This weekend, Dr. Dre made an extraordinary announcement: Detox, the career capstone LP that he spent 13 years finessing while fending off torrents of flop sweat, has been scuttled. “I didn’t like it. It wasn’t good,” Dre admitted Saturday on his Beats 1 radio show, The Pharmacy, officially pulling the plug on one of the longest-running pop-star boondoggles ever. Instead, Dre will release a different record, Compton: A Soundtrack, on Friday exclusively through iTunes and Apple Music, relegating Detox unceremoniously to the historical dustbin of “lost” albums.
The Detox news seems significant for how insignificant it is. Detox was one of the most anticipated records of all time, a would-be masterpiece said to be “the most advanced rap album” with “12 or 13 singles.” But in the end, Detox was reduced to a music-geek punch line, a hip-hop Chinese Democracy that Dre couldn’t bring himself to finish. Now, there doesn’t appear to be much interest in even hearing Detox.1 Dre’s contention that Detox “wasn’t good” seems all too plausible; less-than-promising leaks from the Detox sessions started appearing online in 2009, followed by the turgid singles “Kush” and “I Need a Doctor” in 2010 and 2011. It all teased a record that was never going to arrive.