Dr Dre’s Chronic and the Dream TeamJune 15th, 2012
By Gee King
Earlier this week, NBA TV premiered “Dream Team,” a documentary on the 1992 U.S Olympic squad, which most believe was the greatest basketball team ever assembled. While hip hop fans were no doubt in awe of the basketball Dream Team, later that year they would also witness the start of a musical dynasty. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since Dr. Dre concocted The Chronic, one of the most influential albums in hip hop history, but what’s even more impressive is the team he put together to create his dream album.
Hip hop heads already know that Dre assembled a team of West Coast all-stars to create an album that would change hip hop and boost future hip hop hall of famers Dre, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Warren G on a label, Death Row, that has gone down in history as one of the transcending record labels in history. Like the basketball Dream Team sparked the global explosion of the sport, the Chronic sparked the worldwide expansion of hip hop’s sound, proving that rap was far from just an NYC thing. The South rose up after the Chronic and still dominates the game in many ways today. The East Coast was forced to step its game up and the West became ground zero for hip hop in the years that followed, all while the corporate expansion of the music industry grew to unthinkable heights. While we’ll celebrate the Chronic’s 20-year anniversary later this year, this talk of the Dream Team and 1992 can’t go on without speaking of the musical equivalent.
But the 20th anniversary of basketball’s Dream Team isn’t the only reason NBATV’s documentary is timely. This summer, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and the rest of America’s most elite ballers will be competing in this summer’s Olympic games. No U.S. team that came after the original Dream Team has ever been good enough to be compared to the original, but experts already predict that this year’s will be the closest talent-wise. If young stars like Kevin Durant and Rajon Rondo step up and add to the strength of 2008’s “Redeem Team,” they may convert even the strongest doubters into believers and make their own mark on history. Is a similar narrative possible in hip hop?
If a producer with the genius and creative ambition of Dre stepped up to the plate, it’s very possible that they could make a “dream team” album worthy of being compared to the Chronic. Kanye is releasing his G.O.O.D. Music compilation, Cruel Summer, soon, but as much as we enjoy Big Sean and Kid Cudi, they’re not exactly Snoop and Nate Dogg. Still, doubting Kanye’s ability to build and exceed hype is something most of the game learned not to do a long time ago. For now, let’s celebrate the greatness of 1992’s dream teams and hold out hope that this summer could birth a couple of its own.
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