What were you doing in November 1999? Let’s just keep it funky, there’s a chance you were still swimming around in your father’s scrote in November 1999. That was the last time Dr. Dre decided to up and drop an album, putting out his sophomore release, 2001.
In the years following the LP, the legendary West Coast luminary promised a grandiose project to complete the trifecta, titling the mythical forthcoming album Detox. And for over a decade and a half rap fans (who didn’t give up hope along the way and say fuck it) have waited with bated breath. For 16 freakin’ years we sifted through rumor after rumor, listened to glimmer of hope singles that didn’t pan out and people flat out saying Dre would never drop the album.
Now all is forgiven because (insert drumroll) Compton, formerly known as Detox, will FINALLY drop on Aug. 7. We think. Maybe. Damn it, Dre! Quit playing with us!
In the big scheme of things—like, Earth is 4.5 billion years old, big scheme of things—16 years isn’t a long time. But in the music business it’s an eternity. There are people who are currently old enough to operate motor vehicles and have jobs that weren’t alive the last time Dre dropped an album for God’s sakes. Let that sink in for a minute.
In that time, “things done changed,” in the words of poet laureate Christopher Wallace. While Dre has been selling overpriced headphones and rubbing shoulders in Silicon Valley, the rap industry has undergone a metamorphosis. What was popping in rap before Y2K isn’t necessarily the move in 2015.
Here are nine ways the rap game has changed in the 16 years since Dr. Dre put out a full body of work.
C. Vernon Coleman II is a writer living in Atlanta. Follow him @Vernon_Coleman.