Dr. Dre’s 2001 album is a year away from adulthood as it celebrates its 17th anniversary today (November 16). Back in 1999 — don’t let the title fool you — the N.W.A member unleashed his second studio album via his Aftermath Entertainment and wowed the world with what Demrick calls the “perfect album.”
In an interview with Unique Access Ent., Demrick elaborates on why 2001 is one of his favorite albums. The Philly-born rapper explains the hype surrounding the project after Dr. Dre had dropped The Chronic and was building momentum for his featured artists, including Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Xzibit and 6Two as well as one more budding star.
“I just felt like we were anticipating it because of Eminem and all that hype that was going on,” Demrick says. “He was making so much good music at the time. His production was crazy. I liked how that always had the marijuana theme to it.”
Even though Eminem isn’t exactly known for his weed raps or even his gangsta music, somehow he seemed to be the magic ingredient to making this statement nearly two decades ago.
“He seemed like the wild card. He seemed like you know somebody whose skill was just you couldn’t not pay attention to it,” Demrick, who released his Collect Call album earlier this year, says. “It was gonna catch you. And the things that he was saying, he may not be a part of the gang element side of it or the gangster rap side of it, but you definitely caught the vibe that he didn’t really give a fuck. He’ll be the guy in the crew that’ll get to roll out just ’cause he don’t care. I think at that time especially, that music and what Eminem was doing and what Dre was doing and the way that he got Snoop and X and Kurupt, there’s just so much shit on there that’s so good.”
Demrick shares that 2001 has served as a template for him as he’s released his own music. He details how each element of the album process is one he tries to follow. And even as Dre is generally known more for his production than his rapping, Demrick says he’s still one of the best to do it.
“I was just seeing how an album got put together and how somebody could be, it’s a Dre album, but he would just place himself in there at the perfect spots,” he explains. “And he got a cast of people around him to make it just a perfect piece of art in my opinion. For me, it’s something that I can listen to today even when I’m mixing my albums. It’s like we still will A and B, the quality level to something that was made even then and see if we can even come close to it what they were doing sonically.”
Like most rap fans, the Scott Storch-produced “Still D.R.E.” is a standout track to Demrick from 2001. He remembers growing up in Philadelphia dreaming of what was going on over on the West Coast, which led him to make his big move to join the music industry.
“That’s part of the reason why I wanted to move from Philly to Cali,” he says. “That was one of the reasons ’cause that music, it was all I was listening to. When you were out there living in Philly, you wouldn’t think, we were listening to Jay Z, we were listening to everything that was going on, but I also just was a big Eminem fan. I was a big Dr. Dre fan. Those were the instrumentals, I remember, he released an instrumental version of that record. I remember going and getting that and writing some of my beginning raps over that. Or I used to like getting drunk with the homies and freestyle over those beats.”
For Demrick, 2001 is one of the greatest rap albums because it was a complete project. It stands the test of time while bringing the listener back to the millennium, capturing them in a sonic haven.
“I felt like the records just had a flow, they picked a flow of the album that made you continue to want to listen,” he says. “Those records, they don’t get old. You know how you can put certain music to a point in your life? So for me, it’s almost like nostalgic when I listen to that album, but the quality of that engineering and the production that he picked on there and who he chose to put on the records, I just felt like that’s perfect music, I guess. That’s why the album, it’s very soothing to the ears. You try to look for a musical experience that you can, has peaks, highs, lows. You know when you make an album, you want all those pieces on there and even his skits and everything that he did, I would put that as a perfect album.”
Watch Demrick discussing the importance of Dr. Dre’s 2001 album below: