In 1992, Dr. Dre was newly single. 1991 saw the splintering of NWA and the beginning of a years-long feud with former bandmate, Eazy-E. Dre responded by forming Death Row Records and releasing his solo debut, The Chronic.
Issued on December 15th, 1992, The Chronic catapulted to #3 on the Billboard album chart on the way to triple platinum status.
The Chronic launched three Top Ten singles: “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang,” “Let Me Ride,” and “Dre Day.”
The Chronic immediately established itself as a landmark recording. The lyrics and vocal performances burned with the intensity of the L.A. streets. But each tune was painted on a canvas of grooves from George Clinton, James Brown, and Donny Hathaway.
An excellent article in The Guardian sums up the album’s importance:
“Part of the connection was emotional. P-Funk’s psychedelic rock was cutting edge, but to those who grew up in the 70s it was also warm and nostalgic, the soundtrack to back-yard parties and civil rights rallies. Combining it with the rough-and-tumble lyrics of gangsta rap merged the hard and the soft, the light and the dark. The sound was called G-funk – gangsta funk – and it would come to dominate hip-hop for years.”
In the interest of recreating that backyard barbecue soundtrack, we’ve trimmed the seeds and stems from The Chronic to bring you nothing but nugget.
But first, a little history…
Leon Haywood–I Want’a Do Something Freaky To You (1975)
“Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” was the first and biggest hit off of The Chronic. It also marked Snoop Dogg’s breakout performance.
The groove behind “‘G’ Thang” is borrowed wholesale from Leon Haywood’s deliciously NSFW 1975 hit, “I Want’a Do Something Freaky To You”
Haywood enjoyed modest success on the charts in the mid-70s. But his CV is actually quite lengthy and impressive.
A Quick Haywood History
Haywood’s story begins in the late ‘50s. As a teen, he cut his teeth playing piano behind blues legend Guitar Slim. He also played keyboards in Sam Cooke’s band until the time of the legendary singer’s death in 1964.
In 1967, Haywood scored his first solo hit with the breezy, “It’s Got To Be Mellow”, which reached #63 in the pop charts and #21 on the R&B charts.
Haywood found regular work as a session musician through the remainder of the decade. It was only when he seized on the disco-funk sound of the mid-70s that he achieved mainstream success. In 1975, “Freaky” reached #15 on the pop chars and #7 on the R&B charts.
By the mid-80s, Haywood had shifted his attention to production. Returning to his roots, he produced a string of blues albums for Jimmy McCracklin, Buddy Ace, and others.
Freaky ‘G’ Thang
In 1992, “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” became the first single from The Chronic. Reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart, “‘G’ Thang” made Haywood’s otherwise forgotten chart entry into one of the most recognizable grooves of the 20th Century.
Haywood passed away in 2016 at the age of 74, leaving behind an impressive resume and one immortal sample.
The Chronic Deconstructed
You can find Haywood, Hathaway, and Hayes here, along with crate-digger obscurities, Old School shout-outs, and, of course, James Brown’s “Funky Drummer.” We’ve got the perfect soundtrack for your weekend, whether you’re rolling in your 64, throwing a backyard BBQ, or just cruising the burbs on your weekly Target run.