In 2015, in conjunction with his co-production of N.W.A. biopic, Straight Outta Compton, the good doctor released Compton . It was the first release under Dre’s name since 2001 and involved a familiar cast, as well as new talents under Dre’s tutelage.
Aside from the actual leak of “Mr. Prescription,” not much else has been said about the possible Detox track. Well, actually, there is one more thing to be said: not many DX readers liked it very much. The track, which featured Sly, Nikki Grier, and Slim Da Mobster, averaged a user rating of 2.59 on HipHopDX, with an average rating of 1. Whether it would have actually ended up on the album remains a mystery. But judging from listener reception, the majority were hoping it stayed buried.
Featured Artists: Eminem, Skylar Grey Commercial Impact: #4 on Billboard “Hot 100.” Certified as double platinum by RIAA. Final Destination: iTunes single with accompanying VEVO video on YouTube.
“The reaction I wanted was to spark [Dr. Dre] even more than he’s been sparked lately, and get him to finish the album,” Eminem told “Extra” when the song was released. The spark seemed to work, with Dre responding, “This song and this video is like the rebirth of something … maybe the rebirth of me going to whatever the future holds.” If quotes like those, an insanely popular song and music video, plus a Grammy performance didn’t bring Detox into fruition, perhaps we all should’ve considered it a case of foreshadowing.
Just recently, Dr. Dre collaborator Dawaun Parker took to Jeff Weiss and Nocando’s Shots Fired podcast to reveal that Detox isn’t just lost in the bowels of Dre’s mind, but that it isn’t coming out at all. Rap fans everywhere let out a chuckle —at least in person. Deep down, we all wanted the good Doctor to give us just one more classic, just one more piece of Hip Hop history. And while that might still happen, it won’t under the moniker of Detox .
Here’s one glaring hint that “Topless” is an incomplete demo: Dr. Dre doesn’t actually rap on it. Instead, the song opens with T.I. delivering a sick verse that’s evidently meant to come out of Dre’s mouth. (“Look, Eazy, ain’t a damn thing changed, I promise/Still live like we did back on Straight Outta Compton …”) It’s widely known that Dr. Dre gets the best lyricists in the game to draft verses for him — check how he flowed exactly like Eminem on “Forgot About Dre,” or like credited cowriter Jay-Z on “Still D.R.E.” How cool is it to hear T.I. demonstrating his ghostwriting contribution first-hand? Nas’ guest verse, on the other hand, seems intended to be rapped by Nas as-is, and it’s another winner, packed with the kind of intricate imagery that only God’s Son can pull off.
February definitely wasn’t a month of love for the Doctor back in 2009. Dre was hard at work in the studio working on Detox (which at the time was scheduled for a fall release), when seemingly out of nowhere tracks from the album started leaking left like nude selfies from Jennifer Lawrence. Sticking with the J-Law theme, probably the most talked about track from the month of Detox leakage was “Topless,” which first hit airwaves compliments of DJ Envy of Power 105.1 in New York. The track featured T.I. and Nas, but the respected emcee duo wasn’t the main reason it set the Internet into a frenzy. What seemed to catch the majority of the attention instead, was the fact that “Topless” (along with a slew of other tracks leaked that month) allegedly had T.I. referencing verses for Dr. Dre rhyming, “It’s the D-R, made the Westside worldwide no P-R / Gangsta Rap god, I’m the end all, be all / California love from the Bloods and the C-dogs” Although the Grand Hustle CEO only hinted at the matter, telling MTV, “I cannot confirm nor deny my involvement in the Detox project,” reports later surfaced that the leak came from T.I.’s camp, and that as a result Dre would not be using his services for the album. Regardless if it was referenced for Dre or not, the leak ultimately shelved one of T.I.’s best verses to date.