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Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre Presents...The Aftermath

Format: CD   Release Date: 11/26/1996
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Dr. Dre shifted directions drastically halfway through 1996, leaving Death Row Records and abandoning gangsta rap, claiming that he had "Been There, Done That." So, Dre founded a new record label, Aftermath, and built an artist roster consisting entirely of new, unproven talent. He also decided not to concentrate on rap, signing urban RB acts as well as hip-hop. Aftermath's initial release was the various-artists compilation Dr. Dre Presents...The Aftermath and one listen proves that Dre wasn't kidding when he said he wasn't interested in gangsta anymore. There are a number of rappers on The Aftermath, even a handful of hardcore rappers, but nothing fits into the standard G-funk template. The true revelation of the album is Dre's skill for urban RB and soul, all of which sounds fresh and exciting compared to several of the fairly pedestrian hip-hop tracks. Despite the success of these urban productions, none of the actual performers make much of an impact -- the tracks are impressive only because they demonstrate Dre's musical versatility and skill. In fact, the two tracks that really stand out -- Dre's stately, sexy "Been There Done That" and the powerful "East Coast/West Coast Killas," which features cameos by B-Real, KRS-One, Nas, and RBX -- are a combination of terrific production and personality, which is usually what results in great singles. But that doesn't mean that The Aftermath is a washout. Instead, it's a promising fresh start for Dre that is full of potential and enough great music to make it a vital listen. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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