This month 20 years ago, Dr. Dre released his album Back N’ The Day at a controversial time in his career. With this new project, Dre was able to go back to his roots after leaving his label, Death Row Records.
The album was released on September 26, 1996 and featured remixes from songs Dre created in his earlier days with World Class Wreckin’ Cru. This electro, early rap group consisted of Dr. Dre, DJ Yella, Dr. Rock, Michel’le, DJ Alonzo Williams and Cli-N-Tel. With the member’s shiny, glitter suits and funky dances, the Wreckin’ Cru took over the underground scene. Dr. Dre was originally hired by the group as one of their DJs.
Dr. Dre distributed Back N’ The Day through Blue Dolphin Entertainment, home to The 2 Live Crew and Ice-T in ‘96. The album featured old hits along two unreleased old school records. The album had credits from Michael Hawkins, Alonzo Williams, and Dre. Although this record didn’t receive much recognition, it allowed Dre to go back to his roots and transition into the next level in his career.
Dre left Death Row in ’96 after disputes with Suge Knight and simply being tired of the “gangsta rap mentality” that surrounded the label. That same year, after Back N’ The Day, Dre founded Aftermath Entertainment. He proceeded to release his next project, Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath. This record spoke about moving on from gangsta rap to creating quality over quantity music. Aftermath Entertainment’s first project certified platinum, this was the beginning of a long string of successful records.
Aftermath Entertainment has since become home to many successful Hip-hop icons. The label’s past artists include 50 Cent, Eminem, Busta Rhymes, The Game and more. Many of these artists have gone on to create successful solo careers and build their own enterprises within the industry.
When Dr. Dre left Death Row Records in ’96, he took a big risk of losing the success that he had built over the years. Although the album Back N’ The Day wasn’t as successful as Dre’s previous projects, it gave him a chance to start re-creating the type of music that originally brought him into the industry. With this album, he went his roots and came back a better artist because of it.