Dr. Dre in 2011.
|Birth name||Andre Romelle Young1|
February 18, 1965 |
Compton, California, U.S.
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Occupations||Record producer, rapper, entrepreneur|
|Instruments||Vocals, synthesizer, keyboards, turntables, drum machine, sampler|
|Labels||Aftermath, Interscope (current)
Kru-Cut, Ruthless, Priority, Death Row (former)
|Associated acts||N.W.A, World Class Wreckin' Cru, 2Pac, 50 Cent, Above the Law, Eminem, Game, Kendrick Lamar, Nate Dogg, Snoop Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound, The D.O.C., Xzibit|
Andre Romelle Young (born February 18, 1965), known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is an American record producer, rapper and entrepreneur. He is the founder and current CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics. Dre was previously the co-owner of, and an artist on, Death Row Records. He has produced albums for and overseen the careers of many rappers, including Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Xzibit, 50 Cent, The Game, and Kendrick Lamar. He is credited as a key figure in the popularization of West Coast G-funk, a style of rap music characterized as synthesizer-based with slow, heavy beats. In 2011, Dr. Dre was ranked as the third richest figure in the American hip hop scene by Forbes with a net worth of $250 million.3
Dre began his career as a member of the World Class Wreckin' Cru and later found fame with the influential gangsta rap group N.W.A with Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella, which popularized the use of explicit lyrics in rap to detail the violence of street life. His 1992 solo debut The Chronic, released under Death Row Records, led him to become one of the best-selling American performing artists of 1993 and to win a Grammy Award for the single "Let Me Ride". That same year he produced Death Row labelmate Snoop Dogg's quadruple platinum debut Doggystyle.
In 1996, he left Death Row to establish his own label, Aftermath Entertainment. He produced a compilation album titled Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath in 1996, and released a solo album titled 2001 in 1999. During the 2000s, he focused on production for other artists, while occasionally contributing vocals to songs. Dr. Dre signed Eminem and 50 Cent to his record label in 1998 and 2003 respectively, while contributing production on their albums. He has won six Grammy Awards, including Producer of the Year. Dr. Dre has also had acting roles in movies such as Set It Off, The Wash and Training Day. Rolling Stone ranked Dre at 56 on their list of "100 Greatest Artists of All-Time".
- 1 Early life
- 2 Music career
- 2.1 1984–85: World Class Wreckin' Cru
- 2.2 1986–91: N.W.A and Ruthless Records
- 2.3 1992–96: The Chronic and Death Row Records
- 2.4 1996–98: Move to Aftermath Entertainment
- 2.5 1999–2000: 2001
- 2.6 2001–08: Focus on production
- 2.7 2000–present: Detox
- 3 Other ventures
- 4 Musical influences and style
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Discography
- 7 Awards and nominations
- 8 Filmography
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 External links
André Romelle Young was born in Compton, California on February 18, 1965. He was the first child of Theodore and Verna Young. André's middle name, Romelle, is derived from his father's amateur R&B singing group, The Romells. Married in 1964, André's parents separated in 1968 and divorced in 1972.4 Verna later married Curtis Crayon. They had three children together, two sons named Jerome and Tyree (both deceased)56 and daughter Shameka.7
In 1976, Young began attending Vanguard Junior High School in Compton, but due to gang violence, he transferred to the safer suburban Roosevelt Junior High School.8 Verna later married Warren Griffin, whom she met at her new job in Long Beach,9 which added three stepsisters and one stepbrother to the family. His stepbrother Warren Griffin III, would eventually become rapper Warren G.10 Young attended Centennial High School in Compton during his freshman year in 1979, but transferred to Fremont High School due to poor grades. Young attempted to enroll in an apprenticeship program at Northrop Aviation Company, but poor grades at school made him ineligible. Thereafter, he focused on his social life and entertainment for the remainder of his high school years.11 Young fathered a son, Curtis, born December 15, 1981, with Lisa Johnson. Curtis Young was brought up by his mother and first met his father 20 years later, when Curtis became rapper Hood Surgeon.12
1984–85: World Class Wreckin' Cru
Inspired by the Grandmaster Flash song "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel", he often attended a club called The 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.13 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 He later joined the musical group World Class Wreckin' Cru under the independent Kru-Cut Records in 1984. The group would become stars of the electro-hop scene that dominated early 1980s West Coast hip hop, and their first hit "Surgery" would prominently feature Dr. Dre on the turntables and sell 50,000 copies within the Compton area.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.16 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".17
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 He later dropped out of Chester to focus on performing at the Eve's After Dark nightclub.
