Nov. 16 marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Dr. Dre's classic 2001, the still-relevant sophomore album from the industry icon that arrived a full seven years after his debut The Chronic. In the anniversary spirit, Apple Music has shared a new mini-doc on the creative bursts that ultimately sparked the album, which serves as one of many milestones in the unique artistic relationship between Dre and Jimmy Iovine.
Near the top of the special Apple drop, Dre recalled where his head was at as he entered the 2001 era.
"The 90s were just like, hip-hop was a contact sport," he said. "All of a sudden, I'm on my own again and I have to go find new artists and new musicians to work with. Fortunately for me, I had done it once before when I separated myself from Eazy-E, Jerry Heller, Ruthless, and what have you. So I know what starting over feels like. But the second time, I had Jimmy."
As Iovine explained, Dre's approach has always been focused on the journey of inspiration as opposed to the chasing of commercial success.
"There are some artists in music that all they are [doing] is searching for inspiration and then there are artists that are just searching for hits," Iovine said. "He's only searching for inspiration and if hits come, great."
Prior to the album coming together, Dre was introduced to the music of Eminem, whose first two albums would go on to become classics in their own right. Dre credits this introduction with reviving his own creative spirit, marking a partnership that greatly informed the 2001 vibes.
"Eminem was the missing link," he said. "Hearing that demo with Eminem and how it made me feel and then meeting him and how we saw eye-to-eye as far as the work goes and what we wanted to do in the studio, he was hungry and I was hungry. . . We just clicked and that just brought everything and everybody together that was happening at that time."
For greater insight on the importance of Dre and Iovine's symbiotic relationship, checking out the HBO doc The Defiant Ones.