Dr. Dre is one of the most prominent artists in hip-hop history. Though he is known for his signature deep voice, he is most known for producing some of hip hop's most legendary songs. He has been heavily involved in shaping the careers of Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and 50 Cent, producing many of their first hits. We have previously compiled lists of Dr. Dre's productions, focusing on his most haunting beats and his greatest productions from the Death Row era. This list looks at the entire span of Dr. Dre's career and the best beats he has produced.
Dre has collaborated with many artists over the years, and some of his work also features co-producers. This list prioritizes those solely produced by Dr. Dre but includes songs that additional producers worked on that deserve mentioning. This list is in chronological order to emphasize the legendary production discography of Dr. Dre over his 30+ year career.
1. N.W.A. - "Sa Prize (Part 2)" (1990)
Because "F**k Tha Police" is such an iconic statement in hip hop history, the sequel to the song from N.W.A. 's EP 100 Miles and Runnin' often goes unnoticed. It's argued the production Is arguably better than the first. The tempo and percussion are mostly the same. However, the bassline and melody breathe new life into the song. The verses sound even more powerful, specifically Dr. Dre's show-stealing verse that sets the bar very high for the rest of the song.
2. Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg - "Deep Cover" (1992)
Before The Chronic and Doggystyle, Dr. Dre reinvented his sound and introduced Snoop Dogg on "Deep Cover." The track has one of the meanest basslines in hip hop history. The rugged drum break allows Dre and Snoop to showcase their chemistry. It is a classic instrumental that has also been repurposed by the likes of Big Pun and Tyga.
3. Dr. Dre feat. Jewell - "Let Me Ride" (1992)
The instrumental for "Let Me Ride" provides the perfect amount of smoothness and funky. Dre's rap voice still cuts deep but also carries the infectiously catchy chorus. The song samples Parliament's "Mothership Connection," "Kissing My Love" by Bill Withers, and James Brown's "Funky Drummer." The three classics are among the most sampled songs ever. The squeaky melody and groovy bassline on this song is a prime example of why The Chronic is so significant to hip hop.
4. Snoop Dogg - "G Funk Intro" (1993)
The instrumental of Snoop Dogg's G Funk Intro sounds almost identical to Dr. Dre's "F**k Wit Dre Day." It's a more upbeat instrumental, along with a different melody. That's what makes "G Funk Intro" among one of Dr. Dre's best productions. It is quintessential G Funk, which is what made Doggystyle such a classic album.
5. Snoop Dogg - "Gin and Juice" (1993)
It is impossible to discuss Dr. Dre's best beats without mentioning "Gin and Juice." It is one of the most legendary songs in the history of west coast hip hop. Dr. Dre provides a bouncy yet lowkey sound for Snoop's rhymes and one of the catchiest hip hop songs of the '90s. It's no wonder this is a classic staple in rap, encompassing the genre's popular Golden Era.
6. Snoop Dogg - "Tha Shiznit" (1993)
"Tha Shiznit" is one of Snoop's best lyrical moments on Doggystyle. However, it would arguably not be one of the highlights of Doggystyle without the incredible instrumental. The pulsing bassline, along with the classic flute and organ, allow for Snoop Dogg to freestyle some of his greatest rhymes so casually.
7. Snoop Dogg - "Who Am I? (What's My Name?)" (1993)
Snoop Dogg's Dre-produced debut single is arguably as funky as the songs it sampled. "Who Am ?" takes from George Clinton's "Atomic Dog," Funkadelic's "(Not Just) Knee Deep," and Parliament's "Give Up the Funk." Dr. Dre used parts of these songs from Clinton's extensive catalog to create the ultimate single. Snoop's introduction as a rap superstar exemplifies Dre's talent as a producer.
8. Snoop Dogg - "Gz and Hustlas" (1993)
A highlight from Doggystyle, "Gz and Hustlas" is one of Snoop Dogg's greatest songs. The instrumental is easily one of Dr. Dre's best. The music box sound perfectly transitions from the "Class Room Intro" to the most complex beat on the entire album. The deep bass, along with the high-pitched synthesizers, are one of the finest moments on Doggystyle.
