Dr.Dre - Influential Black Leaders
Andre Romelle Young (born February 18, 1965), known professionally as Dr. Dre, is an American rapper, record producer, audio engineer, record executive, entrepreneur, and actor. He is the founder and CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics, and was previously co-owner of Death Row Records. Dr. Dre began his career as a member of the World Class Wreckin' Cru in 1985, and later found fame with the gangsta rap group N.W.A. The group popularized explicit lyrics in hip hop to detail the violence of street life. During the early 1990s, Dre was credited as a key figure in the crafting and popularization of West Coast G-funk, a subgenre of hip hop characterized by a synthesizer foundation and slow, heavy beats.
Dre's solo debut studio album The Chronic (1992), released under Death Row Records, made him one of the best-selling American music artists of 1993. It earned him a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance for the single "Let Me Ride", as well as several accolades for the single "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang". That year, he produced Death Row labelmate Snoop Doggy Dogg's debut album Doggystyle, and mentored producers such as his step-brother Warren G (leading to the multi-platinum debut Regulate...G Funk Era in 1994) and Snoop Dogg's cousin Daz Dillinger (leading to the double-platinum debut Dogg Food by Tha Dogg Pound in 1995). In 1996, Dr. Dre left Death Row Records to establish his own label, Aftermath Entertainment. He produced a compilation album, Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath, in 1996, and released a solo album, 2001, in 1999.
During the 2000s, Dre focused on producing other artists, occasionally contributing vocals. He signed Eminem in 1998 and 50 Cent in 2002, and co-produced their albums. He has produced albums for and overseen the careers of many other rappers, including 2Pac, The D.O.C., Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, Knoc-turn'al, The Game, Kendrick Lamar, and Anderson Paak. Dre has also had acting roles in movies such as Set It Off, The Wash and Training Day. He has won six Grammy Awards, including Producer of the Year; Non-Classical. Rolling Stone ranked him number 56 on the list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. He was the second-richest figure in hip hop as of 2018 with an estimated net worth of $800 million.
Accusations of Dre's violence against women have been widely publicised. Following his assault of television host Dee Barnes, he was fined $2,500, given two years' probation, ordered to undergo 240 hours of community service, and given a spot on an anti-violence public service announcement. A civil suit was settled out of court. In 2015, Michel'le, the mother of one of his children, accused him of domestic violence during their time together as a couple. Their abusive relationship is portrayed in her 2016 biopic Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel'le. Lisa Johnson, the mother of three of Dr. Dre's children, stated that he beat her many times, including while she was pregnant. She was granted a restraining order against him. Former labelmate Tairrie B claimed that Dre assaulted her at a party in 1990, in response to her track "Ruthless Bitch".
1984–1985: World Class Wreckin' Cru
Inspired by the Grandmaster Flash song "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel", Dr. Dre often attended a club called Eve After Dark to watch many DJs and rappers performing live. He subsequently became a DJ in the club, initially under the name "Dr. J", based on the nickname of Julius Erving, his favorite basketball player. At the club, he met aspiring rapper Antoine Carraby, later to become member DJ Yella of N.W.A.:15 Soon afterwards he adopted the moniker Dr. Dre, a mix of previous alias Dr. J and his first name, referring to himself as the "Master of Mixology":14 Eve After Dark had a back room with a small four-track studio. In this studio, Dre and Yella recorded several demos. In their first recording session, they recorded a song entitled "Surgery", with the lyrics "calling Dr. Dre to surgery" serving as the chorus to the song. non-tertiary source needed] He later joined the musical group World Class Wreckin' Cru under Kru-Cut in 1984.The group would become stars of the electro-hop scene that dominated early 1980s West Coast hip hop. "Surgery", which was officially released after being recorded prior to the group's official formation, would prominently feature Dr. Dre on the turntable. The record would become the group's first hit, selling 50,000 copies within the Compton area:14–15
Dr. Dre and DJ Yella also performed mixes for local radio station KDAY, boosting ratings for its afternoon rush-hour show The Traffic Jam 17 Dr. Dre's earliest recordings were released in 1994 on a compilation titled Concrete Roots. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of the website AllMusic described the compiled music, released "several years before Dre developed a distinctive style", as "surprisingly generic and unengaging" and "for dedicated fans only".
His frequent absences from school jeopardized his position as a diver on his school's swim team. After high school, he attended Chester Adult School in Compton following his mother's demands for him to get a job or continue his education. After brief attendance at a radio broadcasting school, he relocated to the residence of his father and residence of his grandparents before returning to his mother's house. 18–19 He later dropped out of Chester to focus on performing at the Eve's After Dark nightclub.
