On nearly every song on his 1999 album, 2001, Dr. Dre finds new ways to make an argument for his own importance in hip-hop. There are ways he has changed since his early days—and very important ways he hasn’t. For those who doubt him, he and his collaborators have no shortage of choice words. A multi-Platinum smash, the record served as a reintroduction to the N.W.A and Death Row legend after several years without a major musical statement. Its most ubiquitous tracks are larger-than-life exercises in self-mythologizing, grounded by the hardest beats Dre and his team could cook up and verses from guests both young and hungry and seasoned and formidable. In his opening verse on the album’s lead single, “Still D.R.E.,” Dre raps that his genre-defining 1993 debut, The Chronic, was his most recent record, overlooking 1996’s oft-dismissed Dr. Dre Presents... The Aftermath. The song perfectly represents the ethos of 2001: Dre reframing his narrative by any means necessary. In this case, it’s with the help of his most celebrated collaborator (Snoop Dogg), rapping verses written by the most bulletproof hip-hop talent of the moment (JAY-Z). Dre attempted to populate every track on 2001 with heavy hitters in this way, combining artists from different regions and sensibilities to make tracks that felt both timeless and modern enough to capture the zeitgeist. One of Dre’s most crucial weapons on 2001 was Eminem, the older rapper’s recent Aftermath Entertainment signee. Em steals the show on three of the album’s tracks, including the hit “Forgot About Dre,” on which he pledges his allegiance to his mentor on the strangely infectious, virtuosic hook. The production evidences Dre’s updated, Y2K approach to his formative G-funk style of the early '90s, integrating more space and a more uncanny, of-the-moment synth template. Few 2001 tracks, though, perfectly embody the album’s winning combination of pop prowess, playfulness, and seamy atmosphere as well as the posse cut “The Next Episode,” with its epic orchestral sample and enduring treat of a non sequitur a cappella tag (“Smoke weed every day”). The song is emblematic of 2001’s brand of bombast—all kingmaking, violence, sex, and dark humor, the ingredients that made the LP one of the turn of the millennium’s greatest smoked-out hip-hop fever dreams.

Other Versions

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada