By Steve Jones, USA TODAY
The wait for Detox is almost over. Dr. Dre says his long-anticipated third solo album is starting to take shape in the studio and could arrive before the end of the year.
"I'm just now — over the last couple of months — starting to feel that it's going to be right and it's something I can be proud of, and everybody is going to love it," says Dr. Dre (aka Andre Young). "In a perfect world, I'm shooting for a November or December release.
If that happens, it will come nine years after his six-times-platinum 2001, which was itself a long-awaited follow-up to his revered 1992 debut, The Chronic That album's bass-fueled G Funk sound dominated rap for years and propelled Snoop Dogg to superstardom. Both albums raised the bar for hip-hop production values.
"I've never set out to do that," says Dre, 43. "I just make the music feel the way I want it to feel and I don't put it out until I'm totally happy with it. Then it does what it does.
Expectations for the album are high, thanks to Dre's pedigree and perfectionist reputation, says Chuck Creekmur, co-founder of the music news site allhiphop.com.
"He's a master of crafting a complete album, which is rare these days with everything being singles-driven," Creekmur says. "We've been waiting on this almost a decade, and that ridiculous level of anticipation will translate saleswise. It would be on par with Lil Wayne (whose Tha Carter III recently sold 1 million copies its first week out), if not more."
Detox has been the subject of speculation since Dre first hinted at the project in 2002. He has been working on the album, which will be released on his Aftermath/Interscope Records label, on and off for four years. He says he has assembled a new crew of musicians, and the beats will be heavily driven by live drums. "We have an entirely new thing going with the drums that's incredible, and we're still developing that." All "the usual suspects" will make guest appearances, including Nas, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne.
As long as the wait for the upcoming album has been, Dre says it'll be even longer before there's another one. "I'm going to put this record out, promote it, tour and then become a hermit. I'm going to stay in the studio and produce."
But he says he isn't interested in producing albums for established artists. Dre, who previously helped launch Eminem and 50 Cent, says his goal is to find who's next.
"All I want to do is sit in the studio with that person for a year and try to create another masterpiece."