1986–1991: N.W.A and Ruthless Records
In 1986, Dr. Dre met rapper O'Shea Jackson—known as Ice Cube—who collaborated with him to record songs for Ruthless Records, a hip hop record label run by local rapper Eazy-E. N.W.A and fellow West Coast rapper Ice-T are widely credited as seminal artists of the gangsta rap genre, a profanity-heavy subgenre of hip hop, replete with gritty depictions of urban crime and gang lifestyle. Not feeling constricted to racially charged political issues pioneered by rap artists such as Public Enemy or Boogie Down Productions, N.W.A favored themes and uncompromising lyrics, offering stark descriptions of violent, inner-city streets. Propelled by the hit "Fuck tha Police", the group's first full album Straight Outta Compton became a major success, despite an almost complete absence of radio airplay or major concert tours. The Federal Bureau of Investigation sent Ruthless Records a warning letter in response to the song's content.
After Ice Cube left N.W.A in 1989 over financial disputes, Dr. Dre produced and performed for much of the group's second album Efil4zaggin. He also produced tracks for a number of other acts on Ruthless Records, including Eazy-E's 1988 solo debut Eazy-Duz-It, Above the Law's 1990 debut Livin' Like Hustlers, Michel'le's 1989 self-titled debut, The D.O.C.'s 1989 debut No One Can Do It Better, J.J. Fad's 1988 debut Supersonic and funk rock musician Jimmy Z's 1991 album Muzical Madness
Following the success of 2001, Dr. Dre focused on producing songs and albums for other artists. He co-produced six tracks on Eminem's landmark Marshall Mathers LP, including the Grammy-winning lead single, "The Real Slim Shady". The album itself earned a Grammy and proved to be the fastest-selling rap album of all time, moving 1.76 million units in its first week alone. He produced the single "Family Affair" by R&B singer Mary J. Blige for her album No More Drama in 2001. He also produced "Let Me Blow Ya Mind", a duet by rapper Eve and No Doubt lead singer Gwen Stefani and signed R&B singer Truth Hurts to Aftermath in 2001.
Dr. Dre produced and rapped on singer and Interscope labelmate Bilal's 2001 single "Fast Lane", which barely missed the Top 40 of the R&B charts. He later assisted in the production of Bilal's second album, Love for Sale, which Interscope controversially shelved because of its creative direction. Dr. Dre was the executive producer of Eminem's 2002 release, The Eminem Show. He produced three songs on the album, one of which was released as a single, and he appeared in the award-winning video for "Without Me". He also produced The D.O.C.'s 2003 album Deuce, where he made a guest appearance on the tracks "Psychic Pymp Hotline", "Gorilla Pympin'" and "Judgment Day"
Another copyright-related lawsuit hit Dr. Dre in the fall of 2002, when Sa Re Ga Ma, a film and music company based in Calcutta, India, sued Aftermath Entertainment over an uncredited sample of the Lata Mangeshkar song "Thoda Resham Lagta Hai" on the Aftermath-produced song "Addictive" by singer Truth Hurts. In February 2003, a judge ruled that Aftermath would have to halt sales of Truth Hurts' album Truthfully Speaking if the company would not credit Mangeshkar
Another successful album on the Aftermath label was Get Rich or Die Tryin', the 2003 major-label debut album by Queens, New York-based rapper 50 Cent. Dr. Dre produced or co-produced four tracks on the album, including the hit single "In da Club", a joint production between Aftermath, Eminem's boutique label Shady Records and Interscope. Eminem's fourth album since joining Aftermath, Encore, again saw Dre taking on the role of executive producer, and this time he was more actively involved in the music, producing or co-producing a total of eight tracks, including three singles. In November 2004, at the Vibe magazine awards show in Los Angeles, Dr. Dre was attacked by a fan named Jimmy James Johnson, who was supposedly asking for an autograph. In the resulting scuffle, then-G-Unit rapper Young Buck stabbed the man. Johnson claimed that Suge Knight, president of Death Row Records, paid him $5,000 to assault Dre in order to humiliate him before he received his Lifetime Achievement Award Knight immediately went on CBS's The Late Late Show to deny involvement and insisted that he supported Dr. Dre and wanted Johnson charged. In September 2005, Johnson was sentenced to a year in prison and ordered to stay away from Dr. Dre until 2008
Dr. Dre also produced "How We Do", a 2005 hit single from rapper The Game from his album The Documentary as well as tracks on 50 Cent's successful second album The Massacre. For an issue of Rolling Stone magazine in April 2005, Dr. Dre was ranked 54th out of 100 artists for Rolling Stone magazine's list "The Immortals: The Greatest Artists of All Time". Kanye West wrote the summary for Dr. Dre, where he stated Dr. Dre's song "Xxplosive" as where he "got (his) whole sound from".