1986–91: N.W.A and Ruthless Records
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In 1986, Dr. Dre met rapper Ice Cube, who collaborated with Dr. Dre to record songs for Ruthless Records, a rap 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.19
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 rap acts on Ruthless Records, including Above the Law, and The D.O.C. for his 1989 album No One Can Do It Better.20 In 1991, at a music industry party in Hollywood, he assaulted television host Dee Barnes of the Fox television program Pump it Up, because he felt dissatisfied with her news report about the feud between the remaining N.W.A members and Ice Cube. Subsequently, Dr. Dre was fined $2,500 and given two years' probation and 240 hours of community service, as well as a spot on an anti-violence public service announcement on television.2122
1992–96: The Chronic and Death Row Records
from The Chronic
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After a dispute with Eazy-E, Dre left the group at the peak of its popularity in 1991 under the advice of friend, and N.W.A lyricist, The D.O.C. and his bodyguard at the time, Suge Knight. Knight, a notorious strongman and intimidator, was able to have Eazy-E release Young from his contract and, using Dr. Dre as his flagship artist, founded Death Row Records. In 1992 Young released his first single, the title track to the film Deep Cover, a collaboration with rapper Snoop Dogg, whom he met through Warren G.19 Dr. Dre's debut solo album was The Chronic, released under Death Row Records. Young ushered in a new style of rap, both in terms of musical style and lyrical content.23
On the strength of singles such as "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang", "Let Me Ride", and "Fuck wit Dre Day (and Everybody's Celebratin')" (known as "Dre Day" for radio and television play), all of which featured Snoop Dogg as guest vocalist, The Chronic became a cultural phenomenon, its G-funk sound dominating much of hip hop music for the early 1990s.19 In 1993 the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the album triple platinum,24 and Dr. Dre also won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance for his performance on "Let Me Ride".25 For that year, Billboard magazine also ranked Dr. Dre as the eighth best-selling musical artist, The Chronic as the sixth best-selling album, and "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang" as the 11th best-selling single.26
Besides working on his own material, Dr. Dre produced Snoop Dogg's debut album Doggystyle, which became the first debut album for an artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 album charts.27 In 1994 Dr. Dre produced some songs on the soundtracks to the films Above the Rim and Murder Was the Case. He collaborated with fellow N.W.A member Ice Cube for the song "Natural Born Killaz" in 1995.19 For the film Friday, Dre recorded "Keep Their Heads Ringin'", which reached number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the Hot Rap Singles (now Hot Rap Tracks) charts.28
In 1995, Death Row Records signed rapper 2Pac, and began to position him as their major star: he collaborated with Dr. Dre on the commercially successful single "California Love", which became both artists' first song to top the Billboard Hot 100.1929 However, in early 1996 Young left the label amidst a contract dispute and growing concerns that label boss Suge Knight was corrupt, financially dishonest and out of control. Later that year, he formed his own label, Aftermath Entertainment, under the distribution label for Death Row Records, Interscope Records.19 Subsequently, Death Row Records suffered poor sales by 1997, especially following the death of 2Pac and the racketeering charges brought against Knight.30
Dr. Dre also appeared on the single "No Diggity" by R&B group Blackstreet in 1996: it too was a sales success, topping the Hot 100 for four consecutive weeks, and later won the award for Best R&B Vocal by a Duo or Group at the 1997 Grammy Awards.31 After hearing it for the first time, several of Dr. Dre's former Death Row colleagues, including 2Pac, recorded and attempted to release a song titled "Toss It Up", containing numerous insults aimed at Dr. Dre and using a deliberately similar instrumental to "No Diggity", but were forced to replace the production after Blackstreet issued the label with a cease and desist order stopping them from distributing the song.32
