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Dr. Dre

André Romell Young (born February 18, 1965 in Los Angeles, California), better known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is an American record producer, rapper, actor and record executive. He is the founder and current CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and a former co-owner and artist of Death Row Records.

He was a founding member of the influential rap group N.W.A., which popularized the use of explicit lyrics in rap detailing the violence of street life (also known as Gangsta rap). He has also produced albums for and overseen the careers of some of the biggest stars in (mostly) rap music, including 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent, G-Unit, The Game, Nate Dogg, Busta Rhymes, and Eve. With tens of millions of records he has produced sold worldwide (including over 65 million with Eminem alone[1]), he is widely regarded as one of the most popular and powerful figures in rap music of all time.

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Musically, as a producer he is credited as a key figure in the creation and popularization of West Coast G-funk, a style of rap music characterized as synthesizer-based with slow, heavy beats. G-funk dominated the U.S. rap charts in the period of 1992-1996, and is still considered one of the major living styles of hip hop today.

His stage name "Dr. Dre" was derived from his nickname and that of his favorite basketball athlete, Julius "Dr. J" Erving.

Biography

Early years

André Young was born in Los Angeles, California in 1965.His parents divorced soon after he was born; his mother later married the father of future West Coast rapper Warren Griffin III, known as Warren G.

Young started his career as a drug dealer, and it was at a gig at the nightclub Eve After Dark that he connected with its owner, Alonzo Williams. Williams would bring together local talent and form the World Class Wreckin' Cru and Kru-Cut Records in 1984. The World Class Wreckin' Cru would become stars of the electro-hop scene that dominated early-80's West Coast hip hop, and their first hit "Surgery" would prominently feature Dr. Dre on the turntables. It was during this time with Kru-Cut that Young would first work with fellow Wreckin' Cru member (and future creative partner) DJ Yella; singer and girlfriend Michel'le, recording "Turn Off The Lights", which would become a local hit in 1987; and rapper Ice Cube, whose group C.I.A. was signed to Kru-Cut.

In addition to his work with the World Class Wreckin' Cru, Young gained a reputation as a capable mixtape DJ. On one release, "'86 in the Mix", he edited 300 hip hop records into one 60 minute mix. He continued to make and sell mix tapes at a local swap-meet in L.A. until as late as 1989, before finally dropping the practice to fully concentrate on his rap career.

Dr. Dre
Background information
Birth name Andre Romelle Young[1]
Born February 18, 1965 (1965-02-18)
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Genre(s) Hip hop
Occupation(s) Rapper, record producer, actor
Instrument(s) Vocals, synthesizer, keyboards, turntables, drum machine, sampler
Years active 1984–present
Label(s) Epic, Ruthless, Priority, Death Row, Aftermath, Interscope
Associated acts N.W.A, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, World Class Wreckin' Cru, 50 Cent, Ice Cube 2pac Bow wow

 

N.W.A. and Ruthless Records

Until this point, hip-hop had been considered a relatively benign form of music and free of profanity. N.W.A. however, along with fellow west coast rapper Ice T, debuted with rhymes including profanity and gritty depictions of crime and life on the street. No longer constricted to racially charged political issues pioneered by rap artists such as Public Enemy or Boogie Down Productions, N.W.A shot out with hardcore and realistic perspective of street violence and local black gangster lifestyle. Propelled by the hit "F*** tha Police", the group's first full album Straight Outta Compton became a major success, selling over 3,000,000 copies despite an almost complete absence of radio-airplay and major concert tours.

As a producer, Young's vocals were limited on the album, but he achieved notoriety in 1991 after assaulting television host Dee Barnes after she aired a segment reporting on the feud between the remaining N.W.A. members and recently departed member Ice Cube. Possibly to compensate for Ice Cube's absence, he began to rap more on 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 his friend The D.O.C.'s album No One Can Do It Better. Young frequently used studio musicians for tracks, and his work with N.W.A. was co-produced by DJ Yella. Later, The D.O.C. would say that his album would be the one record that Dr. Dre produced from start to finish without help from any outside contributors (see references for details).