In November 2006, Dr. Dre began working with Raekwon on his album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II. He also produced tracks for the rap albums Buck the World by Young Buck, Curtis by 50 Cent, Tha Blue Carpet Treatment by Snoop Dogg, and Kingdom Come by Jay-Z. Dre also appeared on Timbaland's track "Bounce", from his 2007 solo album, Timbaland Presents Shock Value alongside, Missy Elliott, and Justin Timberlake. During this period, The D.O.C. stated that Dre had been working with him on his fourth album Voices through Hot Vessels, which he planned to release after Detox arrived.
Planned but unreleased albums during Dr. Dre's tenure at Aftermath have included a full-length reunion with Snoop Dogg titled Breakup to Makeup, an album with fellow former N.W.A member Ice Cube which was to be titled Heltah Skeltah, an N.W.A reunion album, and a joint album with fellow producer Timbaland titled Chairmen of the Board.
In 2007, Dr. Dre's third studio album, formerly known as Detox, was slated to be his final studio album. Work for the upcoming album dates back to 2001, where its first version was called "the most advanced rap album ever", by producer Scott Storch. Later that same year, he decided to stop working on the album to focus on producing for other artists, but then changed his mind; the album had initially been set for a fall 2005 release. Producers confirmed to work on the album include DJ Khalil, Nottz, Bernard "Focus" Edwards Jr. Hi-Tek, J.R. Rotem, RZA, Jay-Z, Warren G, and Boi-1da. Snoop Dogg claimed that Detox was finished, according to a June 2008 report by Rolling Stone magazine. After another delay based on producing other artists' work, Detox was then scheduled for a 2010 release, coming after 50 Cent's Before I Self Destruct and Eminem's Relapse, an album for which Dr. Dre handled the bulk of production duties. In a Dr Pepper commercial that debuted on May 28, 2009, he premiered the first official snippet of Detox. 50 Cent and Eminem asserted in an interview on BET's 106 & Park that Dr. Dre had around a dozen songs finished for Detox.
2008–2014: The Planets, a break, Coachella and Detox cancellation
Dr. Dre in 2008
On December 15, 2008, Dre appeared in the remix of the song "Set It Off" by Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall (also with Pusha T); the remix debuted on DJ Skee's radio show. At the beginning of 2009, Dre produced, and made a guest vocal performance on, the single "Crack a Bottle" by Eminem and the single sold a record 418,000 downloads in its first week and reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart on the week of February 12, 2009. Along with this single, in 2009 Dr. Dre produced or co-produced 19 of 20 tracks on Eminem's album Relapse. These included other hit singles "We Made You", "Old Time's Sake", and "3 a.m." (The only track Dre did not produce was the Eminem-produced single "Beautiful".) On April 20, 2010, "Under Pressure", featuring Jay-Z and co-produced with Scott Storch, was confirmed by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre during an interview at Fenway Park as the album's first single. The song leaked prior to its intended release in an unmixed, unmastered form without a chorus on June 16, 2010; however, critical reaction to the song was lukewarm, and Dr. Dre later announced in an interview that the song, along with any other previously leaked tracks from Detox's recording process, would not appear on the final version of the album. Two genuine singles – "Kush", a collaboration with Snoop Dogg and fellow rapper Akon, and "I Need a Doctor" with Eminem and singer Skylar Grey – were released in the United States during November 2010 and February 2011 respectively: the latter achieved international chart success, reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and later being certified double platinum by the RIAA and the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). On June 25, 2010, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers honored Dr. Dre with its Founders Award for inspiring other musicians.
Dr. Dre performs at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
In an August 2010 interview, Dr. Dre stated that an instrumental album titled The Planets is in its first stages of production; each song being named after a planet in the Solar System. On September 3, Dr. Dre showed support to longtime protégé Eminem, and appeared on his and Jay-Z's Home & Home Tour, performing hit songs such as "Still D.R.E.", "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang", and "Crack a Bottle", alongside Eminem and another protégé, 50 Cent. Sporting an "R.I.P. Proof" shirt, Dre was honored by Eminem telling Detroit's Comerica Park to do the same. They did so, by chanting "DEEE-TOX", to which he replied, "I'm coming!" On November 14, 2011, Dre announced that he would be taking a break from music after he finished producing for artists Slim the Mobster and Kendrick Lamar. In this break, he stated that he would "work on bringing his Beats By Dre to a standard as high as Apple" and would also spend time with his family. On January 9, 2012, Dre headlined the final nights of the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, on the weekends of April 13–15 and April 20–22, 2012.
