Dr Dre returns with The Contract
By Spencer Yu, Photo Editor
Dr. Dre is one of the most influential figures in the hip hop scene. Starting off in the group World Class Wreckin Cru and forming one of the most influential rap groups, N.W.A. From there, Dre has worked with and discovered some of the most notable rappers in the industry such as Eminem, 50 cent and Kendrick Lamar. His latest release The Contract further cements him as one of the most popular and talented artists in the industry. First released in December 2021 as part of an expansion for Grand Theft Auto Online, The Contract is now available on all major streaming platforms.
This album is jam-packed with well known rappers including Eminem, Rick Ross, Anderson .Paak, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Nipsey Hustle and Ty Dolla $ign. It also featured two relatively lesser known artists with the likes of Thurz and Cocoa Sarai. With such an incredible lineup of artists both new and old, it is no surprise that The Contract is a largely enjoyable album that combines elements of both classic hip hop and more new school.
The features were for the most part pretty good, however, I was left wanting a little bit more from two artists – namely, Cocoa Sarai and Thurz. Standout features for me on this track are Snoop Dogg for his incredible hook on the album “ETA” and Anderson .Paak going back to back with Dre, and for doing the hook on “The Scenic Route.”
Eminem appears on the track “Gospel” with his technical, or fast wordplay which over the last decade has been hit or miss, but personally I felt he performed very well. Although they didn’t have a huge standout moment on the project, the additions of Rick Ross, Nipsey Hustle, Busta Rhymes and Ty Dolla $ign on the album was also enjoyable.
I would have liked to see Cocoa Sarai and Thurz do a little bit more than just a refrain and a hook on the track “Fallin Up.” However, instead of just Dre on all the verses he could have had Cocoa Sarai and Thurz go back to back on the second verse — I felt that their performance was enjoyable to listen to and may introduce more fans to those artists.
The thing that I liked the most about The Contract was how well it was able to incorporate and pull off both a contemporary and classic west coast hip hop sound. Tracks like “ETA” and “The Scenic Route” sound like something you would hear off of Dre’s 1992 album The Chronic while tracks such as “Gospel” and “Fallin Up” sound more akin to modern hip hop. It’s this type of versatility that speaks to Dre’s ability and how he seeks to continue to adapt in the hip hop space. Another thing that I really liked was the drums. It’s such a small detail but on the more old style tracks the drums sound so organic and lively. Given Anderson .Paak’s involvement with this project I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the one on the drums.
If I were to draw one complaint about this release, it is that there is no central theme tying the songs together or any sort of worldbuilding going on. However, given the context of this release I feel that this is okay given that it was originally made for Grand Theft Auto Online and wasn’t meant to be some kind of grand concept album.
In conclusion The Contract is a solid release from Dre with some strong features and incredible production. It brings a little bit of classic West Coast hip hop to 2022 as well as some more contemporary tracks and overall is a very well put-together package.