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Contrary to popular belief, much rap music espouses conservative values and themes. Stan Veuger has taken on the task of ranking the best examples; his list continues here.
18. Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg – Still D.R.E. (1999)
In “Still D.R.E.,” from his first studio album after a seven year hiatus, Andre Romelle Young, or Dr. Dre, speaks to the value of effort and experience. He starts out by painting a picture of the skepticism he faces as an older, more experienced musician:
Ladies, they pay homage, but haters say Dre fell off
How n****? My last album was “The Chronic” (n****)
They want to know if he still got it
They say rap’s changed, they want to know how I feel about it
But just because something is hip and new it is not necessarily better (“Still the beats bang, still doing my thang / Since I left, ain’’ too much changed, still”). Hope and change are not a substitute for skill and competence: “I bring the fire till you’re soaking in your seat / It’s not a fluke, it’s been tried, I’m the truth.” But of course, even Dr. Young’s tried and tested approach to producing beats is of limited worth without hard work. From the moment he wakes up till the moment he goes to sleep, his mind is focused on his professional obligations (“Treat my rap like Cali weed, I smoke til I sleep / Wake up in the A.M., compose a beat”). But that does not mean that he is unwilling to dedicate some of his time to teaching, passing on the truth of the ages to new generations (“Kept my ear to the streets, signed Eminem / He’s triple platinum, doing 50 a week”). Near the end of the song, all this culminates in a warning to wannabe revolutionaries everywhere: “Dr. Dre be the name / Still running the game.” And this extends, of course, to those who believe that a Marxist utopia can be established through democratically endorsed redistribution of wealth. As Dr. Young explains in “Forgot About Dre,” a song from his next album: “If it was up to me / You motherf****** would stop coming up to me / With your hands out lookin’ up to me / Like you want something free.”
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