Dr. Dre is reflecting on one of his most iconic albums, 2001, as he gets ready to mark the 20th anniversary.
It doesn’t seem possible, but it has been nearly twenty years since Dr. Dre released 2001, the legendary album featuring hits like “Still D.R.E.,” “Xxplosive,” “Forgot About Dre,” and “The Next Episode.” In a new interview with Apple Music, Dre sat down with the iconic co-founder of Interscope Records, Jimmy Iovine, to talk about the creation of the album and what it has come to mean to him and the landscape of hip-hop. 2001 was actually released in 1999, seven years after Dre dropped his first solo album The Chronic. As Dre tells it, 2001 was never supposed to feature so many vocals from the N.W.A. alumnus himself, but instead, focus on highlighting other artists Dre found worthy of recognition.
Dr. Dre did eventually go on to play a major vocal role on the album at the urging of fellow artiste The D.O.C. In the interview, Dre also discussed collaborating with Eminem, calling him “the missing link” that catapulted to project to a whole new level. Dre explained that Eminem originally wrote a portion of the song “Forgot About Dre” for Snoop Dogg, but Dr. Dre liked how Eminem sounded on the track and kept him on instead.
According to Dre, after the album was thought to be complete, “The Next Episode” was chosen as the first single. Jimmy Iovine, in his infinite music industry wisdom, insisted that the project needed one more song and that the new addition should be the track used to draw the public into the entire experience of the album. That track eventually became “Still D.R.E”, featuring Snoop Dogg. According to Dre, JAY-Z wrote every word for the song in less than 24 hours. When asked about current music nearing the end of the interview, Dr. Dre admitted he has a hard time finding new hip-hop he enjoys, and he wishes artists would focus more on the art than the money when working on their craft.