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Dr. Dre 1965–

Dr. Dre 1965

Rapper, producer, actor

Formed New Company

Joined Marion Suge Knight

Success and Legal Trouble

Left Death Row

Selective Discography

Sources

Though Dr. Dres music career has not always been a G Thang, (the G stands for gangsta), his own recordings combined with his production work made gangsta rap among the most vital pop genres of the 1990s. Born Andre Ramelle Young in Compton, California, Dre was raised by his mother. From the time he was four years old, he loved playing DJ at her parties. In 1981, he heard a song by Grandmaster Flash that inspired him to change his name in honor of basketball star Julius Dr. J Erving and become a full-time DJ.

Dre began spinning records at a Los Angeles nightclub called Eve After Dark. He produced the dance tapes in the clubs four-track studio during the week, then played them on the weekends. In addition to using the rap trademarks of sampling, scratching, and drum machines, he added keyboards and vocals. I would put together this mix shelf, Dre told Jonathan Gold in Rolling Stone, lots of oldies, Martha and the Vandellas and stuff like that. And where normally you go to a club and the deejays play all the hit records back to back, I would put on a serious show. People would come from everywhere, just to see Dre on the wheels of steel.

In 1982, when Dre was 17 years old, he formed the World Class Wreckin Cru with Yella (Antoine Carraby), his fellow DJ and manager of Eve After Dark. Dres demo, Surgery, became the groups first independently released single and sold 50,000 copies. Dre graduated from Comptons Centennial High School in 1983. Impressed with his studies in mechanical drafting, Northrop Aircraft offered him a job, but he turned it down. Dre discovered he could make more money as a DJ, and all of his spare time was spent preparing for the release of the World Class Wreckin Crus second album.

Dre left the World Class Wreckin Cru in 1984. They wouldnt do my songs, Dre said in a Death Row Records biography. They said theyd never get on the radio. Dre joined with Ice Cube (OShea Jackson), who was in a group with his cousin at the time. Together they performed live wherever they could, including dates at skating rinks, where they played in front of 2,000 people at a time.

Formed New Company

In 1985, Dre and Eazy-E (Eric Wright) decided to start up their own record company with Eazy-Es capital and

At a Glance

Born Andre Ramelle Young, c 1965, in Compton, CA; married with children.

Career: Rap artist; record producer for various artists, including Eazy-E, the D.O.C, and Snoop Doggy Dogg. Began career as a DJ in high school, early 1980s; formed World Class Wreckin Cru, 1982; released two albums; joined N.W.A., 1985; released three albums and one EP; produced eight albums for Ruthless Records; cofounded Death Row Records, 1991; released first solo album, The Chronic, Death Row, 1993; left Death Row and founded Aftermath Entertainment, 1996; released Dr. Dre Presents The Aftermath, 1996; produced The Album for The Firm, 1997; produced The Slim Shady LP, 1999; released Dr. Dre 2001, 1999; produced The Marshall Mathers LP, 2000.

Awards: Grammy Award for best rap solo performance, 1994; Source awards for best producer, solo artist, and album, 1994; named One of the Top Ten Artists That Mattered Most, 1985-1995 by Spin magazine; named one of The 101 Most Powerful People in Entertainment by Entertainment Weekly, 1996; Grammy, Producer of the Year, 2000.

Addresses: Record company Aftermath Entertainment, 15060 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 225; Sherman Oaks, CA 91403; telephone: (818) 385-0024.

Dres producing talent. Dre produced the labels first project, Boyz-n-the-Hood, featuring Eazy-E as the artist. They sold about 10,000 copies out of the trunks of their cars and used the money to finance the first single for their newly formed group, N.W.A. (Niggaz with Attitude) which included Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Yella, M. C. Ren (Lorenzo Patterson), and Arabian Prince. Dre wrote and produced the groups first single, Dopeman. He also produced Eazy-Es first platinum album, Eazy-Duz-It, that same year.

NWA began its controversial and successful career in 1987 with the release of N.W.A. and the Posse on Macola Records. Two years later, the group released Straight Outta Compton on Ruthless Records and sold more than two million copies. Of course, the controversy behind the group and the album only assisted in launching their sales. Milt Ahlerich, assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations Office of Public Affairs, wrote a letter to the groups parent record company objecting to the lyrics of the song F tha Police. Police throughout the country added fuel to the fire by allegedly making it standard operating procedure to pull over any car driven by African-American men blaring N.W.A. We loved the controversy, Dre said in his record company biography. Its the reason we blew up as big as we did. It wasnt hurting us, it was helping us.

Keeping alive his career as a producer, Dre produced the D.O.C. (Tray Curry), a rapper he had discovered in Dallas, Texas. The D.O.C.s album, No One Can Do It Better, became Number One on Billboards R&B album chart, Number 20 on the pop chart, and reached platinum sales. The track, Its Funky Enough, became a Number One rap single. Dre also produced an album for his former girlfriend, Michelle, which went platinum and reached Number One on Billboards R&B chart.

In January of 1990, Ice Cube left N.W.A. over a financial dispute and started a solo career. Later that year, N.W.A. released the platinum EP, 100 Miles and Running, on Ruthless Records. The groups third album, Efil 4 zaggin (Niggaz 4 Life), hit the stores in 1991, sold over a million copies in just two weeks, and reached Number One on Billboards album chart.

N.W.A.s success and controversy brought them lots of attention, and Dre began receiving attention for his antics outside of the recording studio. On January 27, 1991, Dre allegedly hit Denise (Dee) Barnes, the former host of Pump It Up, a FOX-TV show, and tried to push her down a staircase at an L.A. nightclub. Pump It Up had aired a segment about the separation of Ice Cube and N.W.A., with Ice Cube and the members of the group talking about each other. N.W.A. and Dre decided the show made them look bad. After the incident, Barnes filed assault charges and a $22.75 million suit against Dre; he settled out of court.

Joined Marion Suge Knight

Later in 1991, Dre and Marion Suge Knight inspected Dres contract with Ruthless Records. Dre, the house producer at Ruthless Records, had watched seven of the eight albums he produced go platinum. Knight claimed Ruthless had taken advantage of Dre by paying him a substandard royalty rate and withholding back pay. Dre left Ruthless, and Knight engineered his release from his contract with the label. Ruthless Records president Eazy-E claimed that he only agreed to end the contract because Knight and two other men threatened him with baseball bats and pipes.

I got Ice Cube his start. I also launched Eazy, Dre said in his record company biography. There aint no question that N.W.A. became what it was in large part because of my music and my producing. Me and Eazy had agreed from Jump Street that we was to be partners. Now Eazy says hes the owner of the record company, Ruthless. Well, let him own it then. But I was never supposed to be signed to him or owned by him. Eazy-E filed suits against Dre at the end of 1991 and in late 1992 for racketeering and conspiracy. A federal judge dismissed the charges on August 9, 1993.

Suge Knight and Dre founded their own label, Death Row Records, and searched for major label distribution. They had Dres first solo effort, The Chronic, completed by the time they formed a partnership with Interscope Records in 1992. People didnt want to take a chance on us, and it [made me angry], Dre said in Newsweek. I mean, I had talenttalent that had already been proven with huge record sales from N.W.A.so you had to wonder what the problem was.

Dre continued to keep his name in the press and on police records before the release of his solo album. On June 5, 1992, Dre surrendered to police after they had issued a warrant for his arrest on charges that he assaulted record producer Damon Thomas. Then, in October of 1992, Dre pleaded guilty to battery of a police officer during a May 22 brawl. He served house arrest sentences for each charge, which necessitated his wearing a police-monitoring ankle bracelet.

Success and Legal Trouble

In 1993, The Chronic arrived in storesthe first release for Death Row Records. It sold three million copies and spent eight months in the Top Ten of Billboards album chart. The first single, Nuthin But a G Thang, sold more than a million copies, and Fwit Dre Day went gold. The Chronic featured other budding rap artists from Dres posse, including Snoop Doggy Dogg, Rage, RBX, Jewell, Nate Dogg, Daz, and Kurupt. Dre then went behind the scenes of the music video business, following the release of the album with his directorial debut, Nuthin But aG Thang.

Dre went on to produce the debut of Snoop Doggy Dog, the best friend of Dres brother, Warren Griffen III (Warren G). Doggystyle, released on Death Row, sold 800,000 copies in its first week. In August of 1993, Dre and other Death Row artists headlined a national tour that included Run-D.M.C., Geto Boys, Onyx, and Boss. The $200,000 stage show included a 14-piece band, a 1964 Impala, a makeshift liquor store, a garage, a 10-foot skeleton, and a 42-person entourage.

