Just recently, Dr. Dre collaborator Dawaun Parker took to Jeff Weiss and Nocando’s Shots Fired podcast to reveal that Detox isn’t just lost in the bowels of Dre’s mind, but that it isn’t coming out at all. Rap fans everywhere let out a chuckle —at least in person. Deep down, we all wanted the good Doctor to give us just one more classic, just one more piece of Hip Hop history. And while that might still happen, it won’t under the moniker of Detox.

He’s just become a billionaire or close, and he’s roaming the pristine halls of Apple now, a far cry from the controlled violence of N.W.A and Death Row. But he’s not completely focused on the Beats by Dre acquisition. Kendrick has confirmed that Dre’s been heavily involved in the making of his album. And, in that way, we can’t help but think it feels like a coronation. A passing of the torch to the new generation. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of music to mark the passage of time between when Dre planned on “one more platinum plaque” and the good folks at Apple backed up the Brinks truck. As such, we looked back at some of the proposed tracks that were scheduled to appear on the now-aborted Detox. Given that some of these were actual singles, they should look pretty familiar.

“Topless”

Featured Artists: Nas, T.I., Kobe
Commercial Impact: N/A
Final Destination: The cutting room floor.

February definitely wasn’t a month of love for the Doctor back in 2009. Dre was hard at work in the studio working on Detox (which at the time was scheduled for a fall release), when seemingly out of nowhere tracks from the album started leaking left like nude selfies from Jennifer Lawrence. Sticking with the J-Law theme, probably the most talked about track from the month of Detox leakage was “Topless,” which first hit airwaves compliments of DJ Envy of Power 105.1 in New York. The track featured T.I. and Nas, but the respected emcee duo wasn’t the main reason it set the Internet into a frenzy. What seemed to catch the majority of the attention instead, was the fact that “Topless” (along with a slew of other tracks leaked that month) allegedly had T.I. referencing verses for Dr. Dre rhyming, “It’s the D-R, made the Westside worldwide no P-R / Gangsta Rap god, I’m the end all, be all / California love from the Bloods and the C-dogs” Although the Grand Hustle CEO only hinted at the matter, telling MTV, “I cannot confirm nor deny my involvement in the Detox project,” reports later surfaced that the leak came from T.I.’s camp, and that as a result Dre would not be using his services for the album. Regardless if it was referenced for Dre or not, the leak ultimately shelved one of T.I.’s best verses to date.

 

“This Is Detox”

Featured Artists: T.I. & Kobe
Commercial Impact: N/A
Final Destination: An unofficial mixtape named The Detox Chroniclez (via Datpiff).

Another offering from the collection of T.I. reference tracks that leaked in February of 2009, “This Is Detox (I Am Hip Hop)” also featured what many speculated to be outside production. Initially tagged as a track produced by Dr. Dre, rumors began to rise that the track was in fact produced by DJ Khalil, who at the time, was best known for his work on Eminem’s Recovery and The Marshall Mathers LP 2. Although reports of ghost production were prevalent, no official info was ever made available due to the track being an unsanctioned leak. When asked about “This Is Detox,” T.I. kept it evasive, but didn’t play down how important an opportunity working with Dr. Dre would be.

“If I had the chance to work with the great Dr. Dre, it would be an honor and a privilege, and definitely be a pivotal moment and highlight of my career,” Tip told MTV’s Sway Calloway. The song can still be found for download via Datpiff.com where it is featured on an unofficial mixtape entitled The Detox Chroniclez.

 

“Shit Popped Off”

Featured Artists: T.I.
Commercial Impact: N/A
Final Destination: Dr. Pepper commercial.

It may have arrived in the form of a somewhat unorthodox Dr. Pepper commercial, but June 1, 2009, marked the date Dr. Dre fans and Hip Hop heads were provided with something they had been waiting on for roughly a decade: official Detox music. Although an unofficial version featuring T.I. had been leaked months prior, hearing the beat of “Shit Popped Off” accompanied by the visual of Dr. Dre holding a can of Dr. Pepper finally gave it some legitimacy and made listeners feel as if there was a sliver of light at the end of the Detox tunnel. At the time, the album was scheduled for a late 2009 release, with the Dr. Pepper ad serving as the launching pad for its promotional cycle. But as everyone now knows, that was just a mirage, with the release date of Detox ultimately being as elusive as it’s ever been. In hindsight it seems Dr. Pepper and Dre knew exactly what they were doing, seeing that the commercial ends with a smirking Dre staring dead into the camera and saying, “Trust me, I’m a doctor.” Well played, sir. Well played.

 

“Mr. Prescription”

Featured Artists: Sly, Nikki Grier & Slim Da Mobster
Commercial Impact: N/A
Final Destination: The cutting room floor.

