T.I. & Dr. Dre Rock The Boat With An Aaliyah Sample On A Dope Collaboration (Audio & Video)

Throughout the last five years, T.I. and Dr. Dre have put in documented work together. While Andre Young has no credits on any of Tip’s albums, and the Hustle Gang leader did not appear on Compton, these two moguls have verifiable history. Less than six months ago, Dre’s “Back To Business” surfaced, a collaboration that largely disappeared from the Internet just as fast as it arrived. There was also 2012’s “Popped Off,” which was another track that was never given much label-machine momentum.

Today, T.I. releases “Dope,” a song that appears to be as official as any to date. Dr. Dre produces the track, and returns to sampling. The N.W.A. alum takes a slice of Aaliyah’s “Rock The Boat” and places it against a plush bassline that’s less aggressive than some may expect. Frequent Dre vocalist and Floetry alum Marsha Ambrosius also adds some of her energy into the chorus. While Tip references Pharrell (and Eric B. & Rakim) in his lyrics, this particular sound is unlike the MC’s work with DJ Toomp, Skateboard P, Mannie Fresh, or Swizz Beatz. Instead of making the look too heavily focused on Dre’s trademark effects, the song finds itself in the middle for both artists, just making good, lasting music.

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As indicated by the title, the song connects drug culture to the euphoria of being in love. “The Rubberband Man” finds the pocket of his mid-2000s reign, in making a song about sweeping a woman off of her feet with the good life and good lovin’ at the same time. By all intents and purposes, this may be the proper kick in the door to T.I.’s Roc Nation era.

In a nice double-play, T.I. also dropped the video for “Dope,” a cinematic take featuring plenty of special effects and cameos. André 3000, Big Sean, Killer Mike, Nelly, and Travi$ Scott all have screen time in the Jessy Terrero-directed video, but its plot makes one thing clear: T.I. is most definitely the leading man.

Although Dre has worked extensively with former Aftermath Entertainment/Shady Records artist Stat Quo, he has never produced a charting single for an Atlanta, Georgia MC.