Death Row Records

Despite pioneering N.W.A.'s sound as the group's principal producer, Dr. Dre complained of unfair contracts that left him with little compensation for the group's tremendous profits (lead rapper and principal lyricist Ice Cube had left following the release of Straight Outta Compton due to similar complaints). After a dispute with Wright, Young 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 somehow able to have Wright release Young from his contract, and using Dr. Dre as his flagship artist, founded Death Row Records after securing a distribution deal with the fledgling Interscope Records, helmed by future head of Universal Music Jimmy Iovine

While N.W.A. had sold two million records of their breakthrough album Straight Outta Compton, they had been a counter-culture phenomenon, and done so on an independent label (Ruthless Records) without radio airplay or major acceptance from the mainstream record industry. Interscope head Iovine saw promise in Young's music, and saw his new sweet, synthesizer-based sound as a way of palletizing the hard beats of gangsta rap and giving it a more mainstream appeal. "One reason I hadn't been that interested in hip-hop is most hip-hop records sounded cheap, tinny", Iovine said later in a 2006 interview with the Los Angeles Times. "But Dre's music sounded better on my speakers than most rock records. I didn't know hip-hop, but I knew my speakers, and this was fantastic". (See references for details.)

Young released his first solo single "Deep Cover", (also known as "187") in the spring of 1992. This was the beginning of his collaboration with Calvin Broadus, Jr., or Snoop Doggy Dogg (now known as Snoop Dogg), a promising young rapper introduced to him by his step-brother, Warren G (see references for details). In 1992, Young released his debut album The Chronic under Death Row Records. Until this point, rap had been primarily party music (e.g., Def Jam Recordings's The Beastie Boys), or angry and politically charged (e.g. Public Enemy, X-Clan, etc.), and the music had consisted almost entirely of samples and breakbeats. Young ushered in a new style of rap, both in terms of musical style and lyrical content.[2]

Artistically, The Chronic continued to describe gang life much in the same way that Young's former group N.W.A. had, but with more of a focus on women and soft drugs (hence the title of The Chronic, which refers to high-grade marijuana). The beats were slower and mellower, borrowing from late 1970s/early 1980s Funk music by George Clinton and his group Parliament. By mixing these early influences with original live instrumentation, he created a distinctive musical style later to be known as G-funk.

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Although the album was initially unheralded, on the strength of singles such as "Nuthin' but a "G" Thang", featuring protege Snoop Doggy Dogg and hits like "Let Me Ride" and "F*** wit Dre Day (and Everybody's Celebratin')" (Shortened to "Dre Day" for radio and television play), The Chronic became a cultural phenomenon and a multi-platinum seller, and is now widely considered to be one of rap's all-time classic albums.

It soon became virtually impossible to hear mainstream hip-hop that wasn't affected in some way by Young. Hip-hop, which had once been a sample and break-beat centered music rising primarily form New York and other East Coast cities, began to see a shift in attention to the West Coast, where the G-funk style created by Dr. Dre was the most influential. Indeed, were it not for the influence of Dr. Dre, it's possible that the infamous "East Coast/West Coast" feud of the mid-1990s might never have even transpired, as the West would have had no competing style of rap or even many visible artists with which to contrast to New York's.

The following year, Young produced Broadus' debut album Doggystyle, with similar subject matter and musical style. Doggystyle achieved phenomenal success, being the first debut album for an artist to debut at #1 on the Billboard charts. It went on to sell over 5 million copies. Young was also instrumental in the creation of other hit west coast records, including the Death Row act Tha Dogg Pound's album Dogg Food, and influenced his own step-brother Warren G's album Regulate...G Funk Era.

In 1995, just as Death Row Records was signing rapper 2Pac and positioning him as their major star, Young left Death Row Records amidst a contract dispute and growing concerns that label boss Suge Knight was corrupt, financially dishonest and out of control. In an interview with The Source shortly after his departure, Dr. Dre alluded to incidents such as Knight's beating of an engineer as pivotal in his decision to leave. He formed his own boutique label Aftermath Entertainment directly underneath Death Row's distributor, the Jimmy Iovine-helmed Interscope Records. Not long after Young's departure, the fortunes of Death Row took a dramatic turn, following the death of 2Pac and racketeering charges against Knight. Within the next few months, the label's final major star Snoop Doggy Dogg would also leave and Knight would go to prison. The label entered a steady decline, and now makes profits almost entirely off of old works recorded during its heyday.