1996–98: Move to Aftermath Entertainment
The Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath album, released on November 26, 1996, featured songs by Dr. Dre himself, as well as by newly signed Aftermath Entertainment artists, and a solo track "Been There, Done That", intended as a symbolic farewell to gangsta rap.33 Despite being classified platinum by the RIAA,24 the album was not very popular among music fans.19 In October 1996, Dre performed "Been There, Done That" on Saturday Night Live.34 In 1997, Dr. Dre produced several tracks on The Firm's The Album; it was met with largely negative reviews from critics. Rumors began to abound that Aftermath was facing financial difficulties.35 Aftermath Entertainment also faced a trademark infringement lawsuit by the underground thrash metal band Aftermath.36 First Round Knock Out, a compilation of various tracks produced and performed by Dr. Dre was also released in 1996, with material ranging from World Class Wreckin' Cru to N.W.A to Death Row recordings.37
The turning point for Aftermath came in 1998, when Jimmy Iovine, the head of Aftermath's parent label Interscope, suggested that Dr. Dre sign Eminem, a rapper from Detroit. Dre produced three songs and provided vocals for two on Eminem's successful and controversial debut album The Slim Shady LP, released in 1999.38 The Dr. Dre-produced lead single from that album, "My Name Is", brought Eminem to public attention for the first time, and the success of The Slim Shady LP – it reached number two on the Billboard 200 and received general acclaim from critics – revived the label's commercial ambitions and viability.383940
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Dr. Dre's second solo album, 2001, released on November 16, 1999, was considered an ostentatious return to his gangsta rap roots.41 It was initially titled The Chronic 2000 to imply being a sequel to his debut solo effort The Chronic but was re-titled 2001 after Death Row Records released an unrelated compilation album with the title Chronic 2000: Still Smokin in May 1999. Other tentative titles included The Chronic 2001 and Dr. Dre.42 The album featured numerous collaborators, including Devin the Dude, Hittman, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, Nate Dogg and Eminem. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of the website Allmusic described the sound of the album as "adding ominous strings, soulful vocals, and reggae" to Dr. Dre's style.41 The album was highly successful, charting at number two on the Billboard 200 charts43 and has since been certified six times platinum,24 validating a recurring theme on the album: Dr. Dre was still a force to be reckoned with, despite the lack of major releases in the previous few years. The album included popular hit singles "Still D.R.E." and "Forgot About Dre", both of which Dr. Dre performed on NBC's Saturday Night Live on October 23, 1999.44 Dr. Dre won the Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical in 2000,19 and joined the Up in Smoke Tour with fellow rappers Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and Ice Cube that year as well.45
During the course of 2001's popularity, Dr. Dre was involved in several lawsuits. Lucasfilm Ltd., the film company behind the Star Wars film franchise, sued him over the use of the THX-trademarked "Deep Note".46 The Fatback Band also sued Dr. Dre over alleged infringement regarding its song "Backstrokin'" in his song "Let's Get High" from the 2001 album; Dr. Dre was ordered to pay $1.5 million to the band in 2003.47 The online music file-sharing company Napster also settled a lawsuit with him and heavy metal rock band Metallica in the summer of 2001, agreeing to block access to certain files that artists do not want to have shared on the network.48
2001–08: Focus on production
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.49 He produced the single "Family Affair" by R&B singer Mary J. Blige for her album No More Drama in 2001.50 He also produced "Let Me Blow Ya Mind", a duet by rapper Eve and No Doubt lead singer Gwen Stefani51 and signed R&B singer Truth Hurts to Aftermath in 2001.52 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.53
