Those frantically repeating piano keys have been able to captivate a few generations of hip-hop fans. “Still Dre” possibly has one of the most iconic beats created by the song’s producer and rapper, Dr. Dre. With this song, Dre not only established himself as one of the elite producers but also a notorious rapper. Backed by his prodigal son, Snoop Dogg, “Still Dre” is one of the most famous and influential songs of our generation.
“Still Dre” was released as the lead single from Dr. Dre’s second studio album ‘2001,’ released in 1999. They were truly ahead of the times with this classic song and the album, which succeeded arguably one of the best albums of all time ‘The Chronic.’ However, the ‘2001’ album became Dre’s biggest commercial success with 6x multi-platinum sales in the US alone.
“Still Dre” was released seven years after ‘The Chronic’ album release and the paradigm shift created by the album was fading away. Dr. Dre was busy behind the scenes, co-founding ‘Death Row Records’ with Suge Knight, leaving this label, and joining Aftermath Entertainment. In 1998, Aftermath Entertainment signed Eminem, which proved to be the biggest turning point for the record label.
The iconic piano strokes are by Scott Storch. As the lore goes, one night at the studio, Scott was playing this keyboard progression loop and Jimmy Iovine walked in on it and said “there it is.” The rest is history. The drums on “Still Dre” are by both Dre and Mel-Man.
Despite being labeled as an iconic ‘Dr. Dre’ record, “Still Dre” was written by Jay-Z. This goes on to show the skill of Jay-Z to sink into the shoes of Dre. Snoop Dogg talked about the songwriting process in a later interview with GGN News;
“We was trying to write “Still D.R.E.”, we all took a shot at it, but we all couldn’t come up with nothing as dope as Jay-Z. So we had to take a backseat and say, ‘Okay, his shit is doper than everybody else’s shit that had done wrote something, so he’s the winner, we gonna do what he say’, and at the same time he wrote it in the same vein as if we wrote it, because he understood what he was writing for.”
According to Dre, Jay-Z took less than 24 hours to write the entire song.
In an interview with LeBron James‘, Jay-Z talked about his thought process behind writing “Still Dre;”
“You gotta have somewhat like reverence for them…you know the music they were making, The Chronic, and all that. In order for me to like really get the essence of Dre and Snoop had to be like a study, a reverance of what they were doing. To say like, even out myself in their shoes…”
“Still Dre” reached #93 on Billboard Hot 100 Chart on debut, a major accomplishment for gangsta rap at the time. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg took the stage of the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show in 2022 and closed their act with a live rendition of “Still Dre.” This got the song trending on Apple Music for the first time and pushed the official music across the coveted 1 billion views mark — first for both Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.
Listen to “Still Dre” by Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg
Download “Still Dre” Single on Apple Music & Amazon
Dr. Dre “Still Dre” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
“Still Dre” is Dr. Dre’s braggadocious return to hip-hop since his infamous ‘The Chronic’ album release seven years ago. If Dre’s name was fleeing from fans’ minds, this was the track to put it back and leave a permanent imprint forever.
Dr. Dre talks about his influence all across the music space. From the streets to sold-out concerts, Dre’s imprint on music was well-known back in the day. Dre was a key player of the legendary hip-hop collective N.W.A. The group fell off with the death of its frontman Eazy-E.
Ladies they pay homage, but haters say Dre fell off
How? N*gga, my last album was The Chronic…
Dre reminds all of us that his last album was the iconic ‘The Chronic.’ A skillset that produced an album like that doesn’t easily fall off. He got busy with other endeavors and now he is back and he is still the same old Dre with much more fire in his belly.
Still puffin’ my leaves, still f*ck with the beats
Still not lovin’ police (Huh-uh)
These three lines possibly stand for everything Dr. Dre and his crew stood for back in the day. Smoking a leaf, producing beats, living it up, and running from the police was their daily routine. While this also, very casually, highlights the racial injustice in the legal system, it is also a homage to the iconic song “F*ck Tha Police” by N.W.A.
Snoop Dogg does his magic on the hook of the song joined by Dre.
I’m representin’ for them gangstas all across the world
(Still) Hittin’ them corners in them low-lows, girl
Still takin’ my time to perfect the beat
And I still got love for the streets, it’s the D.R.E.
One hook to sum up what Dre’s life stood for back in the day. He was representing a whole class of people who were misrepresented and mistreated. Of course, Dre’s looks, affiliations, and music attracted all the girls in the world. He still does. As much as Dre has been out of the public eye, he reminds us that his love for the craft has never died. In fact, all the time away from the public spotlight is being spent on perfecting the next beat. And that 7-year hiatus between ‘The Chronic’ and ‘2001’ album gave us the perfect beat of “Still Dre.”
Watch “Still Dre” Beat Full Piano Tutorial
In the second verse of the song, Dr. Dre wants to fill us in on what happened in the last seven years he was away from the public eye.
Dre reminds us that he lost a few friends during this time — a likely reference to the falling out he had with Death Row Records and its members, specifically Snoop Dogg who was signed to the same label. Dr. Dre left Death Row Records the same year Tupac got killed. in 1995, Dre’s former group member Eazy-E passed away from AIDS-induced pneumonia.
Well, hell, me and Snoop, we dippin’ again
Kept my ear to the streets, signed Eminem
He’s triple platinum, doin’ 50 a week
But things are looking up now. He made amends with Snoop and most importantly, Dre’s new label, Aftermath Entertainment, signed the white boy from Detroit — Eminem. Dre was directly involved in the signing and it has proved to be a worthy investment — Eminem was doing major sales during the time.
Losing friends, losing his record label, and his relatively unknown compilation album ‘Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath’ could have ended Dre’s career shortly after it began. But he was defiant. He stood back up every time he was kicked down.
Watch Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg Perform “Still Dre” Live in 2001
The third and final verse of “Still Dre” is the final nail in the coffin. Dre’s authoritative vocals sing about a proud and victorious man.
N*ggas try to be the king, but the ace is back
One would assume that the King would be the most powerful card on a deck of playing cards. But it’s not. The Ace is the most powerful card in most games. So no matter who tries to call themselves the King of Rap or King of Hip Hop or King of West Coast or East Coast Rap, Dr. Dre was the Ace of all of them!
“Still Dre” is a true ode to the life and the attitude of Dr. Dre.
Let us hear what you think about this classic in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics on Genius.