Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be the 100 Most Dynamic Debut Albums Ever Made, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
Longevity in the hip-hop game has proven an elusive goal for most artists that helped elevate the music and culture in the ‘80s into the ‘90s. Dr. Dre is one of the handful of exceptions to the rule of diminishing career returns, as the self-proclaimed hip-hop’s first billionaire’s career has evolved as a masterclass in shrewd professional decision-making and musical vision.
Following the dissolution of the juggernaut N.W.A in 1991, Dre flew solo and never stole even the slyest of glances in the rearview. On the strength of expertly orchestrated, sample-indebted tracks like “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang,” “Fuck with Dre Day,” and “Let Me Ride,” his 1992 solo debut LP The Chronic proved a creative and commercial behemoth of a record, solidifying Dre’s reputation as an ingenious producer blessed with superhero powers. More broadly, the album established the g-funk blueprint that elevated the west coast’s sleek and funky brand of hip-hop to the forefront of the genre.
Dre’s own musical output has been sparse during the past 25 years since The Chronic landed, with 1999’s 2001 and 2015’s Compton his only proper solo studio albums. But through his career stewardship of acts including Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Anderson .Paak via his Aftermath Entertainment enterprise and Beats Electronics endeavor, his impact on the music business has never waned and his status as a music icon can never be disputed.