Dre found himself in serious trouble in 1994. It began on January 10, when he led Los Angeles police through the streets on a high-speed chase. When Dre was finally apprehended, the police found his blood-alcohol level to be 0.16, twice the legal limit in California. Since he had broken his 1993 probation, he received an eight-month jail sentence, a $1,053 fine, four years summary probation, and an order to complete a 90-day alcohol education program.

Later that same year, Dre received a Grammy Award for best rap solo performance. He also produced the single debut of his brother, Warren G on Death Rows Above the Rim compilation. By August of 1994, albums he had rapped on or produced had sold nearly 28 million copies. On September 27, 1994, Death Row Records released Murder Was the Case, which featured a song by Dre and Ice Cube, Natural Born Killaz. Dre also directed an 18-minute video, starring Snoop Doggy Dogg, Murder Was the Case: The Movie.

Dre and Ice Cube reunited on their album, Helter Skelter. The first single, You Dont Want to See Me, featured an appearance by funk founder George Clinton. However, Helter Skelters release was postponed due to Dres jail sentence, which started on January 10, 1995. In the meantime, Dre contributed the single Keep Their Heads Ringin to the soundtrack for Friday, a comedy film starring Ice Cube. Meanwhile changes were taking place inside Dres head. That was my wake-up call because all I could do in that cell was think, he told Newsweeks Allison Samuels and David Gates. My mom said that going to jail was the best thing that could have happened to me, and she was right.

Left Death Row

Dre realized that the negative influences at Death Row were distracting him from his number one lovemaking music. A maturing Dre also felt that Death Row, constantly involved in one trouble or another, was a scene that was hindering the positivity he was feeling in his own life. He married in 1996 and considered himself a happily married man with children. However, his happy status was not part of Death Rows vision. As he told Vibe, The mentality there [at Death Row] is, you have to be mad at somebody in order for yourself to feel good, even to be able to make a record. He added, I have nothing bad to say about anybody thats with Death Row. Its just not my vibe.

In 1996, Dre stunned the rap world when he departed from Death Row, citing differences in philosophy. He had once hoped that the label would expand into other genres, including jazz, reggae, and black rock music. However, the irony was that gangsta rapspurred by his own classic, The Chronic continued to bring in the money, and according to Vibe, Dre began to realize that no one else was seeing his larger vision for the label.

Dre started his own label, Aftermath Entertainment, as a joint venture with Jimmy Iovines Interscope. Relishing his new autonomy, Dre asserted in Vibe, Now Im gonna be able to do whatever I wanna do. If it works, its on me. If it fails, its on me. But Im an innovator. To do so, Dre has recruited five black women he refers to as Dres Angels because as he told Vibe, like televisions character, Charlie, from Charlies Angels, he plans on being unseen, just heard. Later, admitting what he says on records about women is not true, he stated in Newsweek, black women are the strongest most hardworking people on earth.

Dres first Aftermath release was a compilation of various hard-core hip hop and R&B artists entitled Dr. Dre Presents Aftermath, and featured his own single, Been There, Done That. In bypassing the East Coast-West Coast riff between artists from the two different camps, Dre was able to work with the top people in the business, causing Vibe to suggest that he sets trends.

Most of the repercussions from Dres leaving Death Row had mostly positive effects. He commented in Vibe, People are giving me respect as a person, for being a wise black man Right now, Im exhaling in a major way. The only drawback was a brief period from 1996 to 1999 when, due to record label differences, he was restricted from working with some of his old crew, such as Snoop Doggy Dogg.

During that period, Dre produced the much anticipated, but mildly disappointing 1997 CD, The Album, by The Firm, which included Foxy Brown, Nas, AZ, and Nature. But 1999 saw the strong return of Dr. Dre with the debut of Detroit artist Eminem and The Slim Shady LP. Eminem, born Marshall Mathers HI, not only helped Dre flex his skills as a producer but also as a performer. The follow up release, The Marshall Mathers LP, garnered a Producer of the Year Grammy and a Best Performance by a Duo or Group Grammy for the single, Forgot About Dre.

Before he began working with Eminem, many people believed Dre ended his creative rap by leaving Death Row. He told Newsweek, The word on the street was I coudnt do it anymore. One writer said my only prayer was to work with Snoop again. In spite of previous problems, Dre did work with Snoop again on a solo effort, Dr. Dre 2001, in 1999 which also included collaborations between many other artists on The Chronic in 1992. It also sparked one of the most successful summer concert tours, 2000s Up In Smoke The Tour featured Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Eminem, and Ice Cube among others and included stops in more than 43 cities.

While Dre produced others and recorded solo efforts, his work with Aftermath gave him the opportunity to continue editing videos; working in film, and writing an autobiography. His film credits include a small role in 1996s Set If Off, and 2001s Training Day with Denzel Washington, and The Wash with Snoop.

Dre has vision, Jimmy Iovine, producer and head of Interscope Records, commented in Dres biography. I believe hes one of the great producers around today because his approach combines a lot of different worlds, in music and life. He can reach everyone. Because of his creativity and innovation, pushing the limits like most producers dont do anymore these dayswhether in rap or rockhe deserves his own label. Hes that gifted.

The turn of the millennium also saw Dre use his gifts to influence the technological future of music. Dre joined popular heavy metal band, Matallica, and the Recording Industry Association of America in suing Napster, a popular web site where members swap MP3s. In each suit, the complaints focused on copyright infringement. Dre submitted a list of more than 900,000 songs that he wanted removed from the website. Napster ultimately agreed to block songs that record companies wanted out of their trading software.

Regardless of the ups and downs in the rap business, Dres vision is still in tact. In Dres own words, as reported in Vibe, I just wanna be positive, helping people help themselves, not saying anything bad about anyone, just being the real Andre Young.Im not trying to be no gangster. The only thing I want to do is make records, live a comfortable life, and chill with my family. The aftermath seems to have been hard earned and worth the wait.

Selective Discography

(With N.W.A.)

N.W.A. and the Posse, Macola, 1987.

Straight Outta Compton, Ruthless, 1989.

100 Miles and Runnin, Ruthless, 1990.

Efil4zaggin, Ruthless, 1991.

Greatest Hits, 1996.

(as artist and/or producer)

Eazy-Duz-It, Ruthless, 1988.

The Chronic, Death Row, 1993.

Concrete Roots, Triple X, 1994.

Murder Was the Case, Death Row, 1994.

Helter Skelter, with Ice Cube, Death Row, 1995.

Keep Their Heads Ringin, Friday (soundtrack), Priority, 1995.

First Round Knock Out, Triple X, 1994.

Dr. Dre Presents The Aftermath, Aftermath, 1996.

The Album, The Firm, Aftermath, 1997.

The Slim Shady LP, Eminem, Aftermath, 1999.

The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem, Aftermath, 2000.

Dr. Dre 2001, Aftermath, 2000.

Sources

Books

Beckman, Janette, and B. Adler, Rap: Portraits and Lyrics of a Generation of Black Rockers, St. Martins Press, 1991.

The Trouser Press Record Guide, edited by Ira A. Robbins, Collier, 1991.

Periodicals

Billboard, October 14, 1989; April 7, 1990; June 22, 1991; July 6, 1991; July 13, 1991; September 7, 1991; June 6, 1992; June 20, 1992; October 24, 1992; January 16, 1993; January 23, 1993; May 8, 1993; July 3, 1993; July 10, 1993; August 23, 1993; November 27, 1993; December 25, 1993.

Details, April 1993; May 1993.

Entertainment Weekly, February 26, 1993; December 31, 1993; November 11, 1994; February 3,1995; October 25, 1996; June 22, 2001.

Jet, September 19, 1994; August 2, 1999; March 12, 2001.

Musician, June 1989; December 1990; March 1991; February 1994.

Newsbytes, April 26, 2000.

Newsweek, August 22, 1994; October 31, 1994; November 25, 1996, pp. 74-5., July 3, 2000.

New York Times, March 10, 1993; April 23, 1993; January 2, 1995.

People, May 23, 1994; September 19, 1994.

Rolling Stone, June 29, 1989; August 8, 1991; September 19, 1991; March 18, 1993; September 30, 1993; June 2, 1994; October 20, 1994.

The Source, September 1993; June 1995.

Spin, January 1994.

Vibe, September 1996, p. 65; October 1996, pp. 75-8.

