From beer to the Red Sox: Some of Dre's post-'2001' greatest hits
Dr. Dre unveiled some Boston Red Sox-branded headphones Sunday night at baseball's opening day game -- a bout between the only two teams network executives care about -- and we can't help but feel a little burned by the lil' devils pictured to the right. Really, Dre, did you have to coat it in blue? That hits Dodgers fans where it hurts.
But the release of the latest Dre-branded/endorsed product would certainly be forgiven if it brought us closer to some actual new music. That's apparently the case, but you'll forgive us a little skepticism.
In a pre-game interview posted on NESN.com, in which Dre proudly sports a Red Sox jersey (we'll pretend this is largely an anti-Yankee sentiment), Dre and Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine reveal that the Los Angeles rapper has a collaboration with New York's No. 1 cheerleader in Jay-Z titled "Under Pressure," a song that sounds finished enough that Dre is already imagining it as walk-on music at a baseball game.
All fine and dandy, but we refuse to get excited this time. No, we've been hurt before. "Detox," the followup to Dre's 1999 album "2001," has been an urban myth since about 2002. Back in 2007, Dre told The Times that "Detox" was two or three songs from completion. "I was really hoping to have it out this year, but it's going to have to be pushed back a while because of some other things I've got to work on," he said.
Indeed, Dre hasn't exactly been agoraphobic, and in the eight-plus years that Dre has spent working on "Detox," his supposed last album, there's been plenty of distractions. Some of Dre's greatest post-"2001" hits -- of the non-music sort -- are listed below.
The world got a look inside "Detox" last year, when the artist dropped a snippet in this Dr Pepper commercial -- an advertisement that, coincidently, featured a snazzy snapshot of his headphones. But long before Dre was hyping carbonation, he had announced the release of cognac and vodka via a partnership with Drinks Americas. Dre is still featured prominently on the company's website, but the booze was intended, according to Billboard in 2008, to hit the market timed to the release of "Detox." Pop & Hiss put a call into the company's CEO to ask for an update.
Here's hoping his choice in liquor, however, is stronger than his beer endorsements. Bar connoisseurs may recall this non-"Detox" time killer, released a few years prior to his Dr Pepper ad. The music sounds great and Dre looks hard at work, but we can pretend to play with a computer, too.
If Dre threw a Windows 7 launch party last fall, we didn't get the invite. But the artist did, however, partner with HP for the limited-edition release of the company's recently released Envy 15. The multimedia bad boy would have only set you back about $2,299 (the HP website says the company is sold out), but the Dre-branded Envy did have a shining pop-culture moment, courtesy of the fashion-aggressive pop star Lady Gaga.
We don't know how much work on "Detox" was done on these laptops, but it appears that in the future, perhaps on a Russian spaceship somewhere, they can be used to purchase pop stars.
Clearly Dre's passion project of late, his signature Beats line has been expanding, and not just to the MLB. Artists such as Diddy and Lady Gaga are also on board, but this is more than just a hobby. A recent Times story looked at the business behind the Beats, and in a declining market for CD sales, Dre has found a hit without even having a single on the radio, as a source "in a position to know" was quoted as saying his "audio line accounted for as much as $50 million in sales at U.S. stores" in the fourth quarter of 2009.
So where does that leave us? The baseball season is underway, the Chicago Cubs appear ready to settle into second place behind the St. Louis Cardinals, and this no-longer fabled "Under Pressure," which Iovine said is in Dre's "pocket," does not yet have an official release date. We asked, and haven't gotten an answer. Nevertheless, Pop & Hiss is hoping it's soon, but if not, there's always Dre's career as a film executive. As reported in 2007, Dre signed a multiyear production pact with New Line Cinema.
Dre told The Times at the time: "When I think of the future, I think a lot of Quincy Jones and how he is an inspiration," Dre said. "Look at the quality of his work over so many years. He didn't even make his best record, 'Thriller,' until he was 50.
"That gives me something to look forward to. Nothing pulls you back into the studio more than the belief that your best record is still ahead."
-- Todd Martens
Photos: (from top) Dr. Dre at the Red Sox game. Credit: Associated Press
Dre's Red Sox-branded Beats headphones. Credit: beatsbydre.com
Screenshot of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" video. Credit: Interscope Records/Vevo.com