25Sep/0922

Yo Dre, Stick to Producin’

Dre has a ghost lyricist. GASP! its true! but no one cares, because everyone knows.

Dre has ghost producers. GASP! its true! but, again, no one cares, but because we secretly do not want to believe.

Yes, although it is known that Dre has a whole slew of producers in his Batcave vomiting beat after beat while get drunk offa that Aftermath Fame, it isn’t as well known just to what extent does he have to depend on these stilts to walk his walk.

Let’s do this chronic-logically.

The starting point to Dre’s career was this electro-rap group formed by a club owner to be a mobile DJ Crew. Even from conception, this group wasn’t supposed to be a Dre product, but some people might think that, so in all fairness, let’s just say it now. IT WAS NOT A DRE PRODUCED GROUP. The club owner was Lonzo Williams, and his name appears in the production of many of the groups singles. But, we will see Andre Young’s credit appear quite a few times throughout the crew’s discography with this: “Written-by, Drum Programming [Dmx]”. Little side note, the Dre-rapped single “Cabbage Patch” would be when Cube would start his ghostwriting career for Dre.

This era’s verdict: Dre probably spent more time learning about machines and beat making than women and love making.

http://www.westcoastpioneers.com/uploads/pics/picture_world_class_wreckin_cru_dr_dre_yella_clintel_pomotion_01.jpg
World Class Wreckin Cru

This one is harder to believe because not too many people have any faith in DJ Yella. Is it his pornstar moustache? We know that D.O.C. was in there ghostwriting, so maybe there was someone else ghostproducing? Mike Lezan, better known as the Arabian Prince was the producer for JJ Fad’s biggest single “Supersonic”, plus his electro sounds pretty much match the sound of most of NWA and the Posse’s first album.

But judging by the electric bass heavy sounds of “A Bitch is a Bitch”, I think Dre must have been moving away from that into what would sound more like “Express Yourself”. Into the world of funk and soul samples. And, thus into recreating samples. And thus, into using musicians. You might remember Stan the Guitar Man. On Eazy’s “Radio” he asks “I play guitar on this record, when am I gonna get paid motherfuk*”. This is definitely the moment where Dre starts to rely on musicians to help out. Yella’s drums are a constant during these years. And we still shouldn’t count out Yella in the production background, as “Alwayz Into Something”, “Express Yourself”, “Dopeman”, “Boz in the Hood” all have his name in the production credits. I would love to stretch out Yella’s actual influence into Dre’s game, but the only common denominator between their sounds post-NWA is that same G-Funk found over every single west coast record during the late 90’s, sounds that NWA actually didn’t ever really live off of.

The only other producer that was around in that era was Cold187um (who we will get to within the next 3 seconds of your life).

This era’s verdict: Dre was nice enough to put “co-produced by Yella” so he wouldn’t cry.

http://www.stonesthrow.com/images/arabian/jerrynwa.jpg
Arabian Prince, Heller, Eazy, Dre, Yella

Cold 187um, aka Big Hutch, from Above the Law, had a song with Kokane called “Don’t Bite the Phunk” where he clearly disses Dre from stealing his G Funk sound that he exploits the shit out of on The Chronic. Being a big “Black Mafia Life” fan, I can attest to the fact that it’s true that Hutch was using the same sounds before Dre was, but I have to admit that Dre has his own twist to it. He has cleaner key’s and instrumentation in general. He is also working with quite a few people in production now. Soopafly. Sam Sneed. Daz. Warren G.

There are countless interviews where Daz claims that Dre jacked his music, including “All my Niggaz and Bitches” from Doggystyle. But in other interviews, Daz has expressed how much he learned from Dre during the making of Chronic and DoggyStyle.

Warren G only started getting production credits after Dre was gone from the label.

Soopalfy mostly grew in this era into becoming a producer after this album, but his instruments were in quite a few Deathrow records.

Sam Sneed also came after the Chronic lit the whole west coast on fire. He co-produced “Keep Your Heads Ringing” and “Natural Born Killaz”.

This era’s verdict: Dre had a lot of keen weed carriers that would later learn how to produce.

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_Jp3CKb0Tf9c/SoeB4l5HfSI/AAAAAAAAHKI/_kMlwnAPYLs/dre_snoop_and_fam.jpg
Deathrow Dre

Now it’s no longer fair to judge Dre as a producer, because he no longer is that! He is now a record label CEO. Sure he is his own hottest commodity, but he can afford to walk around pointing good things out and pfff’ing bad things. He can afford to have a producer roster on his label. The roster includes Denaun Porter (hiphop production’s most boring name), DJ Khalil, Mel-Man, Mike Elizondo, Hi-Tek, Mark Batson, Che Vicious and probably a good 20 more that are in charge of bringing hot coffee and turning the studio lights off at night. The only problem this time around with Dre is that he ‘s basically signing his name on everything, even though even the simplest minds can tell that it ISN’T a Dre beat. We kind of proved how Dre was very “influenced” by Mel-Man’s production on Chronic 2001 with a comparison of Mel’s solo work with Dre’s second solo album.

But he has only had one album since 1999, so checking each individual production he has done for Eminem, 50, Busta, Rae, etc. is basically just looking into each individual song credit role and checking for all the instrumentation and realizing that Dre has become more of a symphony orhecstrator than a “beatmaker”.

One example: Busta Ryhmes “How We Do It Over Here”. Produced by Dr.Dre, Keyboards – Che Vicious. So, is this a classic example of Dre glossing over and putting finishing touches over Che’s work?

Another example: Eminem “Hello”. Produed by Dr.Dre. Produced by Mark Batson. Yup. The credits say both.

This era’s verdict: Dre’s getting by with ALOT of help from his friends.

http://hiphoplives.today.com/files/2008/10/batson-2.jpg
Dre, Che, Batson

The next era’s future prediction: None. It will never exist. Instead, Dre will get into furniture design. He will be the first to own a theater with each individual seat with subwoofers under the seats and tweeters in the head rests.

______________________________________________

What’s the bottom line though? Alot of people hate on Dre gratuitously supposing that he just depends on his co-producers like stilts to walk his walk. Including me. But after delving deep into his credits… I gotta admit that not only did he do alot by himself, he also gave opportunities to a lot of talented cats who would almost all AFTER become legends in their own niches. But before Dre, most were beatmakers. Dre taught them how to become producers.

And thats another important point completely. Only in hiphop do we expect every simple sample-over-beat-beatmaker to be a producer and vice versa. In every other music genre, the writers bring their music to a professional who details it all to its maximum capacity and thus carries that title “PRODUCER”, distinguishing himself from the other “songwriters”.

— Cenzi Stiles

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22 Responses to “Yo Dre, Stick to Producin’”

  1. Gloss says:

    A very enjoyable write-up. Bravo.

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  2. PAS says:

    Two thumbs up! Furniture design was pure genius. Big up yaself!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Beatmaker/composer is not the same as a producer (although I'm sure Dre took more credits than he deserved)

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  4. Certified Banger says:

    Interesting stuff! Good detective work and an easy and enjoyable read!

    Not sure how much Dre does/doesn't but what I want to know is how he has kept everyone silent? That guy got one beat half-jacked by MOP and he kicked up a right stink. What is Dre giving all his underlings to keep them quiet?

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  5. Cenzi Stiles says:

    Dre has been ALOT of record industry "ruthlesness", imagine… Jerry Heller, Eazy, Suge Knight… that's more than enough to secure some SERIOUS lawyers with AMAZING contracts. And I am sure he has enough money to pay his "staff" well enough to shut up and do their job. I know that I would happily sit in his studios and make beats aaaaalll day long for a nice paycheck. Dre, hit me up.

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  6. E-mecca says:

    Ny MANHATTAN rapper Mf-Grimm supposedly wrote for dre On the chronic album too

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  7. Anonymous says:

    LMAO @ MF Grimm. I don't even think Dre knows who that is. Better chance Mista Grimm wrote shit.

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  8. verge says:

    @Anonymous- That MF Grimm ghost writing allegation really isn't far fetched at all. From what I remember, before he got shot, Grimm was down with that Dre click and was working on a deal. I may be wrong, but still nothing to laugh at, especially behind an anonymous protective custody safety barrier.

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  9. verge says:

    Great post and write up, BTW.
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this shit.
    Props.

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  10. ian says:

    Eh, I've seen this argument trotted out again and again over the years and it still doesn't wash from my pov.

    First off, being a producer doesn't just mean making the beat. Its arranging, crafting the song, making sure it sound right, coaching the vocalist and being the all-around architect, motivator and director to make sure the entire song or album sounds right.

    From that perspective, no-one can do what Dre can. What's the common denominator with all these dudes cited? Its Dre! And contrary to what you contend, most of them did not go on to become legends, or at least legends on the level as Dre, in their own right. That alone speaks to what Dre's contribution really is.

    Last I checked, Daz, Soopafly, Hutch and Warren G, all talented dudes no question, were basically also-rans in music currently. Some like Yella, Arabian Prince and Mel-Man have totally disappeared as far as I'm aware. Other dudes like Colin Wolfe thought they could do what they did with Dre alone and they flamed out pretty quick after leaving him and joined Yella and crew in the 'Whre are they now?' files. In fact, the only two who seemed to have been able to stand on their own two without Dre are Mark Batson and Scott Storch and look what happened to Storch.

    One day, all this noise will quiet down and people will final realize or acknowledge that Dre is or was (since I think he's gotten a little stale in the last year or two, truth be told) a genius. No one man can do it alone (unless their name is Prince, that is). Ask Phil Spector and Quincy Jones….

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  11. Vee (Scratch) says:

    Only in hiphop do we expect every simple sample-over-beat-beatmaker to be a producer and vice versa.

    I agree with this last statement. But note, it is only because people in hip-hop do not know or fully understand what a music producer is, that they have these expectations. This is where all the complaining begins. Through out the history of hip-hop, you often hear guys say, I made the beat, I game him the sample, etc. See: Marley Marl and the Juice Crew.

