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Dr Dre’s 20 best productions – ranked! | Music

20. The DOC – Beautiful But Deadly (1989)

An intriguing anomaly in Dre’s back catalogue. You could call Beautiful But Deadly a belated attempt to jump on the Def Jam rap-rock bandwagon, but it’s smarter than that. Its distorted guitars are based not on heavy metal, but psychedelic soul: Eddie Hazel’s stellar turn on Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain provides the blueprint. Either way, it rocks.

19. Truth Hurts ft Rakim – Addictive (remix) (2002)

Addictive was a track that turned into a nightmare: an uncleared sample of Indian artist Lata Mangeshkar by original producer DJ Quik led to a $500m lawsuit and an injunction to prevent it being broadcast or performed. Dre’s remix is still fabulous: Indian flutes, sitars and vocals fighting for space with high-drama synth stabs.

18. The Lady of Rage – Afro Puffs (1994)

While the Lady of Rage’s moment in the spotlight was brief, it produced one indisputable classic. Afro Puffs takes Dre’s post-Chronic sound down a dark and sinister alley – heavy, atonal bass, oddly creepy percussive clatter, high G-funk synths wailing off-key – while Rage offers a surprisingly woke lyrical stance for a Death Row artist, covering body positivity and Afrocentric beauty. Willow Smith has claimed the lyrics “changed my life”.

17. TI – Popped Off (2012)

By the time Popped Off slipped out on TI’s mixtape Fuck Da City Up, Dre’s production work was becoming sporadic, his attention presumably consumed by the Beats company that would make him a self-proclaimed billionaire. But Popped Off is a low-key reaffirming of his skill: a huge beat and sample snipped from Kool and the Gang’s Summer Madness turned into an epic fanfare.

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