How's That "Millennium of Aftermath" Going? We Grade the Label's Performance Year By Year
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It was November of 1999 and we were on the cusp of the millennium when Dr. Dre famously proclaimed that the next one thousand years would be "the millennium of Aftermath," on the song "Forgot About Dre."
It was a pretty bold statement. We applaud him for his bravado, but now that the new millennium is approximately 1.2% over, is his prediction holding true? And, how is it comparing to the Willennium?
Things started out incredibly strong for Aftermath. Not only was the previous year's 2001 album still going strong with big singles, but the label released Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP, which broke first-week sales records and sold 10 million copies. Plus, Aftermath signed rap legend Rakim and promised an album from him entirely produced by Dr. Dre.
Eminem was busy launching his Shady Records imprint, so not too much happened at Aftermath. Still, the label had a successful previous year to coast on, and cleaned up at the Grammys. While Dre's next heavily hyped protege Hittman left the label in October, the year ended on a positive note with their soundtrack to The Wash being certified gold.
January began with the announcement that Dr. Dre was readying an album called Detox, a "hip-hop musical" which would be his final studio album and come out later that year. (None of this is a joke.) Meanwhile, a dominant summer boasted the release of Eminem's The Eminem Show (which would eventually sell eight million units), and R&B performer Truth Hurts' gold single, "Addictive," which featured a verse from Rakim.
Rakim left Aftermath, but that was overshadowed by the rise of 50 Cent, whose hot-selling debut Get Rich or Die Tryin' tightened the label's grip on the rap industry. Buzzed about up-and-comer Stat Quo arrived on the scene as well
50 spent the year supporting his G-Unit Records imprint, while Eminem released Encore, his "retirement" album. Though it moved five million copies, it became the label's first release of the millennium that critics weren't so hot on. In other news, Aftermath signed a then-struggling Busta Rhymes.