Description and Summary about Dr. Dre

REGION: Los Angeles
DATE: 5 November 2017
AUTHOR: Phoebe Turner
DESCRIPTION / SUMMARY: Born to a 16 year-old mother in south-central Los Angeles, Andre
Young grew up surrounded by gang violence and drugs. He turned to music however, frequenting hip
hop clubs and performing as a DJ at several parties, ultimately creating the L.A. World Class Wrecking
Cru in 1984 at age 19. Two years later, Dr. Dre met O'Shea "Ice Cube" Jackson and Eric "Eazy-E"
Wright, who formed the N.W.A. hip-hop group. Their “often exaggerated, tales of street violence to
mainstream America, [sold] millions of records and transforming the hip-hop genre forever” (“Dr.
Dre”). In their second album Straight Outa Compton written in 1988, Dre rapped, and produced the
music, creating “crafting ambitiously noisy, multilayered sonic collages to back the group’s
inflammatory lyrics” (Britannica), and launching him into a rich passion for producing. After Ice Cube
left the group, N.W.A. continued to create music but lost critical attention, thus Dr. Dre left to cofound
Death Row Records with Marion “Suge” Knight in 1992. The same year, he made his debut album The
Chronic, whose sound meshed 1970s funk, an overload of synths, and lumbering tempos that, according
to Angus Matey, a music journalist, “became the overarching force in mid-90’s hip-hop” (Carmen).
The album went triple platinum, appeared on many critics’ Top 10 lists, and won an Emmy for rap solo
“Let Me Ride.” With Snoop Dogg featured in nine out of 16 tracks, Dre produced several successful
works for him. He continued as house producer at Death Row Records until 1996 when over Suge
Knight’s corrupt dealings and thus a contract dispute Dr. Dre created Aftermath Records and left his
old work behind. Though he released another hit solo album 2001 in 1999, Dre is credited more for
launching several noteworthy rappers’ careers, such as Snoop Dogg and Eminem. His impeccable
producing led him to “[take] home the Grammy for producer of the year in 2000, largely because of his
work on Eminem’s Grammy-winning album The Marshall Mathers LP” (Britannica). Outside of music,
Dre and successful music executive Jimmy Iovine launched Beats Electronics which sells headphones,
speakers, earbuds and more. The team initiated the music-streaming company Beats Music six years
later. The deals propelled him into becoming “worth somewhere near a billion dollars” (Serrano, 90).
With his money, he poured $70 million into the University of Southern California, funding a new
undergraduate program– the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the
Business of Innovation– and fostering arts, engineering, and business skills in young academics.
Britannica, Editors of Encyclopædia, “Dr. Dre.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica,
Inc. 6 Sept. 2017. Web. Accessed: 12 Oct. 2017.
Carmen, Elena, director. Dr. Dre: Another Beat. The Orchard On Demand, 2017. Youtube,
“Dr. Dre Biography.” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 2017,
Serrano, Shea. “Nuthin But A ‘G’ Thang.” The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From
Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and Deconstructed, Abrams Image, 2015, pp. 89-92.
After contributing to the “poignant and powerful and provocative but also very heavy” (Serrano, 89)
gangsta rap of the 1980’s, Dr. Dre is credited with bringing rap “the liveliness and conviviality of
70’s Afrocentric funk” (89). G-Funk, as the new subgenre was called, kept the instinctual
autobiographical lyrics of hip-hop culture and surrounded it with a new warm and popular sound. The
polarizing movement against racism, classism, riots, and violence dominated the rap sound in the
80’s, and while these issues have not left these communities, Dre celebrated the gangster life. With an
empowering, and positive acceptance of street life, his Grammy-winning single “Nuthin but a ‘G’
Thang” made the genre fun, simple, and universal, if for a brief moment. The song propelled
prominently featured Snoop Dogg into stardom. He later promoted several other artists in
collaborating with them including world-renowned Eminem, Truth Hurts and Tupac Shakur. As
stated by Angus Matey in Dr. Dre: Another Beat, “Dre’s … clearly one of the most important
producers, one of the most important creative forces, the music has ever seen.”
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