By Oluwatona Campbell and Jourdan Miller
On April 3, Vancouver DJ and producer, DJ Critical Hype released a 23-track Kendrick Lamar and Dr. Dre mashup mixtape titled “The DAMN. Chronic.” The title of Hype’s mixtape is a moniker of Kendrick Lamar’s 2016, Grammy and Pulitzer Prize winning, album “DAMN.” and Dr. Dre’s game changing 1992 album, “The Chronic.”
Hype combined both Lamar and Dre because of the close relationship between the two artists. Lamar looked up to Dre’s work from a young age and as Lamar became more recognized for his talent he began to see Dre as a mentor. In a 2013 interview with MTV News, Lamar discussed his relationship with Dre and the mentorship he provided.
“I worked on it, worked on it, worked on it,” Lamar said. “Finally got it to a place where I felt like I got my point across, handed it to Dre as is — the same way you hear it on the album.”
In the interview, Lamar said that he expected Dre to be critical of his work, and to sit down with him to develop more ideas for his album. Lamar was surprised when Dre loved Lamar’s first cut and told him to release it.
“For him to say that it’s ready. That gave me all the confidence in the world man,” Lamar said.
Hype’s mixtape ultimately helps to embody and celebrate the passing of the torch from the “Golden Age” of Rap during the 90s and early 2000s to the present era of rap that now dominates mainstream pop music. Hype discussed how difficult it was to combine these unique styles in an interview with Complex Magazine’s music blog Pigeons and Planes.
“Kendrick has so many flows, voices, and styles, plus Dre beats are really incredible, so I figured it would be dope, “ Hype said. “I was determined to make it work, but the truth is it wasn’t easy. A lot of the tempos actually didn’t mix well. It was a lot more work trying to find good mixes. I had to dig deep.”
In tracks like “Compton’s Finest,” Hype seamlessly transports listeners to Dre’s era of slow bass heavy beats with Lamar’s fast paced and assertive lyrical cadence. This project blends two different styles of hip-hop in a way that feels new yet vintage. Tracks like “The Heart Pt. 2” and “Wanna Be Heard” showcase the two stories of Kendrick Lamar’s ascension into Hip-Hop and Dr. Dre establishing West Coast Hip-Hop into one complete project.
Lamar has come a long way from where he started in 2009 with the release of “The Kendrick Lamar EP.” Likewise, Dr. Dre had a long journey starting with the rap group “NWA” before branching out to start his own solo career with his debut album, “The Chronic.”
Overall, Hype has managed to connect and weave two different styles of hip-hop in this one project. Dr. Dre played a large part in establishing this specific style of hip-hop in the 90s. Fast forward to the late 2010s and it’s become obvious that Dr. Dre’s work with West Coast hip-hop has given birth to new hip-hop minds who have found their own voice and are expressing themselves in brand new ways. Hype has essentially given the hip-hop community insight into how much Hip-Hop has evolved by blending two new generations of hip-hop into one revered project.
Hype is no stranger to these kinds of grandiose mixtape projects, in 2015 he released “Chance the Dropout,” a mashup of Chicago natives Chance the Rapper and Kanye West. Similar to his work in 2015, Hype combined the lyricism of talented contemporary, Kendrick Lamar, with the beats and inspiration of a rap legend, Dr. Dre. Hype is consistently working on brand new mashups to bring to the public. According to XXL Magazine, Hype is working on a mashup project of Drake vocals over different Andre 3000 instrumentals, so that’s a project that the hip-hop community will definitely be on the lookout for.
The “DAMN. Chronic” is available on audioMack.com.