Aftermath Entertainment

The Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath album, released at the end of the year, featured songs by the newly signed Aftermath artists, and a solo track "Been There, Done That". The track was intended as a symbolic good-bye to gangsta rap, in which Young suggested that he was moving on to another level of music and lifestyle. While initially going gold (500,000 units), the album was considered a critical disappointment by Dre's standards, failing to raise much talk of the label. Today, the compilation album is most notable for the fact that none of the artists introduced on the record went on to successful careers. In 1997, Young produced several tracks on Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Nature Present The Firm: The Album; although the album went platinum, it was met with similarly negative reviews from critics. Rumors began to abound that Aftermath was facing financial difficulties.[3]

The turning point for Aftermath came in 1998, when Jimmy Iovine, the head of Aftermath's parent label Interscope, suggested that Young sign the white Detroit rapper Marshall Mathers, artistically known as Eminem, to Aftermath. Interscope saw promise in Mathers, but feared that the fact he was white would harm his credibility in the overwhelmingly black market of hip hop. It was hoped that pairing him with Young would help establish him as a credible star (since then, Iovine has made similar matches with other Interscope artists, pairing Canadian singer Nelly Furtado with hip-hop producer Timbaland, and former ska-pop No Doubt lead singer Gwen Stefani with Pharrell Williams). Young produced three songs and provided vocals for two on his controversial album, ("My Name Is", "Guilty Conscience" and "Role Model") in 1999.[4] On these tracks, Eminem's over-the-top "Slim Shady" persona was contrasted with Dre's older, more sober, post-gangsta attitude to rap. On the song "Guilty Conscience", Dre and Eminem give conflicting advice to people faced with moral dilemmas, with Dre urging the song's characters to do the right thing, and Eminem urging them to give in to their darkest impulses. At the end of the track, Eminem begins to protest that Dre's "do right" advice is coming from the same man who had a physical altercation with TV host Dee Barnes in his younger, wilder years (the incident was later resolved out of court). At first, Dre protests that those were older times, but eventually sighs "f*** it" and sides with Eminem's "evil" reaction. Eminem's debut album initially sold over 3 million copies, making it Aftermath's most successful release at the time.

When Dr. Dre released his second solo album, 2001 (sometimes referred to by fans as '"The Chronic 2001"'- The planned title '"The Chronic 2000"' was scrapped after former label Death Row released a compilation disc under the same name) in the fall of 1999, it was an ostentatious return to his gangsta rap and g-funk roots. To prove the point, the first single "Still D.R.E." re-united Young with Death Row collaborator Snoop Dogg, and made renewed references to good marijuana and expensive cars, declaring "[I] still got love for the streets". Once again, the album featured about as much of Dre's voice as the voices of numerous collaborators, including Devin the Dude, Hittman, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, Nate Dogg and Eminem. The album was highly successful, charting at number two on the Billboard charts[5] and has since been certified six times platinum, thus reaffirming a recurring theme featured in its lyrics, stating that Dr. Dre was still a force to be reckoned with, despite the lack of major releases in the previous few years.

Eminem's Slim Shady LP was followed by the even more successful and controversial second release, The Marshall Mathers LP in 2000. The album featured angrier vocals from Eminem and took his "Slim Shady" persona to dizzying extremes (in a 2000 Spin magazine article, Eminem credited his improved vocals to Young's coaching). The album eventually went on to sell over 9 million copies in the U.S, and established Eminem as one of the biggest music stars in the world.

In 2000, Dre won the Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, for his work on "The Marshall Mathers LP" and 2001. The albums followed a new musical direction, characterized by high-pitched piano and string melodies over a deep and rich bassline. The style was also prominent in his following production work for other artists, including hits such as "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" by Eve and Gwen Stefani (whom he would produce again on the Stefani and Eve track "Rich Girl"), "Break Ya Neck" by Busta Rhymes, and "Family Affair" by Mary J. Blige.

By the time Eminem's third album The Eminem Show was released in 2002, Mathers was producing the bulk of his output himself. However, Eminem's association with Dr. Dre remained a large part of Eminem's identity in rap. The Eminem Show sold over 20 million copies worldwide and was an unqualified success.

