The 25 Best Dr. Dre Beats

10. Dr. Dre f/ Hittman, Kurupt, Nate Dogg and Six-Two "Xxplosive" (1999)

Producer: Dr. Dre, Mel-Man
Album: 2001
Label: Aftermath, Interscope

Of course, the one Dr. Dre that cannot be called explosive is called "Xxxplosive." Perhaps the prettiest tune in Dre's entire catalog, "Xxxplosive" is built on a sample of "Bumpy's Lament," an instrumental lamentation for the ghetto from Isaac Hayes' canonical 1971 Shaft soundtrack.

Except that Dre didn't actually use the Shaft soundtrack—he used an even more obscure cover version by the long-forgotten East Coast R&B group Soul Mann and the Brothers. Soul Mann's version was even more evocative than Hayes', putting the emphasis solely on a figure of spectral xylophone.

Dre took that line and did what he'd been doing since the days of N.W.A.: He customized it like a hot rod, loading a heap of extra muscle into what was already a classic body. Notice his masterful use of dead space: This was a hit song and it includes seconds of pure silence. By the time Nate Dogg arrives to moan softly atop the xylophone melody, the tune feels less like a sex party and more like a late night elegy to a soundless city.

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