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

"The Watcher" marks the release of Dr. Dre 2.0. The weekend picnic feeling of The Chronic is replaced here by a stealthier, more insulated version of G-funk with a matte black finish. The glory days of "Let Me Ride" and its hydraulic liberations were over but Dre had retained a master's sense of motion. "The Watcher" sounds like a product from an airless laboratory but its flawless surface is the perfect floor for some of the maestro's most rhythmically acute verses. Okay, so the fact that Nas ghostwrote Dre's words might make this the most convincing act of ventriloquism in the history of hip-hop (read the words off a paper and you hear Nas' voice). Doesn't matter: 2001 wasn't about credentials. Dre already had that in abundance. This time, it was was about perfectionism. Sam Sweet