In 2003, Dr. Dre and Eminem produced the major-label debut Get Rich or Die Tryin' for Queens rapper 50 Cent, featuring the Dre-produced hit single "In da Club", as a joint production between Aftermath, Eminem's boutique label Shady Records and Interscope. On the eve of its release Dre declared it to be one of the best rap albums made in the past ten years, an opinion the record-buying public enthusiastically agreed with. The album went on to sell over 11 million albums worldwide, establishing yet another major rap star under Aftermath and the Interscope umbrella.

In early 2005, Aftermath released rapper The Game's debut album The Documentary in conjunction with Interscope and rapper 50 Cent's boutique label G-Unit Records. Propelled by the lead single "How We Do" produced by Dr.Dre and Mike Elizondo and featuring 50 Cent, the album sold 586,000 copies in its first week and eventually sold over 2 million copies in the U.S., and over 5 million worldwide, establishing yet another superstar under the Aftermath label.

Shortly after, Aftermath/Shady released 50 Cent's second album The Massacre, which fared even better, selling over 1 million records in a short week (the album was rushed out to combat bootlegging). It eventually went on to sell over 5 million copies in the U.S alone, and went on to become the second highest-selling album of 2005 (it was initially declared the highest selling, however, singer Mariah Carey's 2005 release The Emancipation of Mimi continued to chart throughout early 2006 and eventually outstripped it by a small margin).

However, a falling-out between The Game and 50 Cent apparently created a rift at Aftermath. After being kicked out of 50 Cent's G-Unit group on-air during a February 2005 interview on Hot 97 (see references for details), the two parties engaged in what is arguably the biggest modern day feud. For more information please see G-Unit vs. The Game. To date, Dr. Dre has not spoken publicly about this matter, but for whatever reason The Game's second album, released November 14, 2006, and ironically titled Doctor's Advocate, was released on Geffen Records rather than on Dr. Dre's Aftermath label, and does not feature any production from him (in a XXL interview, The Game states that his public attacks and criticisms against Aftermath labelmate 50 Cent went against Dr. Dre's wishes, and is what led to the falling out). On the title track, The Game emotionally apologizes to Dr. Dre for disobeying his word. In a November 2006 interview with the website Allhiphop.com, The Game stated that he recently spoke with Dr.Dre via telephone, and that Dre congratulated him on his new album and wished him the best. He has also vowed that he will work with his mentor Dr. Dre again, although to date there are no quotes available from Dr. Dre himself that confirm either of these claims. Dr. Dre has also appeared in the movies The Wash and Training Day. He later stated that he does not intend to pursue a career in acting, however he did compose the music for Bad Boys 2. A song of his, "Bad Intentions" (featuring Knoc-Turn'Al) and produced by Mahogany, was featured on The Wash soundtrack. Dre also appeared on two other songs "On the Blvd." and "The Wash" along with his co-star Snoop Dogg.

Recent events

Dr. Dre is considered a perfectionist by many who have worked with him, and while some projects he has worked on have come together relatively quickly (ie. 50 Cent's debut album, which was recorded and released within a year of his signing to Shady/Aftermath), he is often notoriously slow releasing announced albums. Among planned but never released albums are a full length reunion with Snoop Dogg titled Breakup to Makeup, an album with fellow former N.W.A member Ice Cube which was to be titled Heltah Skeltah, an N.W.A reunion album, and a joint album with fellow producer Timbaland to be titled Chairmen of the Board. To date, none of these albums have come to fruition (see interviews with Snoop Dogg, the D.O.C., and Dr. Dre with Scratch magazine listed below in references respectively).

Perhaps the best-known of these delayed releases is that of his planned final solo album, Detox, which was first announced around 2000. In 2004, he declared the project cancelled, as he decided to put all his effort into producing the artists on his Aftermath label, including Eminem, 50 Cent, Eve, Stat Quo and Busta Rhymes, and to spread the completed Detox tracks to their albums. However, in November 2004, Dr. Dre and Interscope confirmed that Detox was still in the works and is currently scheduled to be released in the June of 2008. On Eminem's song "Encore", which features Dr. Dre, he says "Aftermath... 2006...and don't worry about that Detox-album...we gon' make Dre do it." Also, in The Game's 2005 song "Higher", Dr. Dre makes a brief appearance to announce, "Look out for Detox". In a video on Bishop Lamont's myspace page, a video with Dr. Dre and Lamont in the interview confirmed that Detox will be released in September of 2007. In an onstage appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 9th, 2007, Dre addressed eager fans by saying "..Detox is coming..".[6]

