Release Date Never: Dr. Dre's 'Detox' Isn't Coming Out, the Last Episode

For the absolute, definitive, final time, I'll lay the plethora of evidence down on the table.

This week we finally dropped the instant classic Detox Isn't Dropping shirts, but to my surprise, I've gotten a good amount of email and tweets from people insisting I'm wrong and that Dr. Dre's magnum opus will indeed one day be coursing through our (Beats by Dre) headphones. Oh...really? Finding out there are people who think this album's still coming out is like finding a lost tribe in the Amazon who have never had contact with the outside world.

Over the years I've written about this before, which is the entire reason Detox Isn't Dropping became an inside joke on RefinedHype, but I apparently haven't done a good enough job of spelling it out. So here, for the absolute, definitive, final time, I'll lay the plethora of evidence down on the table. You can pick it up, you can leave it there, it's up to you, but this is the last episode.

The Detox Timeline

1999: Common misconception because of the title, but Dr. Dre's last album, "2001", actually dropped in November of 1999. For those of you who aren't handy with a calendar, that means it's now just shy of FOURTEEN YEARS. There are high school freshmen who weren't born the last time Dr. Dre dropped an album.

2002: Dr. Dre goes on record for the first time about Detox, saying the project is going to be a concept album.

"...what I decided to do was make my album one story about one person and just do the record through a character's eyes," Dre told MTV. "And everybody that appears on my album is going to be a character, so it's basically going to be a hip-hop musical." He also went on to say Detox would drop by the summer of 2003. "It's probably going to take me like a year to get it all the way together." Yeah, about that. 

Fun side note, he also said he was busy in the studio producing for Truth Hurts, Rakim and Shaunta, which is essentially a one sentence edition of "what happened to?"


January 2004: Aftermath confirms that the now "late" (Dre first said it would drop summer of 2003) album will actually drop at the end of 2004. Scott Storch, who worked extensively on the album because in 2004 having Scott Storch produce a large part of a mega album was a thing that totally happened, said that Detox will be, "the most advanced rap album musically and lyrically we'll probably ever have a chance to listen to."

August 2004: Dr. Dre announces that he's putting Detox on hold to focus on producing for his own artists, most prominently focusing on Game's debut album, "Documentary", as well as Busta Rhymes and Eve. (Oh yeah, Busta and Eve were signed to Aftermath, I almost forgot.)

November 2004:  Dre changes his mind, says Detox is back on. On Game's "Higher", he publically announces that we should "look out for Detox."

2005 - 2007

2008: Now seven years since Dre first threw out a release date, and four years since his last announcement that the album was back on, many have started doubting if Detox will ever drop. But in a Rolling Stone interview, Snoop insisted otherwise. "That record is real, it’s coming. I was starting to doubt it myself and then I went up in there and he played so much music for me it knocked my head off.”



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2009: The first official Detox release is played during a Dr. Pepper commercial, Dr. Dre confirms that the album will be coming out in 2010, now that he's finished producing Eminem's "Relapse" and 50 Cent's "Before I Self Destruct". Holy shit, THIS ALBUM MIGHT ACTUALLY COME OUT.

2010: Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine jointly announce that the first official single from Detox"Under Pressure" featuring Jay-Z, will be coming soon. The song leaks and they drop it from the album, but the interest around "Under Pressure" appears to motivate Dre and Interscope. They drop two more official singles, "Kush" and "I Need a Doctor" complete with official videos and launch a million dollar marking campaign (I still remember the Detox billboard in LA). "I Need a Doctor" goes double platinum. HOLY SHIT THIS ALBUM ACTUALLY SERIOUSLY IS GOING TO COME OUT!

Side Note: I just realized "Under Pressure" was co-produced by Scott Storch. Does that mean that beat was originally made during the original 2004 sessions?


November 2011: Dre announces that he's taking a break from music after he wraps up producing for Kendrick Lamar's "GKMC" and Slim the Mobster (who's no longer even on Aftermath). "I feel like I’m gonna take a little bit of a break. I’m never gonna stop music, it’s like air to me. So I’mma take a little bit of a break. Enjoy some time with the family til I get that itch to get back in.”

2012 - Present:

2013: I launch the Detox Isn't Dropping t-shirts. Crazy people email me to say I'm wrong.

Things That Have Happened Since the First Detox Release Date

  • Eminem releases four albums, develops a drug problem, gets sober.
  • Apple releases the iPod and launches iTunes, music's digital age truly begins.
  • Bishop Lamont, Eve, Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz, Marsha Ambrosius, Rakim, Raekwon and more sign record deals with Aftermath, leave.
  • America elects its first black president, twice.

To Recap

It's been well over a decade since Detox was first announced. In that time there have been at least five official release dates, and the album has been fully completed and then completely scrapped at least three times. Dre launched a multi-million dollar marketing campaign for Detox in 2010, was apparently willing to eat all of that money and walk away from an album release. Is currently "taking a break" from making music, is raking in far more money from Beats By Dre headphones than he ever could through a new album. He's got so much more to lose than gain from actually releasing this project now, it's almost impossible to see why he would.

At this point, if you have even the slightest, faintest glimmer of hope that Detox will ever drop, I don't know what to tell you, you're an insane person. Listen, I understand. I'm a rap nerd, I'd lose my fucking mind if this album ever came out, and it's hard to completely give up on that dream. But at some point, we have to grow up and face reality.

If you're still sitting around waiting for Detox to drop, you're probably also the kind of dude who's been friends with a hot girl for fourteen years and still thinks he's got a chance of having sex with her. (That hug lasted a second longer than usual, she totally wants it!)

Dr. Dre has friend-zoned hip-hop for too long, it's time for us finally let it go.


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