The Chronic is such a game changer that forever changed hip-hop. This record is to hip-hop what James Jamerson, Jaco Pastorius, Larry Graham and Victor Wooten are to the electric bass guitar. There's "this" thing and then when these guys come on the scene there is something completely different that changes the game in a way that makes it clear that anything that comes after it is clearly influenced by it. My brother Sunni Ali said it most eloquently in reply to my post yesterday regarding Doggy Style; "Icons aren’t measured by their talent alone, they’re measured by how much they impact the culture...[Doggy Style], followed by Dr. Dre’s Chronic album was the 1-2 punch that changed Hip Hop forever. It became impossible to sell lyrics over mediocre production after this album forever." Dr. Dre's production prowess was the sound of 92-93/94. Don't believe me? Google the golden age of 90's hip-hop. "It became impossible to sell lyrics over mediocre production after this album forever. " - Sunni Ali @sunni_ali
I won't pretend to be a great hip-hop fan. I wasn't, I am not but I was an adolescent in a time when hip-hop was born and thought to be just a 'fad' and a young adult when the Chronic changed the game. It's like trying to not be into MJ when Thriller was hot. Just being alive damn near made you a fan by proxy. I was 23 with a green Mustang, deep dish rims and "beat". In 1992-93 The Chronic & Doggy Style got as much play in my ride as Prince's O(+> . Real talk.
This record isn't just about hip-hop. It is where funk and hip-hop meet. G-funk is multi-layered 70's funk samples mixed with live instruments, melodic synths, deep bass, background female vocals, high-pitched leads. Unlike east coast hip which, at the time, was using dense sampling techniques that were often 'muddy', G-funk production is crisp and clean. The lyrical content not nearly as political as East Coast hip-hop took you straight into the world of sex, drugs, violence, vandalism, and women. G-funk often uses live musicians to replay the original music of sampled records.
If you are a bassist or otherwise so inclined, check out this article that I did for NoTreble.comabout bass playing as it relates to the G-funk genre.