The trouble with hearing an artist after so many years can often be the immediate desire to compare them to their last work. 'Compton' is the first studio album from Dr. Dre since 1999's '2001', and you don't need to do any research to know what an impact that album had on commercial rap music. But seeing as contemporary hip-hop has changed so much since that iconic release, has Dre still managed to produce something inspired and relevant?
While the record is said to be inspired by the forthcoming NWA biopic, of which Dre was a major part of, it does seem to mix the influences that the West Coast sound has had on modern hip-hop. The album features a huge list of collaborators, most of which are from Compton or the surrounding areas, making it feel less like a Dr. Dre album and more like a homage to the legacy and inspiration that growing up in South Central L.A. had on these artists, aiming to show it for all its worth.
It may not be the instant classic that its predecessor was, but is definitely not a phoned in cash cow either. You can tell that this idea meant a lot Dre and its execution definitely places it as one of the best hip-hop albums of the year so far. It feels like this was something he had to do, and do well.