Following up a classic debut album is a difficult task to do. Many rappers fail to recreate the impact their first projects had, but a sophomore-slump is not something Dr. Dre faced with after The Chronic.
Initially titled Chronic 2000, the project was a commercial success for Dre. The album debuted at number 2 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, with 550,000 copies sold in its first week. Three of the album’s singles reached chart success, the album has been certified six-times Platinum by the RIAA, with more than 10,000,000 copies sold in the United States. It offers a star-studded lineup with the likes of The D.O.C., Hittman, Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Xzibit, Eminem, and Nate Dogg being standout features.
In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Dre spoke about what motivated him to record the album and the doubt fans had since he had not released an album since The Chronic back in 1992.
“For the last couple of years, there’s been a lot of talk out on the streets about whether or not I can still hold my own, whether or not I’m still good at producing. That was the ultimate motivation for me. Magazines, word of mouth and rap tabloids were saying I didn’t have it any more. What more do I need to do? How many platinum records have I made? O.K., here’s the album – now what do you have to say?” He said.
The album’s production was handled mainly by Dr. Dre and Mel-Man, who helped Dre expand the G-Funk sounds he initially pushed on The Chronic. 2001 also helped establish Scott Storch as an important fixture in the production game by contributing on “Still D.R.E.”
It’s listed as number 10 on Hip Hop Connection’s list of the 100 Best Albums (1995–2005) in hip hop. XXL gave the album their maximum score of “XXL” and Rolling Stone listed Dr. Dre at number 54 of their The Greatest Artists of All Time list.