Dr. Dre’s Detox isn’t coming out.
If you’re a hip-hop fan, then you probably knew this already. Detox, the potential follow-up to Dre’s brilliant 2001 album, has been scheduled to come out since 2002, back when Denzel Washington was attached to the project.
But the dream of a Detox album finally died this week when Dawaun Parker, who worked on 2001, said Detox has been dead. Dawaun said that Dre got rid of the Detox name a while ago, and that a potential Dre album will have a different title and idea attached to it.
(Of course, real fans know that the album was dead ever since 2011, when Dre had a hit single, “I Need a Doctor,” and then proceeded to do nothing with it.)
It’s been a long time coming, but Detox is officially gone. So let’s look back at the history of the long, mythical album that we will never hear.
The album is announced.
From the beginning, Detox was supposed to be Dr. Dre’s third album. In 2002, when details of the album first started to surface, Dre said he wanted to do something different:
“I’m not talking about lowriders and blunts and all that anymore…I mean, that’s played. As a matter of fact, I’m tired of hearing other people talk about it, to tell you the truth.”
What Dre wanted to do with the album was tell a story: one about a hitman’s life. The guest appearances would just be playing different characters, and the project was described as a “hip-hop musical,” with Denzel Washington serving as narrator.
The tentative release date for Detox: Summer 2003.
50 Cent, Eminem, and The Game come along.
While frequent collaborator Scott Storch was busy calling Detox the “most advanced rap album musically and lyrically,” Dr. Dre was doing different things. Like building the Aftermath label. During that early to mid-2000s era, Dre had a hand in albums from Eminem (The Eminem Show and Encore) 50 Cent (Get Rich or Die Trying and The Massacre), Gwen Stefani (Love.Angel.Music.Baby), The Game (The Documentary) and Busta Rhymes (The Big Bang). During this time and with such a heavy workload, Dre put a hold on Detox.
Still, he kept hope alive when he said on The Game’s “Higher” to “look out for Detox:”
At this point, the “Detox is coming soon” line had already been a long running joke.
The Bishop Lamont era comes and goes.
After having great success with 50 Cent and The Game, Dr. Dre chose Bishop Lamont as the next star of the label. During this time, Dre was going around toting Lamont as the co-star of Detox (sort of like how Snoop was the co-star of The Chronic and Hitman was the co-star of 2001).
The two even set a September 2007 release date for the album.
Of course, as we now know, none of that Detox music would ever hit the world. And The Reformation, Bishop’s debut album, never dropped. In 2010, Lamont left the label after spending five years not putting any music out.
Every rapper who’s rapped on a rap song works on Detox.
Dr. Dre isn’t the most visible rapper out there. So what little we did hear about Detox came from other rappers who were in the studio with the Doctor, and who laid down some vocals for him.
As it turns out, that was EVERYBODY; T.I. Snoop Dogg, Nas, Jay Z, The Game, 50 Cent, Rick Ross, Slim Thug, and more. Hell, even on “Ransom,” Drake’s breakout song, Lil Wayne said both he and Drizzy worked on the mythical album.
Snoop “confirms” that Detox is dropping.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, long time friend Snoop Dogg tells the magazine “that record is real” and “it’s coming.” Snoop went on to say:
“I was starting to doubt it myself and then I went up in there and he played so much music for me it knocked my head off.”
At this point, it’s been six years since the album was first announced.
Dre starts teasing the album again.
After spending time being quiet on the subject, Dre talked about the album with USA Today:
“I’m just now — over the last couple of months — starting to feel that it’s going to be right and it’s something I can be proud of, and everybody is going to love it.”
Dre went on to say:
“In a perfect world, I’m shooting for a November or December release.”
The year was 2008.
Dre teases a new song.
Dr. Dre got fans excited again when a snippet of a song, called “Shit Popped Off,” was playing in the background of a Dr. Pepper commercial.
Dre drops Jay Z-assisted song that everyone hates.
Before the song leaked, Dre talked about a collabo with Jay coming. The song was called “Under Pressure,” and an unfinished version of the track was released in Summer 2010. The track was not well received.
That summer, Dre and Eminem were both on the cover of VIBE magazine. Dre talked to the magazine about the leak:
“When you first announced Detox did you think it would take this long?
Absolutely not. I thought it would take at worst case a couple of years. For example, actual work time on The Chronic was nine months and actual work time on my last album, 2001, was about 10 months. The actual work time on this album is about half of that, where I’m seriously focusing on it. There is always something coming up. Like signing talent, old and new.
So “Under Pressure” leaking was killer.
It was a little bit more frustrating because at least “Crack a Bottle” had a hook on it. I wouldn’t be as mad at a leak if the song was done.”
Dre hooks up with Kendrick Lamar.
After hearing Kendrick Lamar’s “Ignorance is Bliss,” off his O.D. project, Dr. Dre publicly announced he wanted to work with the young spitter. Although not officially signed to Aftermath yet, Kendrick started working on Detox.
At the end of the year, Kendrick put out one of his earlier favorites, “Look Out For Detox.”
Dre finally drops a single.
Here’s something that’s amazing: Dr. Dre had a legit hit single, yet he never dropped his album. “I Need a Doctor,” which featured Eminem and Skylar Grey, was a smash, shooting to number four on the Billboard charts. It’s also Dre’s highest selling digital single, pushing over 2 million units.
This week’s news: Detox is no more.