According to RapDimension, Dr. Dre has stated that although he isn't far from completing his final album 'Detox', the album has been pushed back to an 08 release. Fans have been waiting for 'Detox' for years.[7]

Currently, Dre is working with Raekwon on his album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II. Other albums he has worked on are Young Buck's Buck the World, Bishop Lamont's The Reformation, 50 Cent's Curtis, Chauncey Black's Church Boy, Papoose's The Nacirema Dream and albums for Eve and G.A.G.E.. It is also said that he has produced some tracks on Lil Wayne's new album Tha Carter III. Also Dr. Dre may work with The Game again on his rumored-to-be last album.

In February 2007, it was announced that Dr. Dre would produce "Dark Comedies" and Horror films for New Line-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 musicvideos, and I eventually want to get into directing".[8]

He has also stated a movie production company called Interscope/Shady/Aftermath Films with Eminem, The company has worked on 50 Cent's debut movie Get Rich or Die Tryin'.

Personal wealth

Young has been a regular on Rolling Stone magazine's "Annual 50 Richest Rock Stars" list since its first installment in 2001. In 2001, he earned $51.9 million U.S., including $35 million from the sale of 30% of his share of Aftermath records to parent label Interscope.

In Rolling Stone's 2004 list, it was reported that Young charges a "Friends and Family" rate of $75,000 for artists affiliated with him. On top of the flat fees, he earns an additional 5% production royalty and label profits for Aftermath artists.

For outside work, his rate is considerably higher. Rolling Stone reported that he earned $2 million for his work on the hit Mary J. Blige song "A Family Affair" in 2001, and that he earns roughly $250,000 per track for co-production on songs such as Gwen Stefani's "Rich Girl". His personal wealth is estimated by the website panachereport.com to exceed $150 million, making him number 6 on their "Top Ten Richest People in Hip Hop 2006" list. [9]

Music

Musical influences and style

Dr. Dre has said that his primary instrument in the studio is the MPC3000, a drum machine and sampler, and that he uses as many as four or five to produce a single recording. He cites George Clinton, Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield as 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 (see references for details, Scratch Magazine 2004). 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."[10]

When he does sample older records -usually for vocals- he tends to blend the samples with live guitars, bass, synthesizers, and on The Chronic track "Lil' Ghetto Boy", jazz flute, creating a soundscape where it often becomes difficult to tell where the sample ends and the original music begins. Dr. Dre's blend of hard rap beats combined with synthesizers and soul samples is known as "g-funk".

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 less 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 - see references for details (Note: In 2003 The Source magazine reported that Mel-Man had left Aftermath, though in 2004, Focus mentioned in an interview with Aftermathmusic that Mel-man had re-joined the label).

In 2000, Dr. Dre began his long collaboration with Los Angeles based bassist, guitarist and keyboardist Mike Elizondo, who has also produced, written and played on records for female singers Poe, Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette. Elizondo's first major collaboration with Dr. Dre was for Eminem's single "The Real Slim Shady", and he went on to co-write Dr. Dre-produced hits such as "A Family Affair" for Mary J.Blige. His first credit as co-producer with Dre was on 50 Cent's "In Da Club". He has since been listed as a co-producer on the bulk of Dr. Dre's releases.

In 2004, Dr. Dre told Scratch magazine 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 60's 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 (see references). While Dr. Dre tracks remain drum machine-based and synthesizers remain an important part of his sound, in recent years his music has become more orchestral, sparse and featured more classical instruments such as piano and strings, examples being the 2006 song "Imagine", recorded for Snoop Dogg; and "Lost Ones," recorded for Jay-Z.

Work ethic

Dr. Dre has stated that he is a perfectionist, and is known to push the artists he records with to give flawless performances. As he told Scratch magazine in 2004, "You got to come in and go to work, man...you're not going to work harder than me. The harder you work, the harder I'm going to work." In 2006, Dubcnn.com mentioned during an interview with Snoop Dogg that Dre had made new artist Chauncey Black re-record a single bar of vocals 107 times. Snoop replied, "[T]hat's just how he gets down. I went and did a song with the nigga, the nigga made me do each word, word for word, until I got it right" (See references for details).

