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The Past, Present and Future of Aftermath Entertainment

Rewritten By: Incognito on 11/23/01

        This an article updated about the ever changing Aftermath Entertainment. Well, unless you have been living under a fuckin rock for the past 5 years, Aftermath Entertainment was established in 1996, after a disgruntled Dr. Dre fled the corrupted scene from his one time dynasty, Death Row Records. Dre once again started from nothing, but he was free and his own man ready to make music without the burden of Suge Knight.  His label gave him a new lease on life, and The Doctor was compelled to put out new artists again.
         "Dr. Dre Presents...The Aftermath" was thrown together by Dre and a staff of young producers, "The Soul Kitchen."  The album broke in new artists that we haven't really heard of making one big ass demo tape. The only artist that made the cut from that album to still be on the label is Mel-Man. Yeah, the rest were tossed by Dre and are probably having nervous breakdowns to this day.  Dre made a right decision, Mel-Man is a fuckin dope producer. For the bitches that ain't knowin, "The Aftermath" compilation went PLATINUM.  Well, most people look at that album as a flop compared to The Doctor's past projects.  In October 1997 came The Firm, a collective of East coast rapper's summoned by Dre to be the second release on his label.  Dre and his staff of producers had to meet a deadline for the album which forced him to be involved in only a few tracks. Another disappointment, Dre was beat up by critics again, but the album went plat. We would never here from The Firm again
        From then on, Dre struggled to develop artists for the label, struggling to complete records for artists like singer Dawn Robinson, and King Tee. King Tee's project was a mess, it was so close to dropping that you can still see pages on Tower to buy it, tracklisting and all.    "Thy Kingdom Come" was the title, and The Source even reviewed the bitch givin it 3.5 mics outta 5.  Actually, their even was a video if I'm not mistaken for "Got it Locked" in the summer of '98. Oh well, Dre canceled that shit, and King Tee is STILL shoppin the album around...God dam. Dre also ran into a Philly native by the name of Eve, but then was dropped from the label after Dre met Eminem...we'll get to that later. Anyway, the two reunited on Eve's second record, "Scorpion."  ONYX rapper Sticky Fingaz was pursued by Dre and signed to Aftermath making appearances on Snoop's "Topp Dogg" album, and Em's "The Marshall Mathers LP"...then in the summer of 1999 he departed from Aftermath. What was the problem? Why weren't people accepting Dre's music, no Snoop? Or because Dre was all of a sudden workin with East coast artists and the audience just wasn't use to it? Well, just to give you an idea, I have a list of how many artists Dre has cycled through since late 1996...

Hands On
Jheryl Lockhart
Whoz Who
Dawn Robinson
The Firm
The Last Emperor
Sticky Fingaz
King Tee