Other

Additional information for this profile was obtained from an MTV News transcript, January 9, 1995, and Death Row Records press material, 1995.

Lorna M. Mabunda, Sonya Shelton and Leslie Rochelle

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Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre

Rap musician, producer

Dr. Dre is without question one of the most influential figures in Black music history. As one of hip-hop's most prolific and trendsetting producers, Dr. Dre has guided the careers of some of hip-hop's most celebrated figures. From his pioneering "G-Funk" sounds to his instrumental role in Eminem's career, Dre has been a critical factor in hardcore hip-hop's move to popular culture.

Born Andre Ramelle Young in Compton, California, Dre was raised by his mother. From the time he was four years old, he loved playing DJ at her parties. In 1981, he heard a song by Grandmaster Flash that inspired him to change his name in honor of basketball star Julius "Dr. J" Erving and become a full-time DJ.

Dre began spinning records at a Los Angeles nightclub called Eve After Dark. He produced the dance tapes in the club's four-track studio during the week, then played them on the weekends. In addition to using the rap trademarks of sampling, scratching, and drum machines, he added keyboards and vocals. "I would put together this mix shelf," Dre told Jonathan Gold in Rolling Stone, "lots of oldies, Martha and the Vandellas and stuff like that. And where normally you go to a club and the deejays play all the hit records back to back, I would put on a serious show. People would come from everywhere, just to see Dre on the wheels of steel."

In 1982, when Dre was 17 years old, he formed the World Class Wreckin' Cru with Yella (Antoine Carraby), his fellow DJ and manager of Eve After Dark. Dre's demo, "Surgery," became the group's first independently released single and sold 50,000 copies. Dre graduated from Compton's Centennial High School in 1983. Impressed with his studies in mechanical drafting, Northrop Aircraft offered him a job, but he turned it down. Dre discovered he could make more money as a DJ, and all of his spare time was spent preparing for the release of the World Class Wreckin' Cru's second album.

Dre left the World Class Wreckin' Cru in 1984. "They wouldn't do my songs," Dre said in a Death Row Records biography. "They said they'd never get on the radio." Dre joined with Ice Cube (O'Shea Jackson), who was in a group with his cousin at the time. Together they performed live wherever they could, including dates at skating rinks, where they played in front of 2,000 people at a time.

Formed New Company

In 1985, Dre and Eazy-E (Eric Wright) decided to start up their own record company with Eazy-E's capital and Dre's producing talent. Dre produced the label's first project, "Boyz-n-the-Hood," featuring Eazy-E as the artist. They sold about 10,000 copies out of the trunks of their cars and used the money to finance the first single for their newly formed group, N.W.A. (Niggaz with Attitude) which included Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Yella, MC Ren (Lorenzo Patterson), and Arabian Prince. Dre wrote and produced the group's first single, "Dopeman." He also produced Eazy-E's first platinum album, Eazy-Duz-It, that same year.

N.W.A. began its controversial and successful career in 1987 with the release of N.W.A. and the Posse on Macola Records. Two years later, the group released Straight Outta Compton on Ruthless Records and sold more than two million copies. Of course, the controversy behind the group and the album only assisted in launching their sales. Milt Ahlerich, assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Office of Public Affairs, wrote a letter to the group's parent record company objecting to the lyrics of the song "F*** tha Police." Police throughout the country added fuel to the fire by allegedly making it standard operating procedure to pull over any car driven by African-American men blaring N.W.A. "We loved the controversy," Dre said in his record company biography. "It's the reason we blew up as big as we did. It wasn't hurting us, it was helping us."

Keeping alive his career as a producer, Dre produced the D.O.C. (Tray Curry), a rapper he had discovered in Dallas, Texas. The D.O.C.'s album, No One Can Do It Better, became number one on Billboard 's R&B album chart, number 20 on the pop chart, and reached platinum sales. The track, "It's Funky Enough," became a number one rap single. Dre also produced an album for his former girlfriend, Michel'le, which went platinum and reached number one on Billboard 's R&B chart.

In January of 1990, Ice Cube left N.W.A. over a financial dispute and started a solo career. Later that year, N.W.A. released the platinum EP, 100 Miles and Runnin', on Ruthless Records. The group's third album, Efil4zaggin, hit the stores in 1991, sold over a million copies in just two weeks, and reached number one on Billboard 's album chart.

N.W.A.'s success and controversy brought them lots of attention, and Dre began receiving attention for his antics outside of the recording studio. On January 27, 1991, Dre allegedly hit Denise ("Dee") Barnes, the former host of Pump It Up, a FOX-TV show, and tried to push her down a staircase at a Los Angeles nightclub. Pump It Up had aired a segment about the separation of Ice Cube and N.W.A., with Ice Cube and the members of the group talking about each other. N.W.A. and Dre decided the show made them look bad. After the incident, Barnes filed assault charges and a $22 million dollar suit against Dre; he settled out of court.

Joined Marion "Suge" Knight

Later in 1991, Dre and Marion "Suge" Knight inspected Dre's contract with Ruthless Records. Dre, the house producer at Ruthless Records, had watched seven of the eight albums he produced go platinum. Knight claimed Ruthless had taken advantage of Dre by paying him a substandard royalty rate and withholding back pay. Dre left Ruthless, and Knight engineered his release from his contract with the label. Ruthless Records president Eazy-E claimed that he only agreed to end the contract because Knight and two other men threatened him with baseball bats and pipes.

For the Record …

Born Andre Ramelle Young, c. 1965, in Compton, CA; married with children.

Rap artist; record producer for various artists, including Eazy-E, Eminem, and Snoop Dogg. Began career as a DJ in high school, early 1980s; formed World Class Wreckin' Cru, 1982; released two albums; joined N.W.A., 1985; released three albums and one EP; produced eight albums for Ruthless Records; cofounded Death Row Records, 1991; released first solo album, The Chronic, Death Row, 1993; left Death Row and founded Aftermath Entertainment, 1996; released Dr. Dre PresentsThe Aftermath, 1996; produced The Album for The Firm, 1997; produced The Slim Shady LP, 1999; released Dr. Dre 2001, 1999; produced The Marshall Mathers LP, 2000.

Awards: Grammy Award, Best Rap Solo Performance for "Let Me Ride," 1993; Source Awards, Best Producer, Solo Artist, and Album, 1994; named "One of the Top Ten Artists That Mattered Most, 1985-1995" by Spin magazine; named one of "The 101 Most Powerful People in Entertainment" by Entertainment Weekly, 1996; Grammy Award, Producer of the Year, 2000; Grammy Award, Best Rap Album (as producer) for The Marshall Mathers LP, 2000; Grammy Award, Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group (with Eminem) for "Forgot About Dre," 2000.

Addresses: Record company—Aftermath Entertainment, 15060 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 225; Sherman Oaks, CA 91403, phone: (818) 385-0024, website: http://www.aftermathmusic.com. Website—Dr. Dre Official Website: http://www.dre2001.com/.

"I got Ice Cube his start. I also launched Eazy," Dre said in his record company biography. "There ain't no question that N.W.A. became what it was in large part because of my music and my producing. Me and Eazy had agreed from Jump Street that we was to be partners. Now Eazy says he's the owner of the record company, Ruthless. Well, let him own it then. But I was never supposed to be signed to him or owned by him." Eazy-E filed suits against Dre at the end of 1991 and in late 1992 for racketeering and conspiracy. A federal judge dismissed the charges on August 9, 1993.

Suge Knight and Dre founded their own label, Death Row Records, and searched for major label distribution. They had Dre's first solo effort, The Chronic, completed by the time they formed a partnership with Interscope Records in 1992. "People didn't want to take a chance on us, and it [made me angry]," Dre said in Newsweek. "I mean, I had talent—talent that had already been proven with huge record sales from N.W.A.—so you had to wonder what … the problem was."

Dre continued to keep his name in the press and on police records before the release of his solo album. On June 5, 1992, Dre surrendered to police after they had issued a warrant for his arrest on charges that he assaulted record producer Damon Thomas. Then, in October of 1992, Dre pleaded guilty to battery of a police officer during a May 22 brawl. He served "house arrest" sentences for each charge, which necessitated his wearing a police-monitoring ankle bracelet.

Success and Legal Trouble

In 1993, The Chronic arrived in stores—the first release for Death Row Records. It sold three million copies and spent eight months in the top ten of Billboard 's album chart. The first single, "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang," sold more than a million copies, and "Dre Day" went gold. The Chronic featured other budding rap artists from Dre's "posse," including Snoop Dogg, Rage, RBX, Jewell, Nate Dogg, Daz, and Kurupt. Dre then went behind the scenes of the music video business, following the release of the album with his directorial debut, Nuthin' But a'G' Thang.

