Rapper Kendrick Lamar has released three studio albums via a partnership between Aftermath Entertainment and Top Dawg Entertainment.
When super-producer/rapper Dr. Dre left the “untouchable” Death Row Records, his career seemed influx.
His attempt to leave gangsta rap behind with the “Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath” compilation album and it’s lead single “Been There, Done That” fell on deaf ears.
The New York super-group The Firm, which consisted of Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ and Nature, flopped.
However, when a White boy from Detroit named Eminem fell in Dre’s lap, Aftermath Entertainment found new life.
Once again Dre found his stride again as a solo artist, releasing classic solo albums, “2001” and “Compton.”
The Compton, Calif. native also found his golden ear again discovering music legends like 50 Cent, The Game, Kendrick Lamar and Anderson. Paak.
In honor of Dre’s upcoming performance at the Super Bowl, RegalMag.com has selected the 10 best songs from the Aftermath Entertainment catalogue.
Be sure to tell Regal what it got right, and why the writers of the magazine have possibly lost their minds with their choices.
- “Lose Yourself” by Eminem—Marshall Mathers made history with this joint, becoming the first hip-hop song to win an Academy Award. Eminem, infamously, did not show up the year he received the award. However, he made up for it years later with a surprise performance at the Oscars. Who can’t relate to having one opportunity to make one’s dreams come true? Do you rise to the occasion or fail miserably?
- “Dreams” by The Game—The Game’s Aftermath Entertainment tenure did not last long. However, his impact still resonates as he brought the spotlight back to West Coast emcees in the early 2000s with his turbulent stories as a Bloods gang member combined with his lyrical prowess. “Dreams” told Game’s rags to riches story of getting shot five times, learning to rap while in the hospital to becoming the savior of West Coast hip-hop.
- “Stan” by Eminem—Haters can say what they want about Black people not jamming Eminem at cookouts and parties, but non-haters know of his impact (lyrically and emotionally) on hip-hop music. One of the coldest behind the mic as far as bars are concerned, knows how to tug at listeners’ hearts as well. “Stan” tells the story of an obsessed Eminem fan who kills himself and his pregnant girlfriend after getting shunned by his favorite rapper.
- “Forgot About Dre” by Dr. Dre featuring Eminem—It is hard to imagine a time when a generation of rap fans did not appreciate the accomplishments of Dr. Dre, the producer behind classic albums by N.W.A, Eazy-E, The D.O.C., Snoop Doggy Dogg and Michel’le. But by the late 1990s, some hip-hop heads started viewing Dre as a has been. “Forgot About Dre” reminded the haters that a musical genius always has a place in the game because classics trump trends.
- “Backseat Freestyle” by Kendrick Lamar—This Compton, Calif. native went against the grain for Dr. Dre proteges because K-Dot had more of a conscious rap style and not as much of a hardcore or gangsta rap style. But despite the consciousness of some of his rhymes, Kendrick Lamar showed he could be just as profane as his predecessors and could spaz out viciously on a freestyle. Along with “Mo City Don” by Z-Ro, this might be the only other freestyle that could light up a nightclub.
- “Poetic Justice” by Kendrick Lamar featuring Drake—When rappers can sample a soft R&B song like “Any Time, Any Place” by Janet Jackson and not get viewed as weak, they have some serious talent and serious clout in the rap game. And with rap titans like Kendrick Lamar and Drake collaborating, anything other than an epic song would not be tolerated. The Top Dawg Entertainment veteran wanted Jackson for the video. But with Drake and Kendrick on a song dedicated to the ladies, that is enough star power by itself.
- “21 Questions” by 50 Cent featuring Nate Dogg—50 Cent built a buzz in the streets by dissing Ja Rule and his habit of making music for the ladies and not the streets. But 50 was never a fool when it comes to business. He knew he needed the streets and the ladies to have longevity in the game. His song resonates with men because every man on top of his game has wondered would his woman still love him if he lost all his material possessions, success and wealth.
- “Leave the Door Open” by Silk Sonic—Dr. Dre has released R&B albums on his labels like Truth Hurts’ album “Truthfully Speaking.” But no R&B album on Aftermath or Death Row created the type of excitement as Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak’s Silk Sonic collaboration. The lead single “Leave the Door Open,” released with Atlantic Records, brought old school R&B back with lyrics about love, great vocals and live musicianship.
- “Humble” by Kendrick Lamar—The key to a timeless song is its relatability to everyday life. Many rap fans cannot relate to Rolls Royces and Rolexes. However, they can relate to humble beginnings before reaching success like Kendrick Lamar talks about on “Humble.” Many can remember eating syrup sandwiches as a child only to see their hard work pay off to the point where someone must tell them to be humble. What a feeling.
- “In Da Club” by 50 Cent—Dr. Dre produced songs have a way of changing the direction of urban music. When the song “Straight Outta Compton” hit it brought gangsta rap to the masses. When “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang” hit a few years later, it brought gangsta rap to the mainstream and the pop charts. When Eminem’s “My Name Is” dropped it changed the perception of White rappers. And when 50 Cent dropped “In Da Club” and the album “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” it changed hip-hop too, bringing back the gangsta sound and ushering out the pop/love song vibe that rappers were on in 2003. And that beat by Dre, still knocks almost two decades after the fact.