August 11, 2015

For The Max-Approved Mixtape: Dr. Dre - "Kush"

Artist: Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg and Akon
Title: "Kush"
Producer: DJ Khalil
Album: Non-album single (2010)

It's taking me a lot longer to write about Compton than I had anticipated (work, life, and not really wanting to listen to anything after hearing about Sean Price's passing this past weekend can do that to a guy), so as a way to buy myself some time, I present to you the mixtape post that I was actually going to run on Friday, August 14.  Yep, it was to have been a Dr. Dre-themed week, and your respective God willing, it still will be, if I can finish my write-up on time.  

"Kush" is a song without a country, originally recorded for Dr. Dre's long-promised 2001 follow-up Detox, but later dropped from Detox altogether, and now Detox has officially been cancelled, so who the fuck knows just exactly what Andre was thinking with this shit.  "Kush" is actually one of two singles originally planned for the now-defunct Detox marketing campaign, along with the atrocious "I Need A Doctor", which was just a fucking terrible piece of garbage music (I think most of you two will agree with me on that).  Both tracks were officially released as singles, with videos shot for them and everything, but then they were both dropped from Detox for not sounding enough like the rest of the fabled project (I'm just guessing here).  

The difference between the two songs is that "Kush" is a banger, and I feel that enough time has passed where we can all admit that as fact.

"Kush" is, obviously, an allusion to weed, or "chronic", as it were, an illicit substance Dre will never be able to get away from, which happens when you name your solo debut The Chronic and hire one of the finest weed spokesmen in history, Snoop Doggy Dogg, to perform all over that motherfucker.  Not coincidentally, Snoop also appears on "Kush", older, wiser, and able to afford better strains of that good good.  Dre himself mentioned that "Kush" was to have been the only track on Detox that prominently discussed pot, since he was trying to move forward with his career, but it's not like any of that matters anyway.

The beat behind "Kush" is instantly accessible to anyone who enjoyed 2001: had it not been for the obvious fact that Dre himself didn't produce the track and that it only just came out five years ago, it would be easy to assume that this was yet another one of the man's prescriptions.  DJ Khalil does a credible Dre impersonation with an instrumental that continually evolves while maintaining the status quo, leaving room for Dre and his guests to breathe.

I imagine "Kush" received a lot of blowback upon its initial release because of crooner Akon, who performs on the hook and sings about, well, weed, clearly, and the vocals from Sly Jordan, who was mistaken for the late, great Nate Dogg (R.I.P.) by Interweb minions the world over.  Since "Kush" appears to be a natural extension of 2001's "The Next Episode", I'm positive Nate would have appeared had he not been otherwise preoccupied in the afterlife, and I totally get that Akon and Sly aren't acceptable substitutes for the kind of blunt, blunted and matter-of-fact singing he excelled at, but if you look past the shit that you cannot control, you will begin to enjoy "Kush", a song that sounds great in both your car and in a club setting.

Dre, as always, recites his lines well, "roll[ing] shit that burn slow as fucking molasses": if he sounds singularly focused during his lone verse, well, come on now.  He would have to in order to catch up to Snoop and his cataracts: Calvin Broadus sounds as effortless and smooth as he did back when he first made his debut, except all of the weed he can now afford has clearly mellowed out his flow, making his flow more conversation-like instead of boastful.

And honestly, I kind of like Akon's chorus.  He doesn't get in the way, and he sounds pretty good, embracing the opportunity to work alongside two legends in our chosen genre when he really doesn't have to, since he has all of that Lady Gaga money lying around somewhere.  Sly, on the other hand, makes me wish Nate Dogg were still with us, but that's easily fixed by merely pretending that it is Nate Dogg.  It calms you down, at least.

"I Need A Doctor" was a piece of shit song that didn't deserve as much attention as it did, but "Kush" needs a bit more love.  Without any of those Detox expectations to worry about, and especially after listening to Compton and hearing Dr. Dre's newly-evolved sound, methinks you'll appreciate this song a bit more today.  Go ahead.  You deserve it.

Since "Kush" was released as an official single that you could purchase and everything, a clip was commissioned from Joseph Kahn, music video director extraordinaire and the guy whose ridiculous mind came up with both Detention (a hilarious and silly flick) and that unofficial and NSFW Mighty Morphing Power Rangers short film thing that hit the Web recently.  The video isn't the greatest, but it's funny to pretend that the newly-buff Dr. Dre still wastes away his days puffing on blunts and drinking on Tanqueray, right?

Do you agree or disagree with this selection?  Discuss below.



  1. I liked this song when it came out theres a version with Game on it too where he sounds great. Always annoyed me that it was't a Dre beat. When you wait so long for a Dre album you don't want beats by Dj Khalil although the instrumental is great. I need a doctor too the beat was by alex da kid I know a producer does a lot more than make beats but two lead singles with no Dre beat that projected was doomed to fail.

    Interested to hear what you have to say about compton I like it but hate that when Dre's verses are wrote by Kendrick you can hear it straight away kind of ruins the allusion.

  2. I think this is the best of the "Detox singles", I also like the song with Hov. I agree about I Need A Doctor being the worst, it sounds like one of Em's songs from Recovery, Skylar Grey hook and all

  3. RIP Sean P.Of all the hip hop deaths, this one hit the hardest for some reason. I remember at Rock the Bells I saw Random Axe but Black Milk was missing and I yelled out "where's Black Milk" and Sean P glared at me.. he hated my guts. It was awesome. RIP. Donate some money to his family if you ever pirated his music or just love the guy.

  4. Agree 100%. Good choice. Lots of people weren't liking it when it came out tho.

    The video is weird--all those people standing around frozen makes the song feel less energetic.

    Will be interested to hear what you think of Compton.

  5. I neither agree nor disagree with the selection. However, I do wonder whether MC Paul Barman will be finished as an artist soon or, indeed, at all?

    1. Are you referring to the ongoing "finish what I started" project? If so, yes, even though you'll probably be the only person who reads it.

    2. I am, and that's great, thank you. I eagerly anticipate even if I do so alone. You put me onto Paul Max and I'm very grateful for this! Excited for the rest

  6. The reference track of "Topless" with T.I. and Nas was pretty good, too.

  7. I agree about "I Need a Doctor", and maybe did Dr. Dre too, as he apparently dropped the Detox projects because he couldn't seem to make it sound good enough. "Kush", though, is rather cool.

    Nice post, as ever. And the passing of Sean Price has indeed been quite a shock... RIP.

  8. Any Hip Hop song that has Skylar Grey on it is TRASH

  9. I still want to hear detox