Everyone knows Dr. Dre produced Eminem’s new Number One album, Relapse, but he didn’t do it alone. Among the Aftermath staff producers who helped put together beats and hooks for the album is Dawaun Parker, who joined Dre’s team in 2005, two days after he graduated with the prestigious Berklee College of Music.
Parker spent long weeks in Eminem’s Detroit studio, working on all but one of the tracks on the Relapse and earning a co-production credit with Dre on “Same Song and Dance.” He says collaborating with the master MC was inspiring. “If he felt any pressure, he didn’t show it,” says Parker, adding that Eminem was constantly listening to rhymes over and over, making syllabic changes that a lot of other rappers would overlook. “He seemed like he was in rare creative form during that time.”
Parker says that even before Eminem mentioned that he was returning to the Slim Shady character of his early records, people in the studio could tell. “In the studio, we would say, ‘It sounds like Shady. It sounds like he’s rhyming like an animal right now.’ ”
Since completing work on Relapse, Parker, who has also worked with Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and T.I., is recording overdubs for 50 Cent’s forthcoming album, Before I Self Destruct, and working on Dre’s long-delayed solo project, Detox. “Every year that anticipation builds,” says Parker. “At this point, people aren’t even sure what they want it to sound like. They want to hear some kind of frequency that doesn’t exist.”
As for when Detox will be released, he’s making no promises: “Whenever Doc feels like it’s ready.”