Dr. Dre is the Richest Man in Hip Hop– Now What?

For the past 15 years, hip hop fans worldwide have waited, patiently, for Dr. Dre to drop his follow-up album to “Chronic 2001”, “Detox”. We’ve been teased (see the “I Need a Doctor” and “Kush” singles) & promised release dates by the good doctor– all of which have come & passed, with no new record to be seen.

If you had any remaining hope that you may see “Detox” in your lifetime…well, that’s been (albeit, unofficially) squashed. 

As previously reported, Apple yesterday closed the deal to buy Andre Young & Jimmy Iovine’s Beats Audio, for a whopping sum of $3 billion. That’s right, billion. That’s a lot of green, folks (or so I’d imagine)– enough to likely keep Dre, and any prospect of “Detox” seeing the light of day, shelved for an indefinite amount of time. Possibly, for good.

To most of us, this doesn’t come as a shock– many, including myself, have long-since given up on the dream of a final Dre album. But, like a kid who swears his parents didn’t put those presents from Santa under the tree, even as publicly denouncing the mythical figure in front of his friends, there was always that sliiiiiiiight chance. A minuscule smidgen of hope; after all, it took him 7 years between the first two, and with everything going on, there was no hurry.

Alas, as speculated, Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats Audio (which includes the headphones line and the streaming Beats Music platform) will also bring Dre and Iovine on staff at the tech giant, though in what capacity is still yet to be determined. This shouldn’t make it any easier for Dre, a known perfectionist, to have time to devote effort towards “Detox”– yet another nail in the rap world’s own white whale.

“Detox”-disappointment aside, we should all be quite happy for Dr. Dre– who is now, without much question, literally the richest man in hip hop. Growing up listening to NWA and everything Death Row Records put out in the early ’90’s, one would be hard-pressed to imagine that one day, Dre would be an exec at one of the world’s biggest companies. And, let’s not forgot– it’s not like Aftermath Records has been anything of a “rap juggernaut”; besides for Dre, Kendrick, Eminem and 50 Cent (who’s no longer with the label), Aftermath has been a record label where artists go to sit. And wait. For nothing. Em’s doing just fine on his own, same with Lamar– and, honestly, Dre’s earned the right to be able to move on with his life.

What should we expect from the Apple-Beats team? I have no clue. Better quality headphones, perhaps? A much rich experience with Beats Music, given Apple’s massive connections in the music biz with iTunes? The death of iTunes Radio? Each of those are as likely as the next, but, like most things Apple, we’ll just have to wait until we’re told.

As far as “Detox” goes, don’t mourn the loss of this record that never was– instead, I like to think of this as “Chronic 2001” was a damn fine way for Dr. Dre, the artist, to go out.

Nope, it’s likely not.

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