9. 2Pac feat. Roger Troutman & Dr. Dre - "California Love" (1995)
2Pac's "California Love" is an anthem for the entire state for a good reason. The classic verses from Dr. Dre, 2Pac, and vocals from Roger Troutman are backed by an instrumental that is quintessentially Dr. Dre. The piano provides the main backing for the song with the additional horns, bass, and Troutman's use of the talk box. It also has a remix on 2Pac's All Eyez on Me that has an instrumental equally as good.
10. Dr. Dre - "The Watcher" (1999)
Dr. Dre's production contains a lot of intricacies, whether it comes to instrumentation or a sample. The beat on "The Watcher" is simple yet effective, as it only comprises a few sounds. The space in the beat allows for Dre's verse to stand out, and the rest of the song comes together with the whispers of the title in the actual beat. The space in the beat on "The Watcher" is similar to 50 Cent's "If I Can't," which Dre produced four years later.
11. Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg - "Still D.R.E." (1999)
"Still D.R.E." is such a classic song that it is almost larger than life 24 years after its release. The piano melody is known by hip hop fans of all ages and transcends the late-'90s era. It is also a simple but potent instrumental by Dr. Dre and Mel-Man. "Still D.R.E." makes for the perfect soundtrack for bouncing lowriders, precisely what the song's music video is.
12. Dr. Dre feat. Hittman, Kurupt, Nate Dogg & Six-Two - "Xxplosive" (1999)
Dr. Dre's hip hop production is consistently mid-tempo, making the "Xxplosive" instrumental so amazing. It is slower yet still funky. The high-pitched guitar sound, complimented by bass and xylophone, makes for a smooth listening experience. It perfectly contrasts the jarringly explicit lyrics from Hittman, Kurupt, Nate Dogg, and Six-Two.
13. Dr. Dre feat. Eminem - "Forgot About Dre" (1999)
"Forgot About Dre" has a unique bounce that very few Dr. Dre instrumentals had before its release. The beat was shaped around Eminem's syllable-heavy hook. It allowed for both Dre and Eminem to rap double-time. Not many Dr. Dre beats were known at the time for featuring a double-time tempo. This instrumental likely paved the way for Busta Rhymes's "Break Ya Neck," which is even faster and also produced by Dr. Dre.
14. Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg & Kurupt - "The Next Episode" (1999)
"The Next Episode" is another one of those songs that is an essential hip hop classic. It is vital for Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, as well as west coast hip hop. Dr. Dre's production of songs like this one encapsulates the period in which it was released but also stands the test of time.
15. 50 Cent - "In Da Club" (2003)
The greatness of 50 Cent's iconic hit single "In Da Club" is that the instrumental shines equally on the song as 50 does. Though the rapping and the beat shine as co-stars, they do not depend on each other. One is just as great without the other. Each component of the beat is balanced and comes together to make one of the greatest hip hop songs of all time.
16. Dr. Dre - "Talking To My Diary" (2015)
The closing track on Dr. Dre's third album, Compton, co-produced by DJ Silk and Mista Choc, could not be a more fitting send-off. It is the only song on the album where Dr. Dre raps independently, and the beat is just as challenging as it is reflective. It is the ultimate soundtrack for Dr. Dre to look at the success that he has reached while also reminiscing about his beginnings. The song's end features a two-minute trumpet solo from Dontae Winslow, making the song even more cinematic. Overall, Dr. Dre's catalog as a producer is hard to beat, and there are so many iconic instrumentals to choose from. Here are the honorable mentions of the best beats that Dr. Dre has produced that did not quite make the list:
- N.W.A. - F**k Tha Police
- Dr. Dre - Nuthin' But A G Thang
- Dr. Dre - What's The Difference
- Eve - Let Me Blow Ya Mind
- Mary J. Blige - Family Affair
- Eminem - Business
- 50 Cent - If I Can't
- JAY-Z - Lost One
- Eminem - Crack a Bottle
- Eminem - So Bad