Dr. Dre & Nas Blow The Roof Off On Their Lost Collabo (Audio)
February of 2009 was an interesting time for Aftermath Entertainment. After taking 2008 off entirely (as far as albums), Eminem launched “Crack A Bottle.” Released on Groundhog Day (February 2), the song put Dr. Dre, Eminem, and 50 Cent front and center. The self-proclaimed “3 Headed Monster” was back to close out the decade with the kind of dominance that made the early 2000s so memorable for Rap fans.
On February 18 of 2009, Aftermath launched another rocket. “Topless” debuted on Power 105, courtesy of DJ Envy. The song was said to be a Detox single, and it featured Nas and T.I. While video singles “Kush” and “I Need A Doctor” formally followed, “Topless” opened up the vaults, symbolically. The Nas appearance marked an Aftermath cycle, of sorts, dating back to Nasir’s days with The Firm (Dre’s second release at the fledgling label). The Relapse–Detox one-two punch looked poetic and sounded exciting. Symbolically, it had been a decade since 2001, and Dre’s sounds were brolic in the system.
That’s not what happened…
In May of ’09, Em’ released his sixth LP and Dre produced nearly all of it. But the Detox regimen would stall by 2011, with no prognosis in sight. “Topless,” wiped from many online audio players, joined the abyss of some of Dre’s Death Row rarities.
Journalist/publicist Chad Kiser fanned an old flame today (July 19) when he presented a previously unheard version of “Topless.” This one features D-R-E on raps. The doctor wasn’t just about Esco’ and Tip on the song. He spit some bars about exiting Death Row, something Dre was guarded about in the limited media and publicity he did. “1996, I left it all behind / ’cause I ain’t got no roof on mine / I had to jump ship / I doubled back for my chips / My account handled my sh*t / I never been the losin’ kind.” Dre appears to be referring to losing his ownership stake in the label and leaving the spoils to Suge Knight. Even into the 2000s, Knight campaigned against Dre in the public eye. Andre proceeds to shout out Detox, and alludes to The Chronic. “B*tch, there ain’t really nothin’ left to say / You’re tuned into Detox; I am Dr. Dre.”
Compton popped up in 2015 as the proper third Dr. Dre album. However fans can speculate what Detox would have sounded like. In this month’s HBO documentary The Defiant Ones, D-R-E alluded to making music for himself, not necessarily the public.
Check Chad M. Kiser for more West Coast Hip-Hop content and exclusives.
#BonusBeat: The first D-R-E and N-A-S collabo, from that same ’96 that the Doctor rhymes about:
This appeared on It Was Written.