Photo: Mike Coppola (Getty Images)

In 1995, on Rosecrans Avenue in Compton, California, Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur filmed the original music video for their song “California Love,” which featured the two West Coast rap icons rolling up to the swap meet in shiny new Bentleys. Unbeknownst to anyone, there was an 8-year-old watching from the sidelines that day that would go on to become one of the biggest names not only in rap but in the music industry at large. That kid’s name was Kendrick Lamar. Now, some twenty-three years later, a new mashup project has bridges the gap by putting Kendrick Lamar verses over various Dre beats. The result is as good as you’d expect.

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The DAMN. Chronic is a 23-track mixtape painstakingly crafted by DJ Critical Hype, who says he had to pull a capella verses from “60 to 70 Kendrick songs” in order to find pieces that work with Dr. Dre’s most iconic beats. That’s not to say the two artists don’t work well together. After all, Dre has been an unofficial mentor to Lamar for years, and the two have appeared together previously on tracks like “Compton” and “The Recipe.” But Kendrick’s dense, unconventional verses don’t exactly lend themselves to just being slapped on top of Dre’s laid-back beats. So, there was a lot of finessing involved. “A lot of the tempos actually didn’t mix well,” DJ Critical Hype told Pigeons And Planes. “I’m really happy with the results, though. All the hard work and dedication to this project paid off.”

The whole mixtape is essentially a collection of things that shouldn’t work but somehow do, like Kendrick’s “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” laid over the beat from “Forgot About Dre.” You spend the whole track expecting Eminem to bust in with a lightning fast verse but instead you get Kendrick’s patient, methodical flow. Another highlight is “Average Joe (3 Beat Blend), which, as the name suggests, shows how Kendrick’s verses from the 2010 track “Average Joe” can fit over the beats from Dre’s “What’s The Difference,” “The Next Episode,” and “The Watcher.” Like all mashup albums, the sum will never be better than or equal to the parts. But this is a fun way to revisit the wealth of amazing music created by these two artists.

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