Dre went on to produce the debut of Snoop Dogg, the best friend of Dre's stepbrother, Warren Griffen III (Warren G). Doggystyle, released on Death Row, sold 800,000 copies in its first week. In August of 1993, Dre and other Death Row artists headlined a national tour that included Run D.M.C., Geto Boys, Onyx, and Boss. The $200,000 stage show included a 14-piece band, a 1964 Impala, a makeshift liquor store, a garage, a 10-foot skeleton, and a 42-person entourage. Dre found himself in serious trouble in 1994. It began on January 10, when he led Los Angeles police through the streets on a high-speed chase. When Dre was finally apprehended, the police found his blood-alcohol level to be 0.16, twice the legal limit in California. Since he had broken his 1993 probation, he received an eight-month jail sentence, a $1,053 fine, four years summary probation, and an order to complete a 90-day alcohol education program.

Later that same year, Dre received a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. He also produced the single debut of his stepbrother, Warren G on Death Row's Above the Rim compilation. By August of 1994, albums he had rapped on or produced had sold nearly 28 million copies. On September 27, 1994, Death Row Records released Murder Was the Case, which featured a song by Dre and Ice Cube, "Natural Born Killaz." Dre also directed an 18-minute video, starring Snoop Dogg, Murder Was the Case: The Movie.

Dre and Ice Cube reunited on their album, Helter Skelter. The first single, "You Don't Want to See Me," featured an appearance by funk founder George Clinton. However, Helter Skelter's release was postponed due to Dre's jail sentence, which started on January 10, 1995. In the meantime, Dre contributed the single "Keep Their Heads Ringin'" to the soundtrack for Friday, a comedy film starring Ice Cube. Meanwhile changes were taking place inside Dre's head. "That was my wake-up call because all I could do in that cell was think," he told Newsweek's Allison Samuels and David Gates. "My mom said that going to jail was the best thing that could have happened to me, and she was right."

Left Death Row

Dre realized that the negative influences at Death Row were distracting him from his number one love—making music. A maturing Dre also felt that Death Row, constantly involved in one trouble or another, was a scene that was hindering the positivity he was feeling in his own life. He married in 1996 and considered himself a happily married man with children. However, his "happy" status was not part of Death Row's vision. As he told Vibe, "The mentality there [at Death Row] is, you have to be mad at somebody in order for yourself to feel good, even to be able to make a record." He added, "I have nothing bad to say about anybody that's with Death Row. It's just not my vibe."

In 1996, Dre stunned the rap world when he departed from Death Row, citing differences in philosophy. He had once hoped that the label would expand into other genres, including jazz, reggae, and rock music. However, the irony was that gangsta rap—spurred by his own classic, The Chronic—continued to bring in the money, and according to Vibe, "Dre began to realize that no one else was seeing his larger vision for the label."

Dre started his own label, Aftermath Entertainment, as a joint venture with Jimmy Iovine's Interscope. Relishing his new autonomy, Dre asserted in Vibe, "Now I'm gonna be able to do whatever I wanna do. If it works, it's on me. If it fails, it's on me. But I'm an innovator." Dre's first Aftermath release was a compilation of various hard-core hip hop and R&B artists entitled Dr. Dre PresentsAftermath, and featured his own single, "Been There, Done That." In bypassing the "East Coast-West Coast" riff between artists from the two different camps, Dre was able to work with the top people in the business, causing Vibe to suggest that "he sets trends."

Most of the repercussions from Dre's leaving Death Row had mostly positive effects. He commented in Vibe, "People are giving me respect as a person, for being a wise black man … Right now, I'm exhaling in a major way." The only drawback was a brief period from 1996 to 1999 when, due to record label differences, he was restricted from working with some of his old crew, such as Snoop Dogg.

Work with Eminem a Huge Success

During that period, Dre produced the much anticipated, but mildly disappointing 1997 CD, The Album, by The Firm, which included Foxy Brown, Nas, AZ, and Nature. But 1999 saw the strong return of Dr. Dre with the debut of Detroit artist, Eminem and The Slim Shady LP. Eminem, born Marshall Mathers, not only helped Dre flex his skills as a producer but also as a performer. The follow up release, The Marshall Mathers LP, garnered a Producer of the Year Grammy and a Best Performance by a Duo or Group Grammy for the single, "Forgot About Dre." Although he assumed a slightly lesser role in Eminem's third LP, The Eminem Show, Dre's presence was critical, as he guided Eminem through the production process. In addition to his work with Eminem, Dre served as the executice producer for hip-hop's newest superstar, 50 Cent.

Before he began working with Eminem and 50 Cent, many people believed Dre ended his creative rap by leaving Death Row. He told Newsweek, "The word on the street was I couldn't do it anymore. One writer said my only prayer was to work with Snoop again." In spite of previous problems, Dre did work with Snoop again on a solo effort, Dr. Dre 2001, in 1999 which also included collaborations between many other artists on The Chronic in 1992. It also sparked one of the most successful summer concert tours, 2000's Up In Smoke The Tour featured Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and Ice Cube among others and included stops in more than 43 cities.

While Dre produced others and recorded solo efforts, his work with Aftermath gave him the opportunity to continue editing videos; working in film, and writing an autobiography. His film credits include a small role in 1996's Set If Off, and 2001's Training Day with Denzel Washington, and The Wash with Snoop.

"Dre has vision," Jimmy Iovine, producer and head of Interscope Records, commented in Dre's biography. "I believe he's one of the great producers around today because his approach combines a lot of different worlds, in music and life. He can reach everyone. Because of his creativity and innovation, pushing the limits like most producers don't do anymore these days—whether in rap or rock—he deserves his own label. He's that gifted."

The turn of the millennium also saw Dre use his gifts to influence the technological future of music. Dre joined popular heavy metal band, Metallica, and the Recording Industry Association of America in suing Napster, a popular website where members swap MP3's. In each suit, the complaints focused on copyright infringement. Dre submitted a list of more than 900,000 songs that he wanted removed from the website. Napster ultimately agreed to block songs that record companies wanted out of their trading software.

Dre's musical empire is showing no signs of decline. At the beginning of 2004, Dre bolstered the Aftermath ranks by adding a mixture of old and new rap talent. In addition to signing veteran stars Busta Rhymes and Eve, Dre signed the West Coast's newest sensation, The Game.

Regardless of the ups and downs in the rap business, Dre's vision is still in tact. In Dre's own words, as reported in Vibe, "I just wanna be positive, helping people help themselves, not saying anything bad about anyone, just being the real Andre Young…. I'm not trying to be no gangster…. The only thing I want to do is make records, live a comfortable life, and chill with my family." The aftermath seems to have been hard earned and worth the wait.

Selected discography

Solo albums

The Chronic, Death Row, 1993.

Dr. Dre PresentsThe Aftermath, Aftermath, 1996.

2001, Aftermath, 1999.

With N.W.A.

N.W.A. and the Posse, Macola, 1987.

Straight Outta Compton, Ruthless, 1989.

100 Miles and Runnin', Ruthless, 1990.

Efil4zaggin, Ruthless, 1991.

Greatest Hits, 1996.

As producer

(Eazy-E) Eazy-Duz-It, Ruthless, 1988.

(Dr. Dre) Concrete Roots, Triple X, 1994.

(Snoop Doggy Dogg) Murder Was the Case, Death Row, 1994.

(Ice Cube) Helter Skelter, Death Row, 1995.

First Round Knock Out, Triple X, 1994.

(The Firm) The Album, Aftermath, 1997.

(Eminem) The Slim Shady LP, Aftermath, 1999.

(Eminem) The Marshall Mathers LP, Aftermath, 2000.

(Eminem) The Eminem Show, Aftermath, 2002.

(50 Cent) Get Rich Or Die Trying, Aftermath, 2002.

Sources

Books

Beckman, Janette, and B. Adler, Rap: Portraits and Lyrics of a Generation of Black Rockers, St. Martin's, 1991.

Robbins, Ira A., editor, The Trouser Press Record Guide, Collier, 1991.

Periodicals

Billboard, October 14, 1989; April 7, 1990; June 22, 1991; July 6, 1991; July 13, 1991; September 7, 1991; June 6, 1992; June 20, 1992; October 24, 1992; January 16, 1993; January 23, 1993; May 8, 1993; July 3, 1993; July 10, 1993; August 23, 1993; November 27, 1993; December 25, 1993.