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.54 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.55 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.56 Knight immediately went on CBS's The Late Late Show to deny involvement and insisted that he supported Dr. Dre and wanted Johnson charged.57 In September 2005, Johnson was sentenced to a year in prison and ordered to stay away from Dr. Dre until 2008.58
Dr. Dre also produced "How We Do", a 2005 hit single from rapper The Game from his album The Documentary.59 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 "Xplosive" as where he "got (his) whole sound from".60
In November 2006, Dr. Dre began working with Raekwon on his album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II.61 He also produced tracks for the rap albums Buck the World by Young Buck,62 Curtis by 50 Cent,63 Tha Blue Carpet Treatment by Snoop Dogg,64 and Kingdom Come by Jay-Z.65 Dre also appeared on Timbaland's track "Bounce", from his 2007 solo album, Timbaland Presents Shock Value alongside, Missy Elliott, and Justin Timberlake.66 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 arrives.6768
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,20 an N.W.A reunion album,20 and a joint album with fellow producer Timbaland titled Chairmen of the Board.69 Other upcoming albums for which he will produce include The Reformation by Bishop Lamont70 and an upcoming album by Queen Latifah.71
Detox is slated to be Dr. Dre's final studio album.72 Work for the upcoming album dates back to 2001,73 where its first version was called "the most advanced rap album ever," by producer Scott Storch.74 Later in that 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.75 Producers confirmed to work on the album include DJ Khalil, Nottz, Bernard "Focus" Edwards Jr.,76 Hi-Tek,77 J.R. Rotem,78 RZA,79 Jay-Z,80 Warren G, and Boi-1da.81 Snoop Dogg claimed that Detox was finished, according to a June 2008 report by Rolling Stone magazine.82 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.8384 In a Dr Pepper commercial that debuted on May 28, 2009, he premiered the first official snippet of Detox.8586 50 Cent and Eminem asserted in an interview on BET's 106 & Park that Dr. Dre had around a dozen songs finished for Detox.87
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.8889 The song leaked prior to its intended release in an unmixed, unmastered form without a chorus on June 16, 2010:90 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.91 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:9293 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).2494
The length of time that Detox has taken to record, as well as the limited amount of material that has been officially released or leaked from the recording sessions, has given it considerable notoriety within the music industry.95 Numerous release dates (including the ones mentioned above) have been given for the album over the years since it was first announced, although none of them have transpired to be genuine.9697 Several musicians closely affiliated with Dr. Dre, including Snoop Dogg, fellow rappers 50 Cent and Game and producer DJ Quik, have 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.96979899
2008–present: Production work, The Planets, a break, and Coachella
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.100 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.101 and reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart on the week of February 12, 2009.102 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 didn't produce was the Eminem produced single "Beautiful")
On June 25, 2010, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers honored Dr. Dre with its Founders Award for inspiring other musicians.103104
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.105 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!"106
On November 14, 2011, Dre announced that he will be taking a break from music once he has finished producing for artists Slim the Mobster and Kendrick Lamar. In this break he will work on bringing his Beats By Dre to a standard as high as Apple and will also spend time with his family.108
