Dr. Dre: The Rise of a One Man Music Revolution

“I’ve gone seventy-nine hours without sleep, creating. When that flow is going, it’s almost like a high. You don’t want it to stop. You don’t want to go to sleep for fear of missing something.” Dre on the exhilaration of the creative process.”

Dr. Dre


Andre Romelle Young was born February 18, 1965. He adopted the name Dr. Dre and blazed a trail in the American rap and record production industry, which is why he is envied by many contemporary musicians. Apart from being a musician himself, Dr. Dre is also an accomplished entrepreneur as well as the founder and CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics. Moreover, he was also the co-owner of ‘Death Row Records’ at the time of the company’s inception.

As a music producer, he has successfully produced albums for many well-known rappers and has even been a veritable supervisor of a Dr. Dre ‘nursery’ where they were able to nurture their talents to the maximum. Some of his more well-known prodigies include the following:

  • The late 2Pac,
  • Snoop Dogg,
  • The D.O.C.,
  • Eminem,
  • 50 Cent,
  • Xzibit,
  • Knoc-turn’al, The Game and
  • Kendrick Lamar

He is also widely credited to be the main figure in the crafting as well as the subsequent popularization of ‘West Coast G-funk.’  This is a popular rap style that is typically characterized as a ‘synthesizer based with slow and regular but heavy beats.’

With a net worth of $825 million, Dr. Dre is the 3rd richest individual in the hip hop music industry genre.

o   Dr. Dre’s Early Life

Dr. Dre was born in Compton, California, and was the eldest child of his family. In 1976, the young Andre Young commenced attending The Vanguard Junior High School in Compton city. However, it was an epicenter of gang violence, and fearing for his life, he transferred to the considerably safer Roosevelt Junior High School in a suburban part of the city. Later on, he started living in Carson where he finished his middle school.  He attended Centennial High School in Compton in 1979 during his freshman year, but later on, he transferred to Fremont High School in South Central Los Angeles.

“I’ve gotten my personal life all the way intact and made sure that it’s straight. Without that, you have no foundation. Your building is going to crumble.”

Dr. Dre on the importance of a supportive home life

o   His Music Career

He was heavily inspired by the Grandmaster Flash song “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel”, and after listening to it for the very first time, he decided that music was what he wanted to dedicate his life to.

Shortly after school, he started attending a club known as “Eve After Dark” in order to watch many DJs and rappers who frequented the place for live performances. Eventually, he applied for the position and became a DJ in the club. While he was there, he met many other aspiring rappers like himself and he realized that he had the talent to reach the very top of the genre.  It was then that he adopted the moniker “Dr. Dre” and referred to himself as the “Master of Mixology”.

In 1986, Dr. Dre met the then unknown rapper O’Shea Jackson who went on to achieve global fame as “Ice Cube”. He collaborated with Dr. Dre and recorded a lot of numbers for Ruthless Records, a hip hop record label that was run by a locally known rapper Eazy-E. This was the era of profanity-laced numbers that were a scathing indictment of urban squalor.

In 1992, he parted company with RR and released his very first single that was the title track to the hit Hollywood blockbuster film Deep Cover. The song (also named “Deep Cover”) was a joint collaboration with acclaimed rapper Snoop Dogg. Dr. Dre also did a debut solo album around that time known as “The Chronic”. In those days, Dr. Dre ushered in an entirely new style of rap, not just from the lyrical context but also in terms of musical style.  Some of his more important finds of that era were Jewell and Nate Dogg.

Apart from working on his own songs and material, Dr. Dre also went on to produce Snoop Dogg’s debut album Doggystyle. In just one week, the album was number one on the Billboard 200, which was a ground breaking record for an artist.

“I’ve gone seventy-nine hours without sleep, creating. When that flow is going, it’s almost like a high. You don’t want it to stop. You don’t want to go to sleep for fear of missing something.”

Dr. Dre on the exhilaration of the creative process

Currently, his “Aftermath Entertainment” is one of the largest record power houses in the industry.

o   Dr. Dre as an Entrepreneur

Dr. Dre released his own brand of headphones in July 2008, known as ‘Beats by Dr. Dre’. In autumn 2009, Hewlett Packard picked up the brand and bundled it with a few select HP laptops and headsets.

In 2014, Apple purchased Beats from Dr. Dre for $3 billion, making it one of the most expensive technological acquisitions in recent history.

o   Dr. Dre and Philanthropy

During May 2013, Jimmy Lovine and Dr. Dre donated a massive $70 million endowment to the University of Southern California in order to create the “USC Jimmy Lovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation.” This was just one of the several philanthropic endeavors.

“It’s always been difficult to make a good record. To be perfectly honest with you, it’s really about the person that’s pushing the buttons. No matter what type of equipment you have, you still have to have a certain talent to be able to make a good record.”

Dr. Dre on creating music

by Bobby J Davidson

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