Born: Andre Romelle Young
Date of Birth: February 18, 1965
Hometown: California, Los Angeles
- Dr. Dre
Dr. Dre's Early Childhood:
Dr. Dre was born Andre Romelle Young to Verna and Theodore Young in Los Angeles, California on February 16th, 1965. He grew up in Compton, raised mostly by his mother. Legend has it that Dre's middle name, "Romelle," came from his father's amateur R&B singing group The Romelles.
World Class Wreckin' Cru:
Early on in his career, Andre Young deejayed under the alias Dr. J after his favorite basketball player, Julius "Dr. J" Irving. His musical chops earned him a spot on the World Class Wreckin' Cru alongside DJ Yella, Shakespeare, Cli-N-Tel, and Mona Lisa. Dre became the in-house producer/DJ of the short-lived electro-pop group. Dr. Dre and DJ Yella would go on to form another group. This time, the world would know their name. Forever.
N.W.A. was the brainchild of Eazy-E who linked up with Ice Cube and Dr. Dre to form the hardcore rap group. They dropped their self-titled first album in 1987. A year later, N.W.A. unleashed the fiery Straight Outta Compton, a vicious street classic that resonated with the frustrations of blacks in LA. It became an underground success with relatively no airplay. N.W.A. became notorious for their hardcore lyrics.
Death Row Records:
After parting ways with Eazy E over financial differences, Dr. Dre teamed up with then bodyguard Suge Knight to establish Death Row Records. Now at a label he could call home, Dre had time to focus on music once more. His debut single, "Deep Cover," from the soundtrack of the similarly-titled movie, arrived in 1992.
King of the West Coast:
Dre's influence on hip-hop is vast and far-reaching. He play an instrumental role -- literally and figuratively -- in the G-Funk movement of the late 80s/early 90s. He also helped propel West Coast hip-hop to new heights with his largely successful debut album, The Chronic. Dre's funky bass lines and heavy synths, coupled with the lyrical showcase from the likes of Snoop and RBX, changed the sound of hip-hop and made The Chronic a household name in the genre.
The Beginning of Aftermath:
Dre's partnership with Suge Knight was short-lived. Infuriated by Knight's strong-arm business approach, Dre found himself on the move again.
In 1996, he started Aftermath Entertainment after striking a distribution deal with Interscope Records. He got off to a shaky start at Aftermath, releasing the mediocre Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath. To put it politely, the album tanked. A year later, Dre hooked up with The Firm (a supergroup consisting of Nas, AZ, Nature, and Foxy Brown) and produced most of the tracks on their self-titled debut.
Dr. Dre Discovers Eminem:
Dre's next big break arrived when he met a Detroit rapper named Eminem. There are many variations of the Dre meets Eminem story, but popular belief has it that Dre discovered Em's demo tape in the garage of Interscope label chief Jimmy Iovine. Eminem was already making rounds in the underground circuit, having placed 2nd in the freestyle category at 1997's Rap Olympics MC Battle in Los Angeles. Iovine approached him for a tape afterward. When he played the tape for Dre, the west coast beatsmith eagerly contacted Eminem.
Shady + Aftermath = Platinum Success:
Like a magician who has just discovered a new trick, Dre made Eminem a prominent fixture on his records. With Dre's production prowess and Eminem's lyrical aptitude, Aftermath would become one of the leading hip-hop labels in the world. The 1-2 punch of Slim Shady and Dr. Dre rolled out platinum album after platinum album, including The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP, and 2001.
50 Cent joined the fold a few years later. He would go on to sell over 12 million copies of his own debut, Get Rich or Die Tryin', buoyed by Dr. Dre's midas touch on the monstrous single"In Da Club."
Tragedy struck the Young family when one of Dr. Dre's sons, Andre Young Jr., was found dead in his bedroom in August 2008.
Detox:Over the course of his career, Dr. Dre has built a reputation for stressing quality over quantity. While an average artists drops an album every 1 or 2 years, it takes Dre anywhere from 7 to 10 years to release an album. Meanwhile, he stays busy by crafting beats for his artists like 50 Cent, Eminem, Busta Rhymes, and countless others.
Detox, Dre's 3rd and final solo album, has remained one of the most anticipated album over the past decade. Detox is chronically rumored to arrive sometime in 2009 with possible guest appearances by Eminem, Bishop Lamont, Jay-Z, Nas, 50 Cent, and The Game.
- 1992 - The Chronic (Death Row/Interscope)
- 1999 - 2001 (Aftermath/Interscope)
- 200? - Detox, (Aftermath/Interscope)