Producer: Dr. Dre, Mike Elizondo
Album: The Documentary
Label: Aftermath, G-Unit, Interscope
Another one for the "can it really be this simple" column. Dre's penchant for insidiously reductive melodies peaked with "How We Do." At four notes, the melody is just a hair more complicated than "Lay Low" or "In Da Club" and yet it feels like the most resolutely basic thing Dre ever concocted. It is so diabolically catchy that it almost attains the contagiousness of a nursery rhyme.
Its simplicity is perfectly suited to Game and 50 Cent, two of the most brilliantly dumbed-down rappers of the mid-2000s, which were the most brilliantly dumbed-down years in rap music history. The snap music coming out of Atlanta was about to become all the rage and in retrospect it's hard not to read "How We Do" as a reflection—or more probably, a premonition—of the pared-down club rap trend. Even before the public knew what it wanted, Dre was already feeding it to them.