Entrepreneur, DJ, producer, rapper, musician, actor, and director are just a few of the hats that Dr. Dre has worn over the last 26 years in the music business.
But the first hat he ever wore was that of first born child to Verna and Theodore Young in Compton, CA on February 18th, 1965, and 45 years later the man born Andre Romelle Young would become one of the most successful and influential figures in the music industry.
Dre would get his start in the industry as a teenager. He attended local clubs and was inspired by DJs and rappers he saw performing and would eventually become a DJ himself under the name “Dr. J,” after legendary basketball player Julius Irving. At one particular club, Dre would meet a rapper by the name of Antoine Carraby, who would later be known as DJ Yella of NWA. The two would go on to join the LA based group World Class Wreckin’ Cru in 1984.
In 1986, Dre met an aspiring rapper named O’Shea Jackson aka Ice Cube. The two began collaborating on songs and eventually formed the notorious rap group NWA (N****z Wit Attitudez) with Eazy E, MC Ren, and DJ Yella. The group courted controversy over their profanity fueled descriptions of street life in Compton, CA which hit a head with their 1988 song “F**k The Police.” The song garnered so much attention that the FBI and the Secret Service sent their record label, Ruthless Records, a letter expressing displeasure with the song’s anti-police sentiment.
NWA’s debut album, Straight Outta Compton, became a huge success because of the group’s hardcore image, the controversial song and the album’s explicit content despite it’s lack of radio play or any major concert tours featuring the group.
After a dispute with NWA member Eazy E and the group’s manager Jerry Heller, Dre left the group. Thanks to his bodyguard, Suge Knight’s strongman tactics, Dre was released from his contract with Eazy and Heller, and moved on as a solo artist. Dre’s debut single as a solo artist, “Deep Cover,” introduced a young MC named Snoop Doggy Dogg to the public and was just a sign of things to come.
Knight and Dre formed Death Row Records and released Dre’s debut solo album, The Chronic in late 1992. The album introduced the G-Funk sound to America and became a raging success thanks to singles like “Nuthin’ But A G Thing,” “Let Me Ride,” and “Dre Day.”
Dre’s time with Death Row brought him nothing but success as acts he signed to the label and produced consistently went gold and platinum, such as Snoop Dogg’s debut album, Doggystyle, and soundtracks like 1994’s Above The Rim.
By the time 2Pac signed to Death Row in 1995, Dre was on his way out due to disputes with Knight over his business practices. A year later, Dre formed Aftermath Entertainment and released a compilation of material featuring artists he signed to the label as well as a new Dre song called “Been There Done That,” Dre’s first single since contributing “Keep Their Heads Ringin'” to the soundtrack of the Ice Cube film Friday.
Things at Aftermath Entertainment started off slow, as Dre’s compilation album went nowhere. It would remain that way until several years later when Interscope Records head Jimmy Iovine slipped Dre a tape of a young MC from Detroit, MI who would eventually sign to Aftermath and put Dre back on top. Eminem’s major label debut, The Slim Shady LP was released in February of 1999 and featured a few Dre productions and went on to sell over ten million copies in the United States.
Later on that year, Dre would finally release 2001, the long-awaited follow-up to The Chronic. The album was a runaway success and featured the Jay-Z penned single “Still D.R.E.” as well the classic singles “Forgot About Dre” featuring Eminem and “Tha Next Episode”
Dre would spend the bulk of the 2000’s behind the scenes, working as the CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and putting out records by Eminem and signing new superstars like 50 Cent.
Dre continues to work on his third album, Detox, and has yet to reveal a release date for the album, which has been in the works for ten years. He recently launched a line of headphones, “Beats By Dre”, with audio company Monster which are selling well.
At the age of 45, Dre seems as busy as ever and shows no signs of ever slowing down.
The Urban Daily wishes Dre a very Happy Birthday and we look forward to what else the good doctor has up his sleeve!
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