Aside from the actual leak of “Mr. Prescription,” not much else has been said about the possible Detox track. Well, actually, there is one more thing to be said: not many DX readers liked it very much. The track, which featured Sly, Nikki Grier, and Slim Da Mobster, averaged a user rating of 2.59 on HipHopDX, with an average rating of 1. Whether it would have actually ended up on the album remains a mystery. But judging from listener reception, the majority were hoping it stayed buried.

 

“Kush”

Featured Artists: Akon, Snoop Dogg, Sly
Commercial Impact: #34 on Billboard “Hot 100”
Final Destination: Officially released as an iTunes single

Leaks usually have the tendency to complicate and delay music–the majority of this list being an example of the former. But the leak of “Kush” happened to do the complete opposite, seemingly strongarming Dr. Dre into finally releasing the first official single off of Detox. The leak was an unfinished version of the track, which also featured Akon, Snoop Dogg, and Sly, but its overall positive response left Dre with no choice. Additionally, Dre appeared on Big Boy’s Neighborhood to emphasize that “Kush” was the only titular reference to marijuana, since he didn’t want listeners to think his swan song would be an album full of stoner anthems. Regardless of Dre’s concerns, the single spearheaded the momentum of Detox, giving Dre his first solo Billboard “Hot 100” chart appearance since 2000, and resulted in statements like “I see the finish line now,” and “I’m wrapping it up” in 2010.

 

“I Need A Doctor”

Featured Artists: Eminem, Skylar Grey
Commercial Impact: #4 on Billboard “Hot 100.” Certified as double platinum by RIAA.
Final Destination: iTunes single with accompanying VEVO video on YouTube

If there ever was a moment that the Hip Hop community felt confident Detox was on its way, the release and explosion of “I Need A Doctor” was it. The track dropped in January of 2011, and went on to net nearly 172 million YouTube plays, a #4 spot on the Billboard “Hot 100,” and became certified double platinum by the RIAA. Although there were no shortage of accolades for the song, its greatest accomplishment at the time was the hope it instilled in the Detox faithful, which was understandingly waivering after 12 years in the desert. The song was released as a Dr. Dre record featuring Eminem, but it could have easily been released vice-versa, because Em’ not only grabbed the spotlight, he manhandled it, unleashing two of the most honest and impactful verses of his career. His goals when laying down those verses were quite simple.

“The reaction I wanted was to spark [Dr. Dre] even more than he’s been sparked lately, and get him to finish the album,” Eminem told “Extra” when the song was released. The spark seemed to work, with Dre responding, “This song and this video is like the rebirth of something … maybe the rebirth of me going to whatever the future holds.” If quotes like those, an insanely popular song and music video, plus a Grammy performance didn’t bring Detox into fruition, perhaps we all should’ve considered it a case of foreshadowing.

 

“Die Hard”

Featured Artists: Eminem
Commercial Impact: N/A
Final Destination: Fight Camp 360: Pacquiao vs. Mosley

With fans still riding the wave of Detox momentum provided by the tsunami which was “I Need A Doctor,” rumblings of another Eminem-assisted album cut put everybody’s ear at attention, again. Initially rumored to be the third single off Detox, “Die Hard” featured Em’ on the hook and some hard-hitting production. The track was never released as a single, however, only being teased on an episode of Fight Camp 360: Paquiao/Mosley. Although the partnership that Aftermath/Interscope shared with Showtime worked flawlessly, as the network premiered and showcased the song, the fact that “Die Hard” was never released in its entirety left a sour taste in some peoples’ mouths. Unfortunately, it’s a taste that still lingers coupled with a side of post-Detox thirst.

“Under Pressure”

Featured Artists: Jay Z
Commercial Impact: N/A
Final Destination: The cutting room floor

With “I Need A Doctor” wrapping up its surgical infiltration of radio airwaves all across the country and “Die Hard” not being released as an official single, Detox hopefuls were looking to the Doctor for a fresh dose of musical medication. And in the summer of 2011, it arrived in the form of an unfinished leak of “Under Pressure,” a Jay Z-assisted track which sampled Kraftwerk’s “Trans-Europe Express.” The track, which was scheduled to be the third single off of Detox, was also the first collaboration between Dr. Dre and Scott Storch since the “Still D.R.E.” days. Although on paper the track seemed destined to be a smash, it was met with very mixed reviews, scoring an average user rating of 2.5 out of 5 on HipHopDX.com. Understandably, Dre wasn’t pleased about the leak, mostly frustrated with listeners hearing uncompleted work.

“The most painful part about it is that I’m passionate about what I do, so people should hear it in the right form,” he told VIBE in August of 2010. Hopefully, whoever leaked “Under Pressure” found it worth their while, because it resulted in all but completely destroying any Detox momentum that was built by the singles “Kush” and “I Need A Doctor.” Thanks a lot,  guys.

 

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