In a June 2014 interview with RapUpTV, Marsha Ambrosius talked about working on Dr. Dre's third album. She stated that she had gone to Hawaii before the end of 2013 for a few weeks to work with him on "so many things" including his upcoming album and a project of her own among other unspecified projects. Ambrosius also told RapUpTV that Dr. Dre's third album is no longer called Detox, but didn't reveal the new title. In a September interview with Shots Fired that same year, Aftermath Entertainment in-house producer Dawaun Parker confirmed the title change. Parker also refrained from revealing the new title because of the fact that the title hadn't been leaked online. He also told Shots Fired that there are as many as 300 beats that have been created for the album over the years, but few of them have had vocals recorded over them.
The length of time that Detox had been recorded for, as well as the limited amount of material that had been officially released or leaked from the recording sessions, had given it considerable notoriety within the music industry. Several musicians closely affiliated with Dr. Dre, including Snoop Dogg, fellow rappers 50 Cent, The Game and producer DJ Quik, had speculated in interviews that the album will never be released, due to Dr. Dre's business and entrepreneurial ventures having interfered with recording work, as well as causing him to lose motivation to record new material.
2015–present: Straight Outta Compton, and Compton album
On his Beats 1 radio show "The Pharmacy" on August 1, 2015, Dre announced that he would release what would be his final album, titled Compton. It is inspired by the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton and is a compilation-style album, featuring a number of frequent collaborators, including Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Xzibit and The Game, among others. It was released exclusively for iTunes and Apple Music on August 7. A physical version was published on August 21. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he revealed that he had about 20 to 40 tracks for Detox but he didn't release it because it didn't meet his standards and he thought he was done being an artist. He also revealed that he suffers from social anxiety and due to this he remains secluded and out of attention.
On February 12, 2016, it was revealed that Apple would create its first original scripted television series and it would star Dr. Dre. Called Vital Signs, it was set to reflect the life of Dr. Dre. Dr. Dre was an executive producer on the show before the show's cancellation sometime in 2017.
In October 2016, Sean Combs brought out Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and others on his Bad Boy Reunion tour.
Dr. Dre made his first on screen appearance as a weapons dealer in the 1996 bank robbery movie Set It Off. In 2001, Dr. Dre also appeared in the movies The Wash and Training Day. A song of his, "Bad Intentions" (featuring Knoc-Turn'Al) and produced by Mahogany, was featured on The Wash soundtrack. Dr. Dre also appeared on two other songs "On the Blvd." and "The Wash" along with his co-star Snoop Dogg.
Industry Film production company
Founder Dr. Dre
Owner New Line Cinema
In February 2007 it was announced that Dr. Dre would produce dark comedies and horror films for New Line Cinema-owned company Crucial Films, along with longtime video director Phillip Atwell. Dr. Dre announced "This is a natural switch for me, since I've directed a lot of music videos, and I eventually want to get into directing." Along with fellow member Ice Cube, Dr. Dre produced Straight Outta Compton (2015), a biographical film about N.W.A.
Beats by Dr. Dre logo
In July 2008, Dr. Dre released his first brand of headphones, Beats by Dr. Dre. The line consisted of Beats Studio, a circumaural headphone; Beats Tour, an in-ear headphone; Beats Solo & Solo HD, a supra-aural headphone; Beats Spin; Heartbeats by Lady Gaga, also an in-ear headphone; and Diddy Beats. In autumn 2009, Hewlett-Packard participated in a deal to bundle Beats By Dr. Dre with some HP laptops and headsets. HP and Dr. Dre announced the deal on October 9, 2009, at a press event in Santa Monica, California. An exclusive laptop, known as the HP ENVY 15 Beats limited edition, was released for sale October 22. In May 2014, technology giant Apple purchased the Beats brand for $3 billion, Apple's most expensive purchase by far. The deal made Dr. Dre the "richest man in hip hop", surpassing Diddy.
During May 2013, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine donated a $70 million endowment to the University of Southern California to create the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. The goal of the Academy has been stated as "to shape the future by nurturing the talents, passions, leadership and risk-taking of uniquely qualified students who are motivated to explore and create new art forms, technologies, and business models." The first class of the Academy began in September 2014.
In June 2017, it was announced that Dr. Dre has committed $10 million to the construction of a performing arts center for the new Compton High School. The center will encompass creative resources and a 1,200-seat theater, and is expected to break ground in 2020. The project is a partnership between Dr. Dre and the Compton Unified School District.