Dr. Dre made his first on screen appearance as a weapons dealer in the 1996 bank robbery movie Set It Off.110 In 2001, Dr. Dre also appeared in the movies The Wash and Training Day.111 A song of his, "Bad Intentions" (featuring Knoc-Turn'Al) and produced by Mahogany, was featured on The Wash soundtrack.112 Dr. Dre also appeared on two other songs "On the Blvd." and "The Wash" along with his co-star Snoop Dogg. 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."113 Along with fellow member Ice Cube, Dr. Dre will produce a biographical film about N.W.A tentatively titled Straight Outta Compton.114
In July 2008, Dr. Dre released his brand of headphones, Beats by Dr. Dre. The line consists 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.115 He is also planning to release an "Aftermath Cognac and vodka" at around the same time he releases Detox.116 For the 2009 Fall season, HP and Dr. Dre teamed up to release Beats By Dr. Dre with the sale of all HP laptops and headsets.117 HP and Dr. Dre announced the deal on October 9, 2009, at a press event in Santa Monica, California. The new laptop, known as HP ENVY 15 Beats limited edition, will be available for sale October 22 and be priced around $2,299. Besides the laptop, the PC comes with Dr. Dre's signature headphones.118
Musical influences and style
Dr. Dre has said that his primary instrument in the studio is the Akai MPC3000, a drum machine and sampler, and that he often uses as many as four or five to produce a single recording. He cites 1970s funk musicians such as George Clinton, Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield as his primary musical influences. Unlike most rap producers, he tries to avoid samples as much as possible, preferring to have studio musicians re-play pieces of music he wants to use, because it allows him more flexibility to change the pieces in rhythm and tempo.120 In 2001 he told Time magazine, "I may hear something I like on an old record that may inspire me, but I'd rather use musicians to re-create the sound or elaborate on it. I can control it better."121 Other equipment he uses include the E-mu SP-1200 drum machine and other keyboards from such manufacturers as Korg, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Moog, and Roland.122
After founding Aftermath Entertainment in 1996, Dr. Dre took on producer Mel-Man as a co-producer, and his music took on a more synthesizer-based sound, using fewer vocal samples (as he had used on "Lil' Ghetto Boy" and "Let Me Ride" on The Chronic, for example). Mel-Man has not shared co-production credits with Dr. Dre since approximately 2002, but fellow Aftermath producer Focus has credited Mel-Man as a key architect of the signature Aftermath sound.123
In 1999, Dr. Dre started working with Mike Elizondo, a bassist, guitarist, and keyboardist who has also produced, written and played on records for female singers such as Poe, Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette,124 In the past few years Elizondo has since worked for many of Dr. Dre's productions.125126 Dr. Dre also told Scratch magazine in a 2004 interview that he has been studying piano and music theory formally, and that a major goal is to accumulate enough musical theory to score movies. In the same interview he stated that he has collaborated with famed 1960s songwriter Burt Bacharach by sending him hip hop beats to play over, and hopes to have an in-person collaboration with him in the future.120
Dr. Dre has stated that he is a perfectionist and is known to pressure the artists with whom he records to give flawless performances.120 In 2006, Snoop Dogg told the website Dubcnn.com that Dr. Dre had made new artist Bishop Lamont re-record a single bar of vocals 107 times.127 Dr. Dre has also stated that Eminem is a fellow perfectionist, and attributes his success on Aftermath to his similar work ethic.120 He gives a lot of input into the delivery of the vocals and will stop an MC during a take if it isn't to his liking.128 However, he does give MCs he works with room to write lyrics without too much instruction unless it is a specifically conceptual record, as noted by Bishop Lamont in the book How to Rap.129
A consequence of his perfectionism is that some artists that initially sign deals with Dr. Dre's Aftermath label never release albums. In 2001, Aftermath released the soundtrack to the movie The Wash, featuring a number of Aftermath acts such as Shaunta, Daks, Joe Beast and Toi. To date, none have released full-length albums on Aftermath and have apparently ended their relationships with the label and Dr. Dre. Other noteworthy acts to leave Aftermath without releasing albums include King Tee, 2001 vocalist Hittman, Joell Ortiz, Raekwon and Rakim.130