The Glove
Flossy P

       WOW...Dre tossed them as soon as he got em, LOL. I don't know if that's all of the artists, but I'm pretty sure they ain't on his label anymore. Shit, remember when Dre was asked who was gonna be on his Chronic 2 album in the summer of '98? Well, I do, and the first people he mentioned were Diesel, Punch and Hittman. Their names even ended up on a Chronic 2001 add in The Source back in September '99, guess Dre scratched them out...except Hitt.
        Rewind to '99. What gave life to the label was a white rapper from Detroit, Eminem. From the release of his 1999 Aftermath debut, "The Slim Shady LP", things could only go up from there. The album would eventually turn 4x platinum, and Slim Shady would inspire Dr. Dre to record his comeback album...which would be even bigger. November 1999 would bring about the resurrection of Dre, releasing "Dr. Dre 2001", and taking Aftermath to the top in terms of sales and the rap game. The record was a success, topping Eminem's album sales, and ending up 6x platinum. But Aftermath would reach it's peak in 2000, when Eminem's highly anticipated sophomore attempt, "The Marshall Mathers LP" would excel up to a whopping 7x platinum. Yeah, Dr. Dre and Aftermath had the loot comin in non stop. So things were lookin good for Aftermath, each album's sales had increased since "The Slim Shady LP" up to "The Marshall Mathers LP."
          So in a span of 5 years, Dre has released only 6 albums off of his Aftermath label.  In about 2 years, Snoop's Doggystyle Records has put out just as many.  We all know Dre is a perfectionist, and 2001 saw only one album from Aftermath, it was a soundtrack to "The Wash."   2001 was the year Dre worked away from his label and focused on acts outside the West coast.  Dre blessed rappers such as Eve, Bilal and Mary J Blige with hot singles this past year.  Being busy producing acts outside his camp, Dre released, "The Wash" at the end of 2001 which exposed Aftermath newcomers Truth Hurts, Shaunta and Joe Beast to the hip-hop scene.  Lot of people may feel the soundtrack was premature, as the release was pushed up.  Originally, this was to be Dre and Snoop's, 'Break Up To Make Up' album.  Only 2 songs appeared with them together.  This was a big disappointment to many West coast fans who expected 4-6 collabos.  Half of the album was filler quality, not consisting of work from the Aftermath fam.  The tracks that did involve Dre were scorchers, like the title track which many see as a classic song.  Still, many fans would have loved to see Hittman or Rakim alongside this soundtrack.
         In the spring of 2002, Dre will put out Shari Watson aka Truth Hurts.  This first lady of Aftermath, is a soul/R&B vocalist hailing from St. Louis who is one of the latest additions signed by Dr. Dre. She almost came out of nowhere, making appearances on the Up In Smoke Tour. Dre is also very excited about her record, and it will be interesting to see how this will turn out.  Since this will be Aftermath's first R&B solo project, and Dre'e first since Michell'e.  Dre has had past success with R&B, like with Michel'le, when he produced her album back in 1990.  "Ain't That The Truth" is Dre's #1 priority right now.  He has ushered in DJ Quik, D'Angelo, R. Kelly and Organized Noise to make this one special album.  Right now, Dre is grooming Truth perfectly for when her debut album drops.  Dre and her have recorded about 70 tracks for this album, taking a similar approach to when Dre was in the process of recording, "Dr. Dre 2001."  I can't wait for her album.  Her opera-like vocals have been used on some tracks like, "Nasty Mind," "Holla" and most recently on her own joint, "Benefit Of The Doubt."  "Benefit Of The Doubt" is just a small taste of the talent The Truth holds.  She'll showcase her capabilities to the fullest on her upcoming album.
         Next there's Hittman, heads have been wanting an album from him ever since they heard him on "2001."  He came aboard with Aftermath in April of 1998. His was supposed to drop in 2000, but it didn't.  Then we thought 2001...nope.  With recent interviews, it looks like Hittman's time will either be 2002 or never, as far as a home for Aftermath is concerned.  The title for his long awaited debut, "Hitt's Big Score" will try to be released in the summer of 2002.  That is when Hittman would like it, but Hittman doesn't run Aftermath.  Dre is still looking for that first single to catapult Hitt into the mainstream.  If and when the album does drop, look for it at the end of summer 2002, with featured production from Battlecat, DJ Quik, Jay-Dee of Slum Village, Soul Aquarians, Mel-Man and 5-7 tracks from The D-R-E.  Hitt said the basically the whole Aftermath click will appear on his album: Dre, Truth and Eminem.  Also look for Devin The Dude and Knoc-Turn'al on the album.  Giving that "The Wash" hasn't been selling that well, there is a greater chance of Hittman's album to come out sooner as well as other Aftermath projects.  Don't give up hope on this album yet folks.
       Aftermath is in better shape then ever, and Dr. Dre is gonna strive even more for perfection. In late November, Dre signed veteran East coast rapper Rakim to his Aftermath outfit. You've seen the Doctor get excited over projects like Truth Hurts.  He sounded so hyped for this Rakim album that he had to put aside the N.W.A record to focus on Rakim.  Dre said that the Rakim record is titled, "Oh My God," and will be "The BEST album I have ever been involved in."  Man, I sure hope so.  He stated that Rakim's album would drop sometime in the spring 2001, that hasn't happened yet. This could really be a great record, best meets best type of thing if Dre can release this one. With Dre overseeing the project and producing along with Mel-Man and Primo, this could be all that it's cracked up to be. "Oh My God" was chosen as the number ONE most anticipated album for 2001 by, also on their was Hittman, and Truth Hurts.  None of which have dropped in 2001.  The status on the "Oh My God" project is a lil different than previously thought to have been.  Originally scheduled to hit in the spring/summer 2001, progress has apparently slowed down.  Realistically, I don't think anyone could have expected a classic album to be recorded in just 5 months.  Dr. Dre doesn't operate that way.  Whether or not this album will drop in 2002 is iffy, but with the production wits of Dre himself, Mel-Man, Fredwreck, Primo and Alchemist joining forces with the lyrical talent of Rakim, prepare to litterally scream out, 'OH MY GOD.'
       Alright, now that we've got that covered let's compare Aftermath's roster to the past's. I got some artists that I know are on the label, I don't know if it's all of them though...this isn't official, but I've done the research.  I think I'm very close:

Dr. Dre
Mike Elizondo
Ms. Roq
Truth Hurts
Joe Beast

        Okay, I'm pretty sure for everyone.  Talented bassist/track writer, Mike Elizondo signed a deal with Dre in 2000 to work alongside him on Aftermath.  The roster has some great talents, Dre, Eminem, Rakim, Truth, Hittman and Mel-Man. The lineup isn't packed like Doggystyle's, but is more solid than ever. Dre has boiled it down to two producers, and getting rid of many R&B acts as well. We all know about Mel-Man, Eminem, Hittman etc, but the only times we've heard from Ms. Roq was on Dre's Chronic 2001 album.  Ms. Roq from what I know of is a female MC from Philly that was hooked up by her cousin, Mel-Man. She's possesses rugged rhyme talents droppin heat on "Let's Get High," "Murder Ink", and a couple of skits on Dre's record. Besides that info I really don't now much more about her, expect her on "Knocs Landin."  Another newcomer, Philly rapper Joe Beast hails from the same project as Mel-Man, 'The Hill.'  "The Wash" is where Beast did his thang over a booming Mel-Man instrumental.  The track, "NO," is a song where the P.A. native spits some rhymes to let is know he has landed.  Shaunta is calm female MC who rapped the erotic song, "Good Lovin" on "The Wash."  She is a member of Aftermath now, expect her to do her thang alongside Truth Hurts, and her album.  Hopefully, we'll get to see more of them in the near future. As for the artists Dre dumped, like King Tee, RBX and Bud'da, I think he should have kept them. King Tee was hot, but the mainstream probably wouldn't except him, RBX is always tight, but that goes the same for him too. Dre could have used Bud'da as another producer for the label, he's dope. One guy makin some noise recently is keyboardist turned producer Scott Storch, who is down with Dre and Aftermath.
         Aftermath is confusing, hopefully Dre will learn to have faith with his artists and stick with them, helping to build their careers. For now, 2002 is looking solid for Dre's click, he's hoping to put out successful records from Truth Hurts, Hittman, Eminem and the great Rakim.  Looking ahead, the big bang will come on "Detox," Dre's conclusion to his solo career.  This will be mind blowing.  Dre has executive produced each Aftermath project so far, if he wants to put out 3 or more records a year, I suggest he involves Mel-Man, Scott Storch and Mike Elizondo in doing separate projects instead of always teaming up with him on albums.  They know what Dre wants now.  Aftermath Records is an important part in West coast hip hop, helping fuel the resurgence of it back in 1999...peace. -  Incognito





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