Fall Music Preview: Rap + R&B | EW.com

Music

Fall Music Preview: Rap + R&B

Dr. Dre, Luther Vandross, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and more have new albums out this fall

Dr. Dre
Dr. Dre Presents…The Aftermath, Oct. 15

”The whole record is slamming,” hip-hop superproducer Dr. Dre brags of the first release from his new label, Aftermath Entertainment. ”I’m my own worst critic, but nothing out there can touch it.” Big words, but then, everything Dre touches turns to platinum: His solo debut, The Chronic, has racked up tens of millions of dollars in sales, as have albums by Snoop Doggy Dogg and the late Tupac Shakur that bear his production skills. That success may have played a part in Dre’s contentious divorce from Death Row Records, the label he founded with controversial CEO Marion ”Suge” Knight. ”I just wasn’t comfortable,” he explains. ”It started off cool, but the more money you make, the more f—ed up it gets.”

Despite its sinister name, Dre feels at home in his current venture, which will explore jazz, reggae, ”ghetto metal,” and film production in addition to rap and R&B. A compilation showcasing the label’s roster, The Aftermath features rap vets King T and RBX, along with unknowns like soul crooner RC and R&B ensemble Whoz Who. Dre estimates the collection includes ”55 percent R&B, 45 percent rap, [but] no gangsta flavor — just hardcore hip-hop.”

That’s hard to believe coming from the man who, with his hip-hop cohorts in N.W.A, put gangsta rap on the map. Yet Dre’s newly positive vibe comes across loud and clear on The Aftermath’s ”East Coast/West Coast Killas,” a killer of a first single, which calls for an end to the violent East Coast-West Coast rap rivalry — and which, in a perfect world, would help get Dre’s message of tolerance to at least as many homeys as took a hit off The Chronic. Last Time Around The Chronic, 3.8 million copies sold Forecast Worse

Luther Vandross
Your Secret Love, Oct. 1

Every Luther album has reached at least platinum sales on the strength of a loyal R&B audience, and Your Secret Love looks to do the same. However, this CD wisely expands Vandross’ musical scope: Songs like the rap-flavored ”I Can’t Wait No Longer (Let’s Do This),” with Salt-N-Pepa’s Spinderella, could push the R&B dynamo into the superstar status that Mariah and Whitney enjoy — and he deserves. Last Time Around Songs, 1.4 million Forecast Better

Da Brat
Anuthatantrum, Oct. 22

Expect anutha slam dunk for Da Brat, whose Funkdafied (1994) was the first-ever platinum debut by a female rapper. Featuring a harder street sound, Tantrum should surpass even that performance, thanks to the production skills of hitmaker Jermaine Dupri (Xscape, Mariah Carey) and star turns by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, TLC’s T-Boz, and da president of funk himself, George Clinton. Last Time Around Funkdafied, 1 million Forecast Better

Chuck D
The Autobiography of Mistachuck, Oct. 22

The Public Enemy frontman goes solo following P.E.’s commercially disastrous Muse Sick N Our Mess Age. Slowing down the tempo for ’90s tastes, Autobiography features guest spots from Shaft-master Isaac Hayes and controversial ex-P.E. member Professor Griff; still, it’s unclear whether a nation of millions stoked on blunts and gangsta poses will groove to D’s socially conscious rants. Last Time Around Muse Sick N Our Mess Age, 250,000 Forecast Worse