Details, April 1993; May 1993.

Entertainment Weekly, February 26, 1993; December 31, 1993; November 11, 1994; February 3,1995; October 25, 1996; June 22, 2001.

Jet, September 19, 1994; August 2, 1999; March 12, 2001. Musician, June 1989; December 1990; March 1991; February 1994.

Newsbytes, April 26, 2000.

Newsweek, August 22, 1994; October 31, 1994; November 25, 1996, pp. 74-5., July 3, 2000.

New York Times, March 10, 1993; April 23, 1993; January 2, 1995.

People, May 23, 1994; September 19, 1994.

Rolling Stone, June 29, 1989; August 8, 1991; September 19, 1991; March 18, 1993; September 30, 1993; June 2, 1994; October 20, 1994.

The Source, September 1993; June 1995. Spin, January 1994.

Vibe, September 1996, p. 65; October 1996, pp. 75-8. XXL, May 2004.

Additional information for this profile was obtained from an MTV News transcript, January 9, 1995, and Death Row Records press materials, 1995.

—Lorna M. Mabunda andMarc L. Hill

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Dr. Dre 1966–

Dr. Dre 1966

Rap singer, producer

At a Glance

The Birth of N.W.A.

On Death Row

Platinum, Production, and Posses

Selected discography

Sources

Though Dr. Dres music career has not always been a G Thang, (G stands for gang-sta), his own recordings combined with his production work made ganqsta rap among the most vita pop genres of the 1990s. Born Andre Ramelle Young in Compton, California, Dre was raised by his mother. From the time he was four years old, he loved playing DJ at her parties. In 1981, he heard a song by Grandmaster Flash that inspired him to change his name in honor of basketball star Julius Dr. J Erving and become a full-time DJ.

Dre began spinning records at a Los Angeles nightclub called Eve After Dark. He produced the dance tapes in the clubs four-track studio during the week, then played them on the weekends. In addition to using the rap trademarks of sampling, scratching, and drum machines, he added keyboards and vocals. I would put together this mix shelf, Dre told Jonathan Gold in Rolling Stone, lots of oldies, Martha and the Vandellas and stuff like that. And where normally you go to a club and the deejays play all the hit records back to back, I would put on a serious show. People would come from everywhere, just to see Dre on the wheels of steel.

In 1982, when Dre was 17 years old, he formed the World Class Wreckin Cru with Yella (Antoine Carraby), his fellow DJ and manager of Eve After Dark. Dres demo, Surgery, became the groups first independently released single and sold 50,000 copies. Dre graduated from Comptons Centennial High School in 1983. Impressed with his studies in mechanical drafting, Northrop Aircraft offered him a job, but he turned it down. Dre discovered he could make more money as a DJ, and all of his spare time was spent preparing for the release of the World Class Wreckin Crus second album.

Dre left the World Class Wreckin Cru in 1984. They wouldnt do my songs, Dre said in a Death Row Records biography. They said theyd never get on the radio. Dre joined with Ice Cube (OShea Jackson), who was in a group with his cousin at the time. Together they performed live wherever they could, including dates at skating rinks, where they played in

At a Glance

Born Andre Rameile Young, February 18, 1966, in Compton, CA; married Nicole Threatt, May 1996; children: (with singer Michelle) Marcell (son).

Rap artist; record producer for various artists, including Eazy-E, the D.O.C, and Snoop Doggy Dogg. Began career as a DJ in high school, early 1980s; formed World Class Wreckin Cru, 1982; released two albums; joined N.W.A., 1985; released three albums and one EP; produced eight albums for Ruthless Records; cofound-edDeath Row Records, 1991; released first solo album, The Chronic, Death Row, 1993; left Death Row and founded Aftermath Entertainment, 1996.

Awards: Grammy Award for best rap solo performance, 1994; Source awards for best producer, solo artist, and album, 1994; named One of the Top Ten Artists That Mattered Most, 1985-1995 by Spin magazine; named one of The 101 Most Powerful People in Entertainment by Entertainment Weekly, 1996.

Addresses: Record company Aftermath Entertainment, 15060 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 225; Sherman Oaks, CA 91403; telephone: (818) 385-0024.

front of 2,000 people at a time.

The Birth of N.W.A.

In 1985, Dre and Eazy-E (Eric Wright) decided to start up their own record company with Eazy-Es capital and Dres producing talent. Dre produced the labels first project, Boyz-n-the-Hood, featuring Eazy-E as the artist. They sold about 10,000 copies out of the trunks of their cars and used the money to finance the first single for their newly formed group, N.W.A. (Niggaz with Attitude). N.W.A. included Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Yella, M. C. Ren (Lorenzo Patterson), and Arabian Prince. Dre wrote and produced the groups first single, Dopeman. He also produced Eazy-Es first platinum album, Eazy-Duz-It, that same year.

N.W.A. began their controversial and successful career in 1987 with the release of N.W.A. and the Posse on Macola Records. Two years later, the group released Straight Outta Compton on Ruthless Records and sold more than two million copies. Of course, the controversy behind the group and the album only assisted in launching their sales. Milt Ahlerich, assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations Office of Public Affairs, wrote a letter to the groups parent record company objecting to the lyrics of the song Ftha Police. Police throughout the country added fuel to the fire by allegedly making it standard operating procedure to pull over any car driven by African American men blaring N.W.A. We loved the controversy, Dre said in his record company biography. Its the reason we blew up as big as we did. It wasnt hurting us, it was helping us.

Keeping his career as a producer alive, Dre produced the D.O.C. (Tray Curry), a rapper he had discovered in Dallas, Texas. The D.O.C.s album, No One Can Do It Better, became Number One on Billboards R&B album chart, Number 20 on the pop chart, and reached platinum sales. The track titled Its Funky Enough became a Number One rap single. Dre also produced an album for his girlfriend, Michelle, which went platinum and reached Number One on Billboards R&B chart.

In January of 1990, Ice Cube left N.W.A. over a financial dispute and started a solo career. Later that year, N.W.A. released the platinum EP 100 Miles and Runnin on Ruthless Records. The groups third album, Efil4zaggin (Niggaz 4 Life), hit the stores in 1991, sold over a million copies in just two weeks, and reached Number One on Billboards album chart.

N.W.A.s success and controversy brought them lots of attention, and Dre began receiving attention for his antics outside of the recording studio. On January 27, 1991, Dre allegedly hit Denise (Dee) Barnes, the former host of Pump It Up, a FOX-TV show, and tried to push her down a staircase at an L. A. nightclub. Pump It Up had aired a segment about the separation of Ice Cube and N.W.A., with Ice Cube and the members of the group talking about each other. N.W.A. and Dre decided the show made them look bad. After the incident, Barnes filed assault charges and a $22.75 million suit against Dre; he settled out of court.

On Death Row

Later in 1991, Dre and Marion Suge Knight inspected Dres contract with Ruthless Records. Dre, the house producer at Ruthless Records, had watched seven of the eight albums he produced go platinum. Knight claimed Ruthless had taken advantage of Dre by paying him a substandard royalty rate and withholding back pay. Dre left Ruthless, and Knight engineered his release from his contract with the label. Ruthless Records president Eazy-E claimed that he only agreed to end the contract because Knight and two other men threatened him with baseball bats and pipes.

I got Ice Cube his start. I also launched Eazy, Dre said in his record company biography. There aint no question that N. W. A. became what it was in large part because of my music and my producing. Me and Eazy had agreed from Jump Street that we was to be partners. Now Eazy says hes the owner of the record company, Ruthless. Well, let him own it then. But I was never supposed to be signed to him or owned by him. Eazy-E filed suits against Dre at the end of 1991 and late 1992 for racketeering and conspiracy. A federal judge dismissed the charges on August 9, 1993.

Suge Knight and Dre founded their own label, called Death Row Records, and searched for major label distribution. They had Dres first solo effort, The Chronic, completed by the time they formed a partnership with Interscope Records in 1992. People didnt want to take a chance on us, and it pissed me off, Dre said in Newsweek. I mean, I had talent-alent that had already been proven with huge record sales from N.W.A.so you had to wonder what the fthe problem was.

Dre continued to keep his name in the press and on police records before the release of his solo album. On June 5, 1992, Dre surrendered to police after they had issued a warrant for his arrest on charges that he assaulted record producer Damon Thomas. Then, in October of 1992, Dre pleaded guilty to battery of a police officer during a May 22 brawl. He served house arrest sentences for each charge, which necessitated his wearing a police-monitoring ankle bracelet. On a more positive note, he also became the co-host of Yo! MTV Raps with Ed Lover.

