Beyond perhaps 50 Cent, no single music mogul has acquired and slept on so much potential talent as Dr. Dre. Busta Rhymes recently explained to Zane Lowe on Beats 1 that his album — which has been delayed for nine years — had taken so long due to Dre’s abrasive destroy and rebuild strategy, forcing him into square one.
It’s a bold and exciting strategy. However, when combined with a never-ending quest for unspoken perfection — and the pesky fact that only so many hours exist in a day — the results mean that some albums never see the light of day, or even get started.
That was the case with the laundry list of artists that have come and gone through the storied label like ideas scribbled in a forgotten notebook. Here at HipHopDX, we’re running down 10 of the biggest missed opportunities.
Hittman’s Debut Album
Lucky for Hittman, he signed to Aftermath when Dr. Dre was in album mode, and consequently appeared on nine tracks off of the 1999 mega album, 2001. However, like many Dre protégés, he never managed to squeeze more than his single “Last Dayz” out of the label.
He left in 2000 and finally dropped a solo effort in 2005, though to a flatlined buzz.
Bishop Lamont’s The Reformation
Seemingly poised for greatness, Bishop Lamont released a lot of material, and should have (allegedly) been to the mythical Detox album was Hittman was to 2001. Unfortunately, well … you know. After five years of waiting for his turn on the court, he finally walked away in 2010 with just over 700 songs in the stash with The Reformation LP dropping a year later.
Hopefully we’ll get all the tracks in his stash (one day).
Slim the Mobster’s S.O.O.N. (Something Out of Nothing)
Slim was another artist whose breakout would have been tied to Detox, with his debut LP set to drop shortly after. Having racked up some writing credits with the song “Kush,” collaborated with a long list of A-list artists for his debut LP, an inked a three-way deal with Shady/Aftermath/G-Unit Records, everything seemed to fall in place.
So naturally, he split ties with Aftermath by fall of 2012, quietly releasing his debut S.O.O.N. (Something Out of Nothing) that same year.
Jon Conner’s Vehicle City
Michigan stalwart Jon Conner was — and still is — beaming with potential. With 11 mixtapes and an LP under his belt — on top of high profile appearances on Dre’s Compton album and Game’s Documentary 2 (among others) — the stage is more than set for his debut. We got a glimmer of hope this past January with his “I’m Back” single, but to date, there is no sign of Vehicle City.
We remain optimistic!
Dawn Robinson’s Dawn
Unlike some of Dre’s shelved protégés, Dawn Robinson, formerly of En Vogue and Lucy Pearl, didn’t exactly have her career in The Good Doctor’s hands. In fact, with all her endeavors combined she’s sold over 11 million records. Her tenure with the label came as she was eyeing a solo career. She signed the dotted line, but left just a year later, releasing her lukewarm solo project Dawn on Q Records in 2002.
But, imagine Dawn on a fully Dre produced affair? Or anybody on this list for that matter.
Joell Ortiz’s The Brick: Bodega Chronicles
Joell’s experience wasn’t unlike the others. Dre did allow the fierce lyricist to release his debut (street) album The Brick: Bodega Chronicles via Koch while still signed to Aftermath but the former Slaughterhouse member grew weary of the wait and parted ways in 2008.
At least Shady put out his Slaughterhouse stuff. [*insert shrug emoji*]
Stat Quo’s Statlanta
Like many of the artists in this list, Stat Quo put some in some serious work on Detox, as well as appeared on various projects that passed through the Shady/Aftermath umbrella. Unfortunately, his debut — Statlanta — was pushed from major label territory after he pissed Eminem off.
It was all love though, apparently, he left with a massive stash of Dre beats and, he’s also now managing controversial star rapper Lil Xan (no big deal).
Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II
The Chef was originally slated to drop his highly anticipated Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II (originally planned to be executively produced by Busta Rhymes) in a joint venture with Aftermath and Wu-Tang Records. But — as is the consistent storyline — Dre was putting all his resources into Detox, leaving the album in limbo.
It was eventually released three years later via Rae’s Ice H2O imprint to much fanfare.
Eve Of Destruction’s Debut Album
Before her career as we know it, 18-year-old Eve (then known as Eve Of Destruction) was signed to Aftermath. As the “Blow Your Mind” rapper told MTV back in 2012, they didn’t see “eye to eye” and the label dropped her, much to her devastation.
After returning to Philly, though, she became the Ruff Rydin’ Eve we know today, so all’s well that ends well.
Rakim’s Aftermath Debut Oh My God!
This had the potential to be legendary, but alas — as Rakim explains — it was like trying to fit a rectangular peg through a circular opening as Dre attempted to have the eighteenth letter create an album to fit the gangsta rap formula that he’d perfected. Rakim wasn’t with it, and the two agreed to disagree, leaving Hip Hop with yet another “what if” to chew on.
Dr. Dre’s Detox
Where the hell is Detox? So many artists have appeared to either bank their careers on it, and/or dedicate a great deal of their time to help craft it. Hopefully one day we’ll get finally hear all the blood sweat and tears.