Dr. Dre Reveals the Secrets Behind the '2001' Album to Jay-z's Engineer Young Guru
In addition to being one of Hip Hop's greatest producers, Dr. Dre is also revered by audiophiles for the clarity, crispness, and clarity of his speaker-rattling beats - a commitment to sonic perfection that has helped build his billion dollar Beats By Dre empire.
Young Guru, a longtime engineer for Jay-Z, is one of them. He was a recent guest on William "Fuzzy" West and Quincy Harris' Q&A Podcast, where he discussed Dre's hi-def gangsta rap opus 2001.
“Every room that I step in that is foreign to me, I have to play [Dr. Dre’s] The Chronic 2001 and I gotta play [A Tribe Called Quest’s] The Low End Theory,” he said. “My sound is, on purpose, trying to combine those two things.”
“What Tribe did to me … that sonically just changed the way I listened to music. And then Dre took our bottom end — and all Hip Hop records had a lot of low end — but the clarity that he put into it and the depth. A lot of people can mix left to right and pan really well; 2001 was the first time where you had depth this way.”
He added, “You gotta remember, he’s not only doing all keyboard beats, he’s combining samples and synths together, so it’s a combination of those two sounds. It’s a presentation of how he’s taking vocals and making them sit inside of there, but then the reverbs and the super depth.”
Following the interview, Fuzzy called Dr. Dre on FaceTime and Young Guru got the rare pleasure of speaking with his "hero." Dr. Dre had only run into Young Guru once before the interview.
After exchanging pleasantries and praising each other's work, Guru told Dre exactly what he admires about 2001. Dre then began spilling some of the secrets behind his 1999 masterpiece.
“That particular record, I was really going bass-heavy with it, but trying to keep the mids and the tops right. But still trying to make sure it sounded, like, some gritty shit. You know what it is trying to get that balance.”
“A lot of times, at least back then, I was mixing the vocals a little bit too loud because it’s a little trick you learn along the way, once you get into mastering, if you want to add bass to your shit the vocals come down.
“So I would always mix the vocals just a little bit loud, that way you can add bass and the vocals would still sit on top of it comfortably.”
On Instagram, Young Guru posted the clip with the caption “Yes this happened!!!!! You have to understand what @drdre means to me. It’s more than words can say. I’m literally talking to my idol. It’s him and @quincyjones and Dilla for me!! This may be the best interview of my life. Thank you @fuzzy @quincyharris @faqpodcast for making this happen!”
Dr. Dre's recent Super Bowl Halftime Show, featuring Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, and Anderson .Paak, is giving 2001 a second wave of popularity.
On this week's Billboard 200, the album jumped from No. 108 to No. 9 after it sold 30,500 albums-equivalent units in the week since the Super Bowl. It is the album's first appearance in the top 10 since May 2000.
After the star-studded performance, Dre's Spotify streams increased 185 percent, while his Apple Music streams increased 500 percent.
Check it out below!