Platinum, Production, and Posses

In 1993, The Chronic arrived in stores-the first release for Death Row Records. It sold three million copies and spent eight months in the Top Ten of Billboards album chart. The first single, Nuthin But a G Thang, sold more than a million copies, and Fwit Dre Day went gold. The Chronic featured other budding rap artists from Dres posse, including Snoop Doggy Dogg, Rage, RBX, Jewell, Nate Dogg, Daz, and Kurupt. Dre then went behind the scenes of the music video business, following the release of the album with his directorial debut, Nuthin But a G Thang. He also starred in the movie Whos the Man? with Lover, his MTV cohost.

Dre went on to produce the debut of his brothers best friend, Snoop Doggy Dogg. Doggystyle, released on Death Row, sold 800,000 copies in its first week. In August of 1993, Dre and other Death Row artists headlined a national tour that included Run-D.M.C, Geto Boys, Onyx, and Boss. The $200,000 stage show included a 14-piece band, a 1964 Impala, a makeshift liquor store, a garage, a 10-foot skeleton, and a 42-person entourage.

Dre found himself in serious trouble in 1994. It all began on January 10, when he led Los Angeles police through the streets on a high-speed chase. When Dre was finally apprehended, the police found his blood-alcohol level to be 0.16, twice the legal limit in California. Since he had broken his 1993 probation, he received an eight-month jail sentence, a $ 1,053 fine, four years summary probation, and an order to complete a 90-day alcohol education program.

Later that same year, Dre received a Grammy Award for best rap solo performance. He also producedhis younger brother Warren Gs debut single on Death Rows Above the Rim compilation. By August of 1994, albums he had rapped on or produced had sold nearly 28 million copies. On September 27, 1994, Death Row Records released Murder Was the Case, which featured a song by Dre and Ice Cube called Natural Born Killaz. Dre also directed an 18-minute video, starring Snoop Doggy Dogg, called Murder Was the Case: The Movie.

Dre and Ice Cube reunited on their album Heiter Skelter. The first single, You Dont Want to See Me, featured an appearance by funk founder George Clinton. However, Heiter Skelters release was postponed due to Dres jail sentence, which started on January 10, 1995. In the meantime, he contributed the single Keep Their Heads Ringin to the soundtrack for Friday, a comedy film starring Ice Cube. Meanwhile changes were taking place inside Dres head. That was my wake-up call because all I could do in that cell was think, he told Neiusweeks Allison Samuels and David Gates. My mom said that going to jail was the best thing that could have happened to me, and she was right.

Dre realized that the negative influences at Death Row were distracting him from his number one love-making music. A maturing Dre also felt that Death Row, constantly involved in one trouble or another, was a scene that was hindering the positivity he was feeling in his own life as a happily married with children. As he told Vibe, The mentality there [at Death Row] is, you have to be mad at somebody in order for yourself to feel good, even to be able to make a record. He added, I have nothing bad to say about anybody thats with Death Row. Its just not my vibe.

In 1996, Dre stunned the rap world when he departed from Death Row, citing differences in philosophy. He had once hoped that the label would expand into other genres, including jazz, reggae, and black rock music. However, the irony was that gangsta rap-spurred by his own classic, The Chronic-continued to bring in the bucks, and according to Vibe, Dre began to realize that no one else was seeing his larger vision for the label.

Instead, Dre started his own label, Aftermath Entertainment, as a joint venture with Jimmy Iovines Interscope. Dre recruited five black women he refers to as Dres Angels because as he told Vibe, like tvs fictional character from Charlies Angels, he plans on being unseen, just heard. Later he stated in Newsweek, black women are the strongest, most hardworking people on earth. The sh-t I talk on records [about women] is just that: sh-t.

Relishing his new autonomy, Dre asserted in Vibe, Now Ima gonna be able to do whatever I wanna do. If it works, its on me. If it fails, its on me. But Im an innovator. I like trying things. I take people that have a talent, mold it, make it presentable to the public, put em out there, and have their back 110 percent. Carrying that tune to Aftermath, Dres first new release was a compilation of various hard-core hip hop and r&b artists entitled Dr. Dre Presents Aftermath, featuring his own single, Been There, Done That.

Bypassing the East Coast-West Coast riff between artists from the two different camps, Dre has been able to work with the top people in the business, causing Vibe to suggest that he sets trends. While others smoke beef, he brings home the bacon. Dres attitude about the geographical war is a strong one. Kill the noise!, he exclaimed in Vibe. Theres definitely no reason for it. Thats the biggest case of black-on-black crime Ive seen in my life.

Most of the repercussions from Dres leaving Death Row have been good. He commented in Vibe, People are giving me respect as a person, for being a wise black man, and Im loving it sh-t. Right now, Im exhaling in a major way. The only drawback has been his inability to work with some of his old cronies, such as Snoop Doggy Dogg. In addition to producing others and recording solo materials, Dres adventures with Aftermath have afforded him the opportunity to continue editing videos; working in film, including a small role in 1996s Set It Off, and penning an autobiography.

Dre has vision, Iovine commented in Dres biography. I believe hes one of the great producers around today because his approach combines a lot of different worlds, in music and life. He can reach everyone. Because of his creativity and innovation, pushing the limits like most producers dont anymore these days-whether in rap or rock-he deserves his own label. Hes that gifted. In Dres own words, as reported in Vibe, I just wanna be positive, helping people help themselves, not saying anything bad about anyone, just being the real Andre Young. Im not trying to be no gangster. The only thing I want to do is make records, live a comfortable life, and chill with my family. The aftermath seems to have been hard earned and worth the wait.

Selected discography

With N.W.A.

N.W.A. and the Posse, Macola, 1987.

Straight Outta Compton, Ruthless, 1989.

100 Miles and Runniri, Ruthless, 1990.

Niggaz4Life, Ruthless, 1991.

Greatest Hits, 1996.

Other (as artist and/or producer)

The Chronic, Death Row, 1993.

Concrete Roots, Triple X, 1994

(Contributor) Murder Was the Case, Death Row, 1994.

(With Ice Cube) Heiter Skelter, Death Row, 1995.

Keep Their Heads Ringin, Friday (soundtrack), Priority, 1995.

First Round Knock Out, Triple X, 1994.

Dr. Dre Presents The Aftermath, Aftermath, 1996.

Sources

Books

Beckman, Janette, and B. Adler, Rap: Portraits and Lyrics of a Generation of Black Rockers, St. Martins Press, 1991.

The Trouser Press Record Guide, edited by Ira A. Robbins, Collier, 1991.

Periodicals

Billboard, October 14, 1989; April 7, 1990; June 22, 1991; July 6, 1991; July 13, 1991; September 7, 1991; June 6, 1992; June 20, 1992; October 24, 1992; January 16, 1993; January 23, 1993; May 8, 1993; July 3, 1993; July 10, 1993; August 23, 1993; November 27, 1993; December 25, 1993.

Details, April 1993; May 1993.

Entertainment Weekly, February 26, 1993; December 31, 1993; November 11, 1994; February 3, 1995; October 25, 1996.

Jet, September 19, 1994.

Musician, June 1989; December 1990; March 1991; February 1994.

Newsweek, August 22, 1994; October 31, 1994; November 25, 1996, pp. 74-5.

New York Times, March 10, 1993; April 23, 1993; January 2, 1995.

People, May 23, 1994; September 19, 1994.

Rolling Stone, June 29, 1989; August 8, 1991; September 19, 1991; March 18, 1993; September 30, 1993; June 2, 1994; October 20, 1994.

The Source, September 1993; June 1995.

Spin, January 1994.

Vibe, September 1996, p. 65; October 1996, pp. 75-8.

Additional information for this profile was obtained from an MTV News transcript, January 9, 1995, and Death Row Records press material, 1995.

Sonya Shelton and Lorna M. Mabunda

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Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre

Rap singer, producer

The Birth of N. W. A.

Away from N. W. A.

On Death Row

Selected discography

Sources

Though Dr. Dres music career hasnt always been a G Thang, (the G stands for gangsta), his own recordings combined with his production work made gangsta rap among the most vital pop genres of the 1990s. Born Andre Ramelle Young in Compton, California, Dr. Dre was raised by his mother. From the time he was four years old, he loved playing DJ at her parties. In 1981, he heard a song by Grandmaster Flash that inspired him to change his name in honor of basketball star Julius Dr. J Erving and become a full-time DJ.