Collaborators and co-producers
Over the years, word of other collaborators who have contributed to Dr. Dre's work has surfaced. During his tenure at Death Row Records, it was alleged that Dr. Dre's stepbrother Warren G and Tha Dogg Pound member Daz made many uncredited contributions to songs on his solo album The Chronic and Snoop Doggy Dogg's album Doggystyle (Daz received production credits on Snoop's similar-sounding, albeit less successful album Tha Doggfather after Young left Death Row Records).131
It is known that Scott Storch, who has since gone on to become a successful producer in his own right, contributed to Dr. Dre's second album 2001; Storch is credited as a songwriter on several songs and played keyboards on several tracks. In 2006 he told Rolling Stone:
"At the time, I saw Dr. Dre desperately needed something," Storch says. "He needed a fuel injection, and Dr. Dre utilized me as the nitrous oxide. He threw me into the mix, and I sort of tapped on a new flavor with my whole piano sound and the strings and orchestration. So I'd be on the keyboards, and Mike [Elizondo] was on the bass guitar, and Dr. Dre was on the drum machine".132
Current collaborator Mike Elizondo, when speaking about his work with Young, describes their recording process as a collaborative effort involving several musicians. In 2004 he claimed to Songwriter Universe magazine that he had written the foundations of the hit Eminem song "The Real Slim Shady", stating, "I initially played a bass line on the song, and Dr. Dre, Tommy Coster Jr. and I built the track from there. Eminem then heard the track, and he wrote the rap to it."126 This account is essentially confirmed by Eminem in his book Angry Blonde, stating that the tune for the song was composed by a studio bassist and keyboardist while Dr. Dre was out of the studio but Young later programmed the song's beat after returning.133
A group of disgruntled former associates of Dr. Dre complained that they had not received their full due for work on the label in the September 2003 issue of The Source. A producer named Neff-U claimed to have produced the songs "Say What You Say" and "My Dad's Gone Crazy" on The Eminem Show, the songs "If I Can't" and "Back Down" on 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin', and the beat featured on Dr. Dre's commercial for Coors beer.130
Although Young studies piano and musical theory, he serves as more of a conductor than a musician himself, as Josh Tyrangiel of TIME magazine has noted:
Every Dre track begins the same way, with Dre behind a drum machine in a room full of trusted musicians. (They carry beepers. When he wants to work, they work.) He'll program a beat, then ask the musicians to play along; when Dre hears something he likes, he isolates the player and tells him how to refine the sound. "My greatest talent," Dre says, "is knowing exactly what I want to hear."121
Although Snoop Dogg retains working relationships with Warren G and Daz, who are alleged to be uncredited contributors on the hit albums The Chronic and Doggystyle, he states that Dr. Dre is capable of making beats without the help of collaborators, and that he is responsible for the success of his numerous albums.134 Dr. Dre's prominent studio collaborators, including Scott Storch, Elizondo, Mark Batson and Dawaun Parker, have shared co-writing, instrumental, and more recently co-production credits on the songs where he is credited as the producer.
It is acknowledged that most of Dr. Dre's raps are written for him by others, though he retains ultimate control over his lyrics and the themes of his songs.135 As Aftermath producer Mahogany told Scratch: "It's like a class room in [the booth]. He'll have three writers in there. They'll bring in something, he'll recite it, then he'll say. 'Change this line, change this word,' like he's grading papers."136 As seen in the credits for tracks Young has appeared on, there are often multiple people who contribute to his songs (although often in hip hop many people are officially credited as a writer for a song, even the producer).