Dr. Dre has stated that his famous collaborator Eminem is a fellow perfectionist, and attributes his success on Aftemath to his like-minded work ethic. As he told Scratch in the same interview, "[H]e came in, and he works his ass off. Everybody that came in the studio and really put their thing down, and really put it together has been successful with me. Everybody else that I've worked with that's slacking ends up having to go to somewhere else to do their thing" (see references).

A consequence of this perfectionism is that some artists that initially sign deals with 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 2001 vocalist Hittman and 1980s rap icon Rakim (see references for details).

Musical allegations

Unlike the majority of hip-hop tracks even to this day, Dr. Dre's tracks have featured a large amount of live instrumentation, and he has often been praised for his musical ability. But since his earliest work in rap, Dr. Dre has produced records with the help of outside musicians, leading to allegations that he does not actually produce a significant portion of the tracks that are credited to his name. To date, only 3 co-producers have shared production credits alongside Young officially- DJ Yella on N.W.A. albums, Mel-Man on Aftermath releases between the label's inception and until approximately 2002, and most recently, Mike Elizondo, a Los Angeles-based bassist.

However, over the years word of other collaborators has surfaced. During his tenure at Death Row Records, it was alleged that Dre's half brother 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).

It's 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 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 Dre was on the drum machine".[11]

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 Dre, Tommy Coster Jr. and I built the track from there. Em [Eminem] then heard the track, and he wrote the rap to it" [12]. This account is essentially confirmed by Eminem in his book "Angry Blonde"- in it, he states that the tune for the song was composed by a studio bassist and keyboardist while Dr.Dre was out of the studio -though he adds that Dre programmed the song's beat after returning (Eminem- "Angry Blonde". 2000, Regan Books, New York NY).

Furthermore, in the September 2003 issue of The Source, a group of disgruntled former associates of Dre complained that they had not received their full due for work on the label. 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 (See references for details -Source Magazine, September 2003).

It should be noted that although Young studies piano and musical theory, he is not necessarily an instrumentalist himself. As he joked to Time magazine in 2001, "I bought a trumpet a couple of years ago, and everybody started hiding from me" [13]. In the same article, Time described a recording process in which Dr. Dre operates is more as a conductor than a musician himself-

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." [14]

However, the fact that Young does not play instruments on his records may not necessarily diminish his contributions as a record producer. Some of the controversy may stem from a dispute over what the term "producer" means in music. In Hip-hop, the role of producer is often simply given to the person who "creates the beat", be it through the use of a drum machine, keyboards, or even simply choosing samples and looping them. By this definition, allegations that Young was not the "real" producer of some tracks credited to him can have merit. However, the role of producer has generally been understood to mean controlling recording sessions, guiding performers, and supervising the recording, mixing and mastering processes. In this respect, Dr. Dre can be given the credit as the primary and most important producer, even in the face of these allegations.

In interviews, artists that have worked with Dr. Dre generally tend to credit him with bringing an overall artistic vision to projects, helping artists to give their best performances. In a 2006 interview with Allhiphop.com, Snoop Dogg talked about re-writing his lyrics to the single "That's That" after receiving advice from Young, and stating that his input is what made the song a hit. As Dr. Dre told Time Magazine in 2001, "One of the things I like most about producing is recording vocals," he says. "I like instructing people, but I'm also trying to bring out a good performance, so I work with them-encourage them."[15]

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 makes it clear where the credit for the success of his albums is due-

Beatmakers make beats. A lot of niggas make beats. [Dre] produces tracks. So that ain't disrespect what I'm saying. I'm just telling you what's real. I seen him make tracks from scratch. My whole record the nigga made damn near everything from scratch. [For the song] "Ain't No Fun", Daz and Warren G brought him the little [sings melody], that's all they had! Dre took that muthaf***a to the next level! Warren G brought in the [sample of] Donny Hathaway [singing], "Little Ghetto Boy, laying in the ghetto streets". Dr. Dre flipped it like "Hold on, gimme that!" Took that muthaf***a and made it straight hit!... They made beats, Dre produced that record. Point blank, and I'd say it in they face...I can make a beat, but I can't produce! I can make a beat, but can I tell a nigga what to rap about, can I tell him when to come with the hook? Can you break the beat down? That's what producing is.