    In the same vein that you have a producer for a film or the director of a film, neither the producer or the director holds the camera or are doing the special effects.

    The guy you programmed the drum-machine is not necessarily the producer of the record. See: Quincy Jones, Rick Rubin, and Sean Combs.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    don't forget j-flexx. one of the most underrated rappers in west coast history. got his shit bitten to peices by dre.

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  13. Cenzi Stiles says:

    Ian… did you even read the whole thing? or did you skim? because we are both saying the exact same thing. congrats for rephrasing my whole write up though.

    As far as J-Flexx… I only knew him to be the ghost writer fir a few of Dre's tracks… so no biting there, just a classic case of rapper-envy

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  14. Bruto Lee Onis (pronounced Brutally Honest) says:

    You didn't cover the Firm Tragedy?

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  15. ian says:

    I won't lie, I skim/read it. I guess I misread your thesis then. Hey, at least we agree!

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Agree with Vee (Scratch).

    "The guy [who] programmed the drum-machine is not necessarily the producer of the record. See: Quincy Jones, Rick Rubin, and Sean Combs."

    Exactly.

    And I speak from firsthand experience as I was in the same complex/studio (all day everyday – Encore) during recording of both 2001 and The Marshall Mathers LP (working on projects other than the aforementioned for months – Xzibit, Rockwilder, P!nk, Tim & Bob, Dame Grease – Kobe even came through).

    All of what you hear is absolute nonsense. Dre produces absolutely everything he takes credit for.

    I equate it to a rumor that someone alleges another robbed a bank. Unless you were there and actually saw said person "sticking people up," how can you be 100% certain?

    I would be the one who was actually there and saw that the bank was not robbed.

    So unless others can say they have actually been in the studio with Dre for 14-16 hours a day for months… crafting such classics… I automatically dismiss it.

    I even drove Warren G to his hotel as he came out of the 2001 session drunk and could barely walk and he spoke to me about this on the way (seat ALL the way back – head spinning).

    Ish… I even have discs full of unreleased 2001 tracks that Dre would burn me daily.

    Yes, those in Hip-Hop need to better understand the definition of a music producer (that is not directed at Cenzi).

    But as it stands, I saw Dre playing keys, directing vocal arrangements and orchestras, and tapping out beats on his legendary MPC all day long.

    So from my direct experience… everything people have heard about him NOT producing the music in which he takes credit for is false.

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  17. Cenzi Stiles says:

    Anonymous…

    did you honestly even read this…

    dont answer. I know you did NOT.

    I actually went through and kind of PROVED that Dre is an honest man and has produced exactly what he says he has. I explain how Dre is a producer versus just a beatmaker.

    Shit.. people, PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE COMMENTING!!!!

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  18. Anonymous says:

    "PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE COMMENTING!!!!"

    You seem to possibly be having a rough day – which is understandable regarding some of the responses you have received from the obvious hard work and research that went into your writing. (Yes, I did read it – and it is very good by the way)

    A few questions to ask:

    Do you know that my reply was a direct response toward you?

    Perhaps it was directly intended for those whom might come across your blog and simply skim through (as one has already admitted) and come to the conclusion (that they have already formed long before they reached your home) that once again, Dre does not produce what he takes credit for.

    Please read my response (again) from that perspective, and perhaps you will see what my intent in posting was.

    You must remember that just because you post a topic on your own blog… it does not necessarily mean that everyone whom responds… is doing so [directly] in relation to your own topic or post.

    Sometimes (oftentimes) we respond with purpose of addressing others.

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  19. Cenzi Stiles says:

    lol…!! okay! NOW it DOES make perfect sense… it's just that that OTHER dude also skimmed and I caught him on it.. thats all… not a rough day at all.. life is beautiful. BTW, since you got the connects, hook me to work with Dre 😉 I have been producing for yeeeeeeeeears. Over ten now.

    Tell his people to call my people (sonicwater@gmail.com).

    hey don't hate on me for trying 😉

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  20. Anonymous says:

    No hate at all.

    I will send your info on over (dead serious).

    Dre is one of the few who will utilize your talents if he likes what he hears.

    So with that I say Good Luck!

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  21. Vee (Scratch) says:

    Anonymous, Cenzi Styles,
    I don't care if Dre didn't play the keys, or any instrument for that matter. What most people don't realize is that they are looking for a film director's vision, interpretation and when it comes to music they're getting the producer's ears.

    For years Daz has been saying stuff about Dre but if you ever listen to a Daz project without Dre, there is a HUGE difference in composition, quality, and arrangements.

    In my personal opinion, Puffy is by far one of the most underrated producers in the game. He never really got his props for putting together a string of hits, producers, writers and making a mark in hip hop. Many fans are too focused on Mr. Shiny Suit man trying to make a band.

    Cenzi,
    you know folks ain't reading.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    "Puffy is by far one of the most underrated producers in the game."

    LMAO. Clearly you don't know shit. Puffy is an 'ear' producer. He doesn't actually produce hits, he just know what a hit sounds like and tells people what to do (like D-Dot).

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