Collins doesn’t know where this might lead.
First, the good news: Dr. Dre has definitely been in the studio recently with some special guests. The bad news: We still have no idea what happened during the hang session.
In January, TMZ reported that Dre told ESPN's Chris Haynes that he's “working on a couple songs… we'll see,” once again sparking hopes that the good doctor is back in the lab cooking up tracks for his forever-delayed final album, Detox.
Now we have even more solid pro that Dre is up to… something. “We're putting stuff together,” funk legend Bootsy Collins tells Billboard. The bass-playing funketeer best known for his work with James Brown, George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic and his own Bootsy's Rubber Band recently revealed that during a trip to California in February, he spent time in a studio with Dre.
“I'm] producing and playing on his solo record],” Collins says, clearly eager to say a bit more but stopping himself from spilling anything else about his visit with the reclusive genius, who has stopped talking about his long-anticipated swan song. “And you know… yeah. That's the bottom line without giving everything away.”
Smiling so wide his star-emblazoned front tooth catches some glint from the overhead lights in the spacious home studio on the grounds his rural Cincinnati compound, the funk originator described the music he heard as an evolution the producer/rapper's classic G-Funk sound and something brand-new. “He's evolving,” adds Collins' wife/manager, Patti Collins.
Patti explains that one Dre's producing partners is a good friend the couple's and, course, so is Dre, so when the producer asked if Bootsy would drop by when the couple were in California earlier this year, it was impossible to pass up the invitation. The caption from the picture chronicling their meet-up says it all: “Dr. Dre, got some funky thangs comin' yr way soon. I am glad to have the opportunity to be a part this adventure! Funks gettin' Stronger.”
“I mentioned the invitation] to Bootsy and he said, 'Well, let's do our best to make it happen!'” she recalls. The schedules worked out and Collins spent half a day in the studio just, well, funkin' around. “It was the whole gang — it was funkadelic, man,” Bootsy, 66, says cryptically about who else was there, noting there were a couple new artists in the room whose names he didn't really catch.
As legendary as Dre is, when you have the man who helped craft Brown's indelible hits “Soul Power” and “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine,” not to mention Parliament's “Flash Light” and “Tear the Ro Off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk),” some autographs are in order. That explains a video posted from the same trip in which Collins is signing one his bass guitars for Dre.
A spokesperson for Dre did not return requests for comment at press time about where the Dre/Collins superstar summit might lead. In late January, producer Mike Will Made-It posted a video on Instagram a session he had with Dre and Eminem, though no music could be heard in the clip. The most recent music from Dre — and the first solo music since 2015's Compton — was the song “Gunfiyah,” heard in last year's HBO documentary The Defiant Ones.