Damn, it was tough getting a copy of this to review. Dr Dre did a remix in 2000s and that is all over the place, but the original version of The Chronic isn't on Spotify or YouTube.
The Chronic was one of the few gangsta rap albums of the 90's that had songs I liked. Otherwise, I was annoyed with how gangsta rap overran hip hop and shoved acts like De La Soul and Digable Planets off the scene. One of what I enjoy about many of these tracks is the laid back delivery by Dre and Snoop. My brother had this CD and played it a ton over the summer of '93. Of the rap CDs he had, this was the one I kept asking for him to put into the player.
Hearing it in the entirety today, what jumped out to me were the shrill sampled keyboards and how similar this felt to when I listened to Kool Moe Dee and other Old School rappers who used the new genre to boast all about themselves. The Chronic is a mix of that Old School braggadocio with the "rap as news" approach of Public Enemy and such. The samples poke and prod at the listener - whether we are talking about instruments or movie/TV/other clips - keeping you a bit jittery and definitely not at ease. The album is really tight with many tracks either running into the next or there not being any space between songs. This is a constant barage to the listener; no rest.
At the same time, there is a casual and laid-back aspect to much of the rapping. Dre and Snoop show their appreciation of movie baddies who could scare you with a detached air. While there are guests popping up here and there being loud and violent, IMO a big strength of this album is the too-cool-to-care rapping style which does occupy much of The Chronic.
Upon repeat listens, I found myself really enjoying the first chunk of the album and then lost interest for the most part as the album progressed.
Songs I Knew I Liked: "Fuck Wit Dre Day", "Let Me Ride", "Nuthin' But A "G" Thing", and "Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat"
Songs I Now Like: "The Day the Niggaz Took Over"
Songs I Don't Want to Hear Again: "The $20 Sack Pyramid", "Lyrical Gangbang", "The Doctor's Office"