For an inevitable summer blockbuster like Dr. Dre's "Detox," it was inevitable that some form of outsourcing would come into play. After all, only so many people can fit into one studio, and Dre albums have always been closer to coastal statements of purpose than the purity of one man's vision.
So it's instructive to watch these clips of Snoop Dogg, DJ Quik, and D.O.C. packed into a Southland studio attempting to work on "Detox" -- without the imprimatur of the good Doctor. Judging from these YouTube clips from Snoop Dogg's "Doggumentary Television" (watch Part 1, watch Part 2), no one but D.O.C. has heard the full extent of what's been recorded for the mythically delayed "Detox." At various junctures, Snoop points to the man who authored large swaths of "The Chronic" and says, "He's the only one who knows what [Dre] has. We can't come below the bar."
Though Snoop is often portrayed as the goofy avuncular stoner, this is the side of him as the true artist, surrounded by lauded producer DJ Quik, who arrives with a black box that he describes as "every drum machine you ever wanted in your life, rolled into one." Beaming, Snoop picks it up and tells the camera: "This is the cheat sheet, straight from DJ Quik's living."
The reason for the studio work is two songs for Snoop's next solo project and two for "Detox." Yet it's the latter that haunts the proceedings. Like most Dre-related work, there are live guitarists and drummers, mixed with machines both analog and digital. In between the blunt smoking and conversations with members of Guerillas in Tha Mist (!), there's the ineradicable emphasis on topping the past.
Snoop readily references "Still D.R.E" and the wild reaction it continues to get from crowds even a dozen years after its release. He describes it as the "[last stuff], it was perfect. We need to find something flawless for Dre and he ain't listening past the first 10 seconds." At one point, he mentions that "we got time."
So for those looking to analyze this film with Zapruder-intensity, what's clear is that "Detox" is still being recorded and Snoop, D.O.C., Quik, and the longtime West Coast linchpin Batlecat might have a sizable involvement. But we'd have to ask Dre to find out whether any of the songs made that day will make the final track list.
-- Jeff Weiss
Photo: Rapper Snoop Dogg at the Rolling Stone Lounge last week in Hollywood. Credit: Michael Buckner / Getty Images