The Chronic is the debut studio album by Hip Hop legend, Dr. Dre. It was his first solo project after parting ways with NWA over financial disputes.
It was released on December 15, 1992 through Death Row Records, and distributed through Interscope Records and Priority Records. The album’s name was inspired by the slang term for high grade cannabis, and the artwork pays homage to Zig-Zag rolling papers. It’s ironic to think that this classic album was turned down by multiple labels until it fell into Jimmy Iovine’s lap.
The production sound on The Chronic was unlike anything anyone has ever heard before. Dre’s production is noted for ushering in a new musical style in Hip Hop. He sampled early 1970’s and 1980’s Funk music, creating slow and mellow beats, paired with live instrumentation. Thus, G-funk (Gangsta rap plus Funk) was born. This album is widely regarded as the project that re-defined West Coast Hip Hop. It established G-funk as a popular sound, and proved Gangsta rap’s commercial success.
The Chronic peaked at number 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, and is certified triple platinum. It sold 5.7 million copies in the United States, which made Dre one of the top selling American artists in 1993. It spawned three singles: “Nuthin But a ‘G’ Thang,” “F*ck wit Dre Day,” and “Let Me Ride.” In addition to launching the solo career of Dre, this album served as a launchpad for the careers of West Coast rappers, Snoop Dogg, Daz Dillinger, Kurupt, Nate Dogg, and Warren G.
The Chronic was so good, that it received 4 1/2 mics on The Source’s February 1993 #RecordReport.