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DRE’S COMPTON DRAWS WAVE OF RAVES

The rollout of Compton last night and this morning had “major event” written all over it, with scribes from across the media spectrum scrambling to “review” the album as they listened to the preview on Beats 1. The resulting critiques thus far aren’t just positive, they’re over-the-top, gushing raves. Here’s a sampling, which we’ll be adding to throughout the day. Our own review, by Michelle S., is here. You’ll find our initial impression at the bottom of this page.

Jon Caramanica, New York Times:Compton—which was inspired by Straight Outta Compton, the new N.W.A. biopic Dr. Dre was an executive producer on—is a combination of utter confidence and hodgepodge distraction. Musically, it’s ornate and grand-scaled, and somehow also deft. But there’s almost an open-door policy in place for collaborators, meaning attack dogs like the new Compton superstar Kendrick Lamar coexist alongside more dubious talents, like the young Dre protégés Justus and King Mez. (In this, it recalls the scattershot 1996 compilation Dr. Dre Presents... The Aftermath.)

“But those are microconcerns, and Dr. Dre is macrominded. His true peers aren’t other hip-hop producers, not even tenured greats like Kanye West or Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes or even DJ Premier, the New York formalist who produces one song here, ‘Animals,’ in a sort of fantasy-league, best-of-both-coasts arrangement. All of them, even the ambitious Mr. West, focus primarily on how small parts of songs interact to create the whole. You can hear the gears at work…”

EW.com: “Like the city captured in its album artwork, Compton is grandiose and chaotic. It’ll take a while to fully digest verses from newcomers (Jon Connor, King Mez) and vets (Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube), and the variety of instrumentals that underscore them. But Compton also has heaps of instantly memorable moments...”

Vulture: “As warned, it's no Detox—though we'll never be sure what survived from that era—but rather a vital rap opera to serve as supplemental listening for the upcoming N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton. It's a titanic undertaking that folds multiple narratives (that, somehow, still feels like a unified concept) into those storied Andre Young beats, as colossal and unpredictable as ever. While Compton's introductory news flashback would suggest an album stuck in the past, Dre's third LP is as concerned with relevant urgency as it is legacy-making.”

Jonah Weiner, Rolling Stone: “Compton contains some of his most ambitious, idea-stuffed production ever, combining the layered bombast and narcotic ooze of his catalog's peaks with a bunch of bold new tricks. On standouts like ‘Talk About It’ and ‘Genocide,’ Dre and his co-producers manage insane juggling acts between throbbing funk bass, jazz trumpet, extended high-hat solos, acoustic guitars and irresistibly pounding drums. Lyrically, Compton is not only vibrant but full of an indignation that suggests world-beating success has done little to lessen the vitriol that fueled Dre back in N.W.A. On ‘Issues,’ co-starring Ice Cube, Dre declares, ‘Fuck money, that shit could never change me.’ The line seems at once boastful and true, for better and worse: The track ends with a jarring fantasy about a woman's violent murder…”

Us: This shit is SICK. Way beyond what I was expecting. Sonically just unreal, and thematically kind of a companion piece to Kendrick's album. On first listen, "It's All on Me" and "All in a Day's Work" both sound like big singles. "Talking to My Diary" is truly a postscript to the N.W.A story.  "Just Another Day" is pretty powerful too. Eminem's verse on "Medicine Man" is truly unhinged. Anderson Paak and Jon Connor—new stars.

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