This month Dr. Dre announced on his Beats 1 program The Pharmacy that Detox was scrapped, but that his third solo album was finally on the way. A week later, Compton: A Soundtrack arrived before anyone was fully ready, with 16 tracks of ferocious bars and top-shelf production. Inspired by his work on the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton, Dre had finally dusted off the cobwebs and felt confident and excited enough to unleash his first solo album in 16 years. After more than a decade of playing a waiting game, Dre was finally back in the saddle. The album includes a track with Eminem, called ‘Medicine Man’ and the collaborators talked with XXL Magazine how the track was created:
Focus…: That’s from the mind of Dem Jointz. He’s a beast, and when we put the last part on it… ‘Cause Dre was like, “Let’s orchestrate it for Em, let’s do something different, let’s orchestrate it for him.” So I just went in with Dem Jointz and just started doing some stuff that’s real recognizable for Em. Instead of just keeping it a regular beat, we orchestrated it. Dem Jointz really gave me carte blanche, he was just like, “Go do what you gotta do.” He sat there with me and we pieced it all together. We had Curt come in, we had Candice Pillay come in to sing some opera parts, so it was really really dope how it organically came together, and how it almost seemed seamless, like we did it on purpose.
Anderson .Paak: “Medicine Man” is a crazy story. That was one… There are always those records that are in danger of not making it and then they end up being one of the best joints on the album. That right there was running the risk of not making the album all the way up until the last day. There was some communication issues with the second verse and Em wasn’t sure. Like, they thought he heard the new version but he didn’t, and I believe at one point Em wasn’t going to be on the record at all. But then he took it upon himself to really go in on that track. And at first, he had inserted an old verse from previous recordings—’cause there’s like a vault of recordings—he put in an older version and Dre left it, but there was a bridge they didn’t like. So I wrote my little part and I wasn’t even sure what they were going to think. That was a process. And when Em finally heard it he was like, “Woah.” He loved everything about it. So he wrote that crazy verse.
Candice Pillay: That’s my baby right there. I just wanted something that showcased what I want to sound like myself as an artist and what that is is really different to the sound that you hear on the Compton album. The “Medicine Man” record is a far reach from the other songs; it’s a little bit more alternative and it’s hard sometimes to sell that when everything they’re getting is more soulful, so I had to find a way to be on that record. Me and Dre had the idea to sing my vocals with a very sample-sounding hook on his beat and I was really writing about how I felt about the industry and music, life in general and how I was feeling invincible at the time. I was really speaking from the heart on that hook and I went in with a sweet voice, but I had to add some attitude to the record, so Dre loved it.
For the bridge we brought in Anderson .Paak, and he’s an amazing vocalist. He got on the beginning of the track and killed it. And then the only person at the time that we thought we could put on the record was Marshall, because it sounded like an Eminem record. We didn’t have Em in mind when we first made the record, we were just making a record. We knew Eminem was busy working on other stuff, but Dre sent it to him and he loved it and Eminem was the last part of the record.
Check the full interview on XXL, how every track on the album was made.