Dr Dre - 2001 (2LP)
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The Slim Shady LP announced not only Eminem's arrival, but it established that his producer Dr. Dre was anything but passé, thereby raising expectations for 2001, the long-anticipated sequel to The Chronic. It suggested that 2001 wouldn't simply be recycled Chronic, and, musically speaking, that's more or less true. He's pushed himself hard, finding new variations in the formula by adding ominous strings, soulful vocals, and reggae, resulting in fairly interesting re-contextualizations. Padded out to 22 tracks, 2001 isn't as consistent or striking as Slim Shady, but the music is always brimming with character.