch!” exclamation by Dre. The lyrics are standard, but you don’t listen to Dre for the words, it’s all about the West Coast vibe.

Pacific Division – “Pac Div” (2009)

Pacific Division’s been around for a while, but I only recently stumbled on to them. Comprising two brothers and a close friend from SoCal, Pacific Division puts a different spin on West Coast rap music. Their song “Pac Div” is based on a simple trumpet loop (or maybe it’s a saxophone sample?) and boom-bap drums, but it’s surprisingly effective. You’ll be nodding your head for sure.


Mash-Ups To Get The Weekend Started Right

So I was browsin’ through imeem.com today, looking for some new dopeness to listen to while I was at work.  I stumbled on to two absolutely ridiculous remix/mash-ups, and thought I would post them here for your listening pleasure.

The first is a blend of Beck’s “E-Pro” and Dr Dre’s “Next Episode” feat. Snoop D-O-double-G.  Check this madness out:

[Update: for some reason, you can only hear the full version of this track if you’re logged on to imeem.com. My bad.]

The next mash-up appears like a bad match, but is actually one of the most gangster things I’ve ever heard: Simply Red’s “Sunrise” combined with Jay-z’s “Encore.” 

Awareness Music

We care a lot: 14 overblown charity/advocacy songs besides “We Are The World” | The A.V. Club

We care a lot: 14 overblown charity/advocacy songs besides “We Are The World” | The A.V. Club

This is a pretty interesting look at the nature of those musical charity songs we always hear about. The most famous one is probably “Do they know it’s Christmas?” from the BandAid concert many years ago raising money for African famine relief. Or more recently “What’s going on?“, a benefit song to raise money for AIDS research.

Here’s a little sample of the Onion’s commentary on some of these songs. Below is the video to the West Coast Rap All-Stars‘ “We’re All in the Same Gang”.

Thanks to producer Dr. Dre, “We’re All In The Same Gang” is at least better musically than most heavy-handed cause songs. Ignore the words, and you can almost imagine it’s another prime-era N.W.A. track about blasting motherfuckers in the face with a sawed-off while bitches lick your enormous balls. The problem with “We’re All In The Same Gang” is context. Sure, rapping about ending gang violence is noble, but can one song outweigh the blood-soaked and bullet-riddled gangsta mythology that West Coast rap was built on, especially when the video looks about as cool as an episode of Family Matters? While Straight Outta Compton didn’t necessarily influence youngsters to grab guns and start shooting people, “We’re All In The Same Gang” definitely never convinced them to stop.

I do take some issue with it, but seeing as it is the Onion you can’t really take it too seriously. I think that having these guys preach a better kind of message really may have made a difference. Maybe not doing it in this fashion, but it’s been proven that hip hop can help take away from gang violence. Just look at Afrika Bambaata and all that he accomplished. And obviously as we all know hip hop is way more complex than just a blood-soaked and bullet-riddled mythology!

But hell, any song that gets NWA together with Eazy-E, MC Hammer, and Digital Underground has to be awesome.

Still, the Onion has a point. There’s no disputing there is room for some of these fundraising concerts/songs, and they do manage to raise the profile of some of these issues. We just can’t let artists and celebrities get away with letting this be their only contribution to the cause.

[Update:] Oh, and before you readers think it’s just the silly Americans and some of the Brits leading these waves, witness Canada’s contribution below. “Northern Lights.” from 1985. “Let’s show the world that Canada still cares.” Genius.