Dr. Dre began spinning records at a Los Angeles nightclub called Eve After Dark. He produced the dance tapes in the clubs four-track studio during the week, then played them on the weekends. In addition to using the rap trademarks of sampling, scratching, and drum machines, he added keyboards and vocals. I would put together this mix shelf, Dre told Jonathan Gold in Rolling Stone, lots of oldies, Martha and the Vandellas and stuff like that. And where normally you go to a club and the deejays play all the hit records back to back, I would put on a serious show. People would come from everywhere, just to see Dr. Dre on the wheels of steel.

In 1982, when Dre was 17 years old, he formed the World Class Wreckin Cru with Yella (Antoine Carraby), his fellow DJ and manager of Eve After Dark. Dres demo, Surgery, became the groups first independently released single and sold 50,000 copies. Dre graduated from Comptons Centennial High School in 1983. Impressed with his studies in mechanical drafting, Northrop Aircraft offered him a job, but he turned it down. Dre discovered he could make more money as a DJ, and all of his spare time was spent preparing for the release of the World Class Wreckin Crus second album.

The Birth of N. W. A.

Dr. Dre left the World Class Wreckin Cru in 1984. They wouldnt do my songs, Dre said in a Death Row Records biography. They said theyd never get on the radio. Dre joined with Ice Cube (OShea Jackson), who was in a group with his cousin at the time. Together they performed live wherever they could, including dates at skating rinks, where they played in front of 2,000 people at a time.

In 1985, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E (Eric Wright) decided to start up their own record company with Eazy-Es capital and Dres producing talent. Dre produced the labels first project, Boyz-n-the-Hood, featuring Eazy-E as the artist. They sold about 10,000 copies out of the

For the Record

Born Andre Ramelle Young, c. 1965, in Compton, CA; children: (with girlfriend, Michelle) Marcell (son).

Rap artist; record producer for various artists, including Eazy-E, the D. O. C., and Snoop Doggy Dogg. Began career as a DJ in high school, early 1980s; formed World Class Wreckin Cru, 1982; released two albums; joined N. W. A., 1985; released three albums and one EP; produced eight albums for Ruthless Records; confounded Death Row Records, 1991; released first solo album, The Chronic, Death Row, 1993.

Awards: Grammy Award for best rap solo performance, 1994; Source awards for best producer, solo artist, and album, 1994; named One of the Top Ten Artists That Mattered Most, 1985-1995 by Spin magazine.

Addresses: Record company Death Row Records, 10900 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1240, Los Angeles, CA 90024.

trunks of their cars and used the money to finance the first single for their newly formed group, N. W. A. (Niggaz with Attitude). N. W. A. included Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Yella, M. C. Ren (Lorenzo Patterson), and Arabian Prince. Dre wrote and produced the groups first single, Dopeman. He also produced Eazy-Es first platinum album, Eazy-Duz-lt, that same year.

N. W. A. began their controversial and successful career in 1987 with the release of N. W. A. and the Posse on Macola Records. Two years later, the group released Straight Outta Compton on Ruthless Records and sold more than two million copies. Of course, the controversy behind the group and the album only assisted in launching their sales. Milt Ahlerich, assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations Office of Public Affairs, wrote a letter to the groups parent record company objecting to the lyrics of the song F tha Police. Police throughout the country added fuel to the fire by allegedly making it standard operating procedure to pull over any car driven by African American men blaring N. W. A. We loved the controversy, Dre said in his record company biography. Its the reason we blew up as big as we did. It wasnt hurting us, it was helping us.

Keeping his career as a producer alive, Dre produced the D. O. C. (Tray Curry), a rapper he had discovered in Dallas, Texas. The D. O. C. s album, No One Can Do It Better, became Number One on Billboards R&B album chart, Number 20 on the pop chart, and reached platinum sales. The track titled Its Funky Enough became a Number One rap single. Dre also produced an album for his girlfriend, Michelle, which went platinum and reached Number One on Billboards R&B chart.

Away from N. W. A.

In January of 1990, Ice Cube left N. W. A. over a financial dispute and started a solo career. Later that year, N. W. A. released the platinum EP 100Miles and Runnin on Ruthless Records. The groups third album, Efil4zaggin (Niggaz 4 Life), hit the stores in 1991, sold over a million copies in just two weeks, and reached Number One on Billboards album chart.

N. W. A. s success and controversy brought them lots of attention, and Dr. Dre began receiving attention for his antics outside of the recording studio. On January 27, 1991, Dre allegedly hit Denise (Dee) Barnes, the former host of Pump It Up, a FOX-TV show, and tried to push her down a staircase at an L. A. nightclub. Pump It Up had aired a segment about the separation of Ice Cube and N. W. A., with Ice Cube and the members of the group talking about each other. N. W. A. and Dr. Dre decided the show made them look bad. After the incident, Barnes filed assault charges and a $22. 75 million suit against Dr. Dre; he settled out of court.

Later in 1991, Dr. Dre and Marion Suge Knight inspected Dres contract with Ruthless Records. Dre, the house producer at Ruthless Records, had watched seven of the eight albums he produced go platinum. Knight claimed Ruthless had taken advantage of Dr. Dre by paying him a substandard royalty rate and withholding back pay. Dre left Ruthless, and Knight engineered his release from his contract with the label. Ruthless Records president Eazy-E claimed that he only agreed to end the contract because Knight and two other men threatened him with baseball bats and pipes.

I got Ice Cube his start. I also launched Eazy, Dr. Dre said in his record company biography. There aint no question that N. W. A. became what it was in large part because of my music and my producing. Me and Eazy had agreed from Jump Street that we was to be partners. Now Eazy says hes the owner of the record company, Ruthless. Well, let him own it then. But I was never supposed to be signed to him or owned by him. Eazy-E filed suits against Dr. Dre at the end of 1991 and late 1992 for racketeering and conspiracy. A federal judge dismissed the charges on August 9, 1993.

On Death Row

Suge Knight and Dr. Dre founded their own label, called Death Row Records, and searched for major label distribution. They had Dr. Dres first solo effort, The Chronic, completed by the time they formed a partnership with Interscope Records in 1992. People didnt want to take a chance on us, and it pissed me off, Dre said in Newsweek . I mean, I had talent talent that had already been proven with huge record sales from N. W. A. so you had to wonder what the f the problem was.

Dr. Dre continued to keep his name in the press and on police records before the release of his solo album. On June 5,1992, Dre surrendered to police after they had issued a warrant for his arrest on charges that he assaulted record producer Damon Thomas. Then, in October of 1992, Dre pleaded guilty to battery of a police officer during a May 22 brawl. He served house arrest sentences for each charge, which necessitated his wearing a police-monitoring ankle bracelet. On a more positive note, he also became the co-host of Yo! MTV Raps with Ed Lover.

In 1993, The Chronic arrived in stores the first release for Death Row Records. It sold three million copies and spent eight months in the Top Ten of Billboards album chart. The first single, Nuthin But a G Thang, sold more than a million copies, and F wit Dre Day went gold. The Chronic featured other budding rap artists from Dres posse, including Snoop Doggy Dogg, Rage, RBX, Jewell, Nate Dogg, Daz, and Kurupt. Dr. Dre then went behind the scenes of the music video business, following the release of the album with his directorial debut, Nuthin But a G Thang . He also starred in the movie Whos the Man? with Lover, his MTV cohost.

Dre went on to produce the debut of his brothers best friend, Snoop Doggy Dogg. Doggy style, released on Death Row, sold 800,000 copies in its first week. In August of 1993, Dr. Dre and other Death Row artists headlined a national tour that included Run-D. M. C, Geto Boys, Onyx, and Boss. The $200,000 stage show included a 14-piece band, a 1964 Impala, a makeshift liquor store, a garage, a 10-foot skeleton, and a 42-person entourage.

Dr. Dre found himself in serious trouble in 1994. It all began on January 10, when he led Los Angeles police through the streets on a high-speed chase. When Dre was finally apprehended, the police found his blood-alcohol level to be 0. 16, twice the legal limit in California. Since he had broken his 1993 probation, he received an eight-month jail sentence, a $1,053 fine, four years summary probation, and an order to complete a 90-day alcohol education program.

Later that same year, Dre received a Grammy Award for best rap solo performance. In addition, he produced his younger brothers debut single on Death Rows Above the Rim compilation. By August of 1994, albums he had rapped on or produced had sold nearly 28 million copies. On September 27, 1994, Death Row Records released Murder Was the Case, which featured a song by Dr. Dre and Ice Cube called Natural Born Killaz. Dre also directed an 18-minute video, starring Snoop Doggy Dogg, called Murder Was the Case: The Movie.