In the book How to Rap, RBX explains that writing The Chronic was a "team effort"135 and details how he ghostwrote "Let Me Ride" for Dre.135 In regard to ghostwriting lyrics he says, "Dre doesn't profess to be no super-duper rap dude – Dre is a super-duper producer".135 As a member of N.W.A, The D.O.C. wrote lyrics for him while he stuck with producing.20 New York City rapper Jay-Z ghostwrote lyrics for the single "Still D.R.E." from Dr. Dre's album 2001.42
Relationships and family
Dr. Dre's eldest son is named Curtis Young. When Curtis Young was born, Greene was 16, and Dr. Dre was 17. Curtis Young is an aspiring rapper who goes by the rap moniker "Hood Surgeon".137 In 1988, Dr. Dre had his second son, Andre Young Jr., with Jenita Porter. Porter sued Dr. Dre in 1990 in Orange County Superior Court seeking $5,000 of child support per month.138 From 1990 to 1996, Dr. Dre dated singer Michel'le, who frequently contributed vocals to Death Row Records albums. In 1991, the couple had a son, Marcel.139 In 1996, Dr. Dre married Nicole Threatt, the ex-wife of NBA player Sedale Threatt.140 They have two children together: a son named Truth (born 1997) and a daughter named Truly (born 2001).141
In 2001, Dr. Dre earned a total of about US$52 million from selling part of his share of Aftermath Entertainment to Interscope Records and his production of such hit songs that year as "Family Affair" by Mary J. Blige. Rolling Stone magazine thus named him the second highest-paid artist of the year.50 Dr. Dre was ranked 44th in 2004 from earnings of $11.4 million, primarily from production royalties from such projects as albums from G-Unit and D12 and the single "Rich Girl" by singer Gwen Stefani and rapper Eve.143 Forbes estimated his net worth at US$270 million in 2012.144 The same publication later reported that he acquired US$110 million via his various endeavors in 2012, making him the highest–paid artist of the year.145
- Straight Outta Compton (with N.W.A) (1988)
- Niggaz4Life (with N.W.A) (1991)
- The Chronic (1992)
- 2001 (1999)
Awards and nominations
|1994||Nuthin' But a G Thang||Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group||Nominated|
|1994||Let Me Ride||Best Rap Solo Performance||Won|
|1996||Keep There Heads Ringin'||Best Rap Solo Performance||Nominated|
|1997||California Love||Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group||Nominated|
|2000||Still D.R.E.||Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group||Nominated|
|2000||Guilty Conscience||Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group||Nominated|
|2001||Dr. Dre 2001||Best Rap Album||Nominated|
|2001||Himself||Producer of the Year||Won|
|2001||The Marshall Mathers LP||Album of the Year(as Producer)||Nominated|
|2001||The Marshall Mathers LP||Best Rap Album(as Producer)||Won|
|2001||Forgot About Dre||Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group||Won|
|2001||The Next Episode||Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group||Nominated|
|2002||Himself||Producer of the Year||Nominated|
|2003||HImself||Producer of the Year||Nominated|
|2003||Knoc||Best Music Video, Short Form||Nominated|
|2006||Encore||Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group||Nominated|
|2010||Crack a Bottle||Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group||Won|
|2010||Relapse||Best Rap Album (Producer)||Won|
|2012||I Need a Doctor||Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group||Nominated|
|2012||I Need a Doctor||Best Rap Song||Nominated|
|1993||"Nuthin' But a G Thang"||Best Rap Video||Nominated|
|1994||"Let Me Ride"||Best Rap Video||Nominated|
|1995||"Keep Their Heads Ringin'"||Best Rap Video||Won|
|1996||"California Love"||Best Rap Video||Nominated|
|1997||"Been There, Done That"||Best Rap Video||Nominated|
|1997||"No Diggity"||Best Rap Video||Nominated|
|1997||"No Diggity"||Best R&B Video||Nominated|
|1999||"My Name Is"||Best Direction||Nominated|
|1999||"Guilty Conscience"||Best Breakthrough Video||Nominated|
|2000||"The Real Slim Shady"||Best Direction||Nominated|
|2000||"Forgot About Dre"||Best Rap Video||Won|
|1992||Niggaz4Life: The Only Home Video||Himself||Documentary|
|1996||Set It Off||Black Sam||Minor Role|
|1999||Whiteboyz||Don Flip Crew #1||Minor Role|
|2000||Up In Smoke Tour||Himself||Concert Film|
|2001||Training Day||Paul||Minor Role|
|The Wash||Sean||Main Role|
|2005||50 Cent: Bulletproof||Grizz||Voice role and likeness|
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