It should be noted that 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 also widely 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. 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." (See references for details.) As seen in the credits for tracks Young has appeared on AIDS, there are often multiple people who contribute to his songs (although it should be noted that often in hip-hop many people are officially credited as a writer for a song, even the producer). As a member of N.W.A., The D.O.C. wrote lyrics for him while he stuck with producing (See D.O.C interview in references for details). When Young went to Death Row, Snoop Dogg took on a lot of the writing work for Dr. Dre, although it should be noted that Dre has never openly admitted or denied this. More recently, famed New York rapper Jay-Z ghostwrote lyrics for the 2001 single "Still D.R.E." (He is listed under the songwriting credits as "S. Carter", or Shawn Carter).

Controversies

Ruthless Records

When Dr. Dre started Death Row, he had left Ruthless Records, which was owned by his former N.W.A. group mate Eazy-E and their manager Jerry Heller who had been accused of stealing money from him and the group. As a result, Dr. Dre left, and on his debut album, The Chronic, he insulted them on the tracks "F*** wit Dre Day" with the assistance of his new protégé Snoop Dogg, "Bitches Ain't S***t", and "Puffin' on Blunts and Drankin' Tanqueray". The next year, Eazy-E responded on his album It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa with the songs "Real Muthaphuckkin G's", "Still a Nigga", and "It's on". The feud grew to embroil most artists on both labels.

Luke Campbell

This feud started when Luke antagonised N.W.A. on one of his videos and as a response Dr. Dre, and his new ally Snoop Dogg, attacked him on the track "Dre Day". Campbell responded with "Cowards in Compton". The video was a parody of Dr. Dre's hit "Nuthin' but a "G" Thang". Snoop Dogg responded on the second verse of his song "Tha Shiznit".

Death Row Records

With all the controversy and madness that surrounded Death Row, Dr. Dre left soon after to start Aftermath Entertainment. However, many artists on the Death Row label felt offended when Dr. Dre left Death Row and released several diss songs. 2Pac felt he had not been fair to them and Snoop Dogg when he had not gone to Snoop Dogg's murder case. This led 2Pac to attack him on "Toss It Up" "Still down for that Death Row sound, searchin for paydays/No longer Dre Day, arrivederci/Blown and forgotten, rotten for plottin Child's Play/Check your sexuality, as fruity as this Alize/Quick to jump ship, punk trick, what a dumb move/Cross Death Row, now who you gon' run to?" (also death sampled dre's beat no diggity on this song), "F*** Friends" "What's up in 9-6? Fine tricks in drag/F*** Dre, tell that bitch he can kiss my ass" "Against All Odds" "You living fantasies, nigga I reject your deposit/We shook Dre punk ass, now we out of the closet" and finally on the unreleased track "Fade Me" "Now I ain't dre baby/But won't you Let me ride " . Also, in "To Live and Die in L.A." 2Pac says "California love part mothaf***in' two, without gay ass Dre." However, despite this Dre rapped the lines "pussy you're not pac/i knew him/pac was a real nigga/you're just a f***ing insult to him" in his song with Obie Trice and Eminem called "S***T Hits The Fan" on Obie Trice's album Cheers, these comments were aimed at Ja Rule. Daz Dillinger believed Dr. Dre had taken credit for productions he had done so Dillinger attacked Dr. Dre on the track "Don't Try To Play Me Homie". J-Flexx, Dr. Dre's former ghostwriter, who believed that Dr. Dre had cheated him out of his money, assailed him on a parody of Dr. Dre's hit "Been There, Done That", called "Who Been There, Who Done That". Later after 2001 Royce Da 5'9, another one of Dre's ghostwriters also dissed him.

In 2007, Dr. Dre struck back at the now defunct Death Row Records one last time. In the company's bankruptcy, Dre felt that the masters of his debut album, The Chronic, should go to him rather than be auctioned off.[16] The case is still pending.

Discography

  • 1992: The Chronic
  • 1999: 2001
  • 2008: Detox

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1996 Set It Off Black Sam -
2000 Up In Smoke Tour - -
2001 Training Day Paul -
The Wash Sean -

References and Notes

Wiki Source

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