Dr. Dre and Ice Cube reunited on their album Helter Skelter . The first single, You Dont Want to See Me, featured an appearance by funk founder George Clinton. However, Helter Skelters release was postponed due to Dres eight-month jail sentence, which started on January 10, 1995. In the meantime, he contributed the single Keep Their Heads Ringin to the soundtrack for Friday, a comedy film starring Ice Cube.

Despite the setback, Dr. Dre is expected to bounce back from the adverse publicity and continue his career as a producer and recording artist. Dre has vision, Jimmy lovine, producer and head of Inter.scope Records, commented in Dr. Dres biography. I believe hes one of the great producers around today because his approach combines a lot of different worlds, in music and life. He can reach everyone. Because of his creativity and innovation, pushing the limits like most producers dont anymore these days whether in rap or rock he deserves his own label. Hes that gifted.

Selected discography

With N. W. A.

N. W. A. and the Posse, Macola, 1987.

Straight Outta Compton, Ruthless, 1989.

100 Miles and Runnin, Ruthless, 1990.

Efilzaggin, Ruthless, 1991.

Other

The Chronic, Death Row, 1993.

(Contributor) Murder Was the Case, Death Row, 1994.

(With Ice Cube) Helter Skelter, Death Row, 1995.

Keep Their Heads Ringin, Friday (soundtrack), Priority, 1995.

Sources

Books

Beckman, Janette, and B. Adler, Rap: Portraits and Lyrics of a Generation of Black Rockers, St. Martins Press, 1991.

The Trouser Press Record Guide, edited by Ira A. Robbins, Collier, 1991.

Periodicals

Billboard, October 14, 1989; April 7, 1990; June 22, 1991; July 6, 1991; July 13, 1991; September 7, 1991; June 6, 1992; June 20,1992; October 24,1992; January 16,1993; January 23,1993; May 8,1993; July 3,1993; July 10,1993; August 23,1993; November27,1993; December 25,1993.

Details, April 1993; May 1993.

Entertainment Weekly, February 26, 1993; December 31, 1993; November 11, 1994; February 3, 1995.

Jet, September 19, 1994.

Musician, June 1989; December 1990; March 1991; February 1994.

Newsweek, August 22, 1994; October 31, 1994.

New York Times, March 10, 1993; April 23, 1993; January 2, 1995.

People, May 23, 1994; September 19, 1994.

Rolling Stone, June 29,1989; August8,1991; September 19, 1991; March 18,1993; September 30,1993; June 2,1994; October 20, 1994.

The Source, September 1993; June 1995.

Spin, January 1994.

Additional information for this profile was obtained from an MTV News transcript, January 9, 1995, and Death Row Records press material, 1995.

Sonya Shelton

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Dr. Dre

DR. DRE

Born: Andre Young; Los Angeles, California, 18 February 1965

Genre: Hip-Hop

Best-selling album since 1990: The Chronic (1992)

Hit songs since 1990: "Ain't Nuthin' but a G Thang," "Let Me Ride," "Still D.R.E.," "The Next Episode"


If Phil Spector and Brian Wilson defined the sound of California in the 1960s and 1970s, then Dr. Dre became the next Angelino to seduce the nation with his sonic vision of Southern California. Until the arrival of his album, The Chronic (1992), hip-hop had largely followed an East Coast aesthetic shaped by producers such as Marley Marl and the 45 King. Evoking the sonic tempo and texture of the subway cars running throughout New York, the so-called "East Coast sound" pulsed with an edgy, staccato rhythm. Dr. Dre's sound on The Chronic (1992) stands in stark contrast.

Dr. Dre began his career in the mid-1980s as the producer and sometime-rapper for the Los Angelesbased rap group the World Class Wrecking Cru. He left the Cru in 1986 to help join the formation of N.W.A., where he, along with his fellow Cru member Yella, were responsible for the production on N.W.A.'s groundbreaking Straight Outta Compton (1988). By the late 1980s Dre was the producer of choice for many L.A. rap groups, including Above the Law, the D.O.C., and J.J. Fad. He also continued to produce for N.W.A. until the group disassembled in 1991. Dre then moved onto a solo career, beginning with The Chronic.

Inspired by everything from low-rider convertibles to backyard barbecues to Southern California's mythic sun culture, Dre makes music that is about release and hedonism rather than the clenched tension that defines New York's vibe. One of Dr. Dre's main innovations on The Chronic is using musicians rather than sampling to interpolate rhythms and melodies throughout the tracks, a technique that gives the album a more organic, vibrant sound yet retains the comfort and familiarity that samples can provide. The signature style on the album is Dr. Dre's synthesizers, snaking their way through the album's main hits like "Ain't Nuthin' but a G Thang" and "Let Me Ride." These songs are lush, drenched in melodies and harmonies reminiscent of 1970s soul by the likes of Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, and Gamble and Huff. There is darker fare as well, such as the funk-laden "Escape from Death Row" or the forceful "Lyrical Gangbang," which balance the album's sonic impulses.

As Los Angeles lay smoldering from physical and social fires lit by the riots following the Rodney King verdicts, The Chronic stood as an unlikely affirmation and celebration of inner-city life as well as a warning that the age of the gangsta was upon us. Though Dre raps on most of the album's songs, his lack of sophistication as a lyricist led him to bring aboard Snoop (Doggy) Dogg for the album. With his memorable drawl and sing-song lyrical style, Snoop was an unlikely gangsta icon; his easy-going attitude toward violence and death is made all the more sinister by his relaxed nature. He is the virtuoso, verbal complement to Dre's outstanding soundcraft, and though Snoop's name does not appear on the album's header, it is as much his album as Dre's.

The Chronic was a crowning achievement and instantly inspired an entire generation of followers and copycats. Though Dre never gave up his role of producer and rapper, he spent the rest of the decade learning how to become a kingmaker. His first attempt, Dr. Dre Presents . . . The Aftermath (1996), fell short, failing to produce hits or future stars. Dre found more success with 2001 (1999), a well-liked follow-up to The Chronic that shows off a sound that is no less soulful for having grown more spare. The project reunited him with Snoop Dogg and a host of other guests. Few new stars, however, emerged from the project.

Dre's main achievement by the turn of the century was not his own work but finding and nurturing new talent. Just as he had promoted Snoop Dogg's early career, Dre took Eminem under his wing. Under his guidance the controversial white rapper emerged in 2000 as one of rap music's biggest new stars. Though Dre did not produce all the songs that appeared on Eminem's albums, his implicit endorsement of Eminem gave the rising rapper a legitimacy among the many fans loyal to Dre. Likewise, in 2003 Dre, along with Eminem, put his credibility and resources behind the rapper 50 Cent, whose debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2003), claimed the biggest-selling debut in pop music history.

Over time, Dr. Dre has attracted his share of admirers and critics, not simply over the amoral lifestyle he champions on his albums, but also for creating such an omnipresent sound that dominated much of hip-hop in the 1990s. Undeniably, though, for those who champion and condemn him, Dr. Dre has become one of the most important and influential figures in hip-hop history.

Spot Light: "Ain't Nuthin' but a G Thang"

Before the L.A. riots of 1992, the soundtrack to Los Angeles' hip-hop scene had been dominated by loud and aggressive songs like N.W.A.'s "F***the Police" (1988) and Ice Cube's "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted" (1991). However, with soft keys and a rolling bass line, Dr. Dre's "Ain't Nuthin' but a G Thang" crept onto the air-waves with a quiet ferocity, soon dominating the Southland's musical tempo. Rather than an angry invective against the events leading up to the riots, "G Thang" makes the gangsta's world of money, sex, and violence seem smooth and seductive rather than sinister and dangerous. Though Dr. Dre and his lyrical partner Snoop (Doggy) Dogg may be rapping about murder and mayhem, the song itself is less a call to action and more an affirmation of lifestyle, a soul-soaked road song made for cars cruising along L.A.'s asphalt sea. The most important sonic feature on "G Thang" is Dre's reintroduction of the searing, snaking synthesizers he first used on songs from N.W.A.'s Efil4zaggin (1991). A distinctive, signature style that Dre later used on The Chronic, "G Thang's" synths soon dominated the so-called "G Funk" sound of L.A. gangsta rap and was incorporated by producers around the country.


SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

The Chronic (Death Row, 1992).

oliver wang

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