His initial stint with music was as a DJ in the local club, The Eve After Dark. It was during this time that he took up the moniker Dr Dre that has lived with him all through.
In 1984, Dre began his musical career as a member of the musical group, World Class Weckin’ Cru. The group soon dominated the electro-hop scene in the West Coast with their first single, ‘Surgery’ selling more than 50,000 copies within Compton alone.
In 1986, he along with Eazy-E, Ice Cube and DJ Yella formed the local gangsta rap group N.W.A. (Niggaz for Life). N.W.A worked on the themes of urban crime and gang lifestyle. Their lyrics were harsh and overt, and brought to mainstream America the slice of ‘real’ life on streets.
N.W.A’s debutant studio album, ‘Straight Outta Compton’ met with blockbuster success, selling more than 2 million copies. Its single, ‘Fuck Tha Police’ explored the tension between black youth and police officials. In 1991, the group released its second album, ‘Efil4zaggin’ before disbanding.
in 1991, he co-founded Death Row Records with Sue Knight. In 1992, he released his first single, which served as the title track for the film ‘Deep Cover’. The single featured the debut of rapper Snoop Dogg as well
In 1993, Dre made the big leap of his career with his maiden album, ‘The Chronic’. Its singles, ‘Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang’, ‘Let Me Ride’, ‘Fuck with Dre Day’ created a revolution in the music industry, making the album a cultural phenomenon. The album with its G-funk sound dominated the hip hop music for the early 1990s.
Following success as a rapper, he switched to being a producer. He produced Snoop Dogg’s debut album, ‘Doggystyle’, Tupac Shakur’s work, ‘All Eyez on Me’ and several film songs.
In 1996, following contractual dispute, he left Death Row Records for good. Same year, he set up his own label, Aftermath Entertainment in connection with Interscope Records.
In November 1996, his album ‘Dr Dre Presents the Aftermath’ was released. It featured songs by Aftermath artists and a solo by Dre, ‘Been There, Done That’. The single was a rejection of the highly publicized West Coast–East Coast hip-hop feud and served as the farewell to gangsta rap.
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In 1999, Dre produced three songs on Eminem’s debut album, ‘The Slim Shady LP’. The album went on to sell four million copies in US alone and revived the fate of Aftermath Entertainment as well.
Taking the success story forward was Dr Dre’s second solo album, ‘2001’, which marked his grandiose return to gangsta rap. The album became a huge hit.
Following the success of ‘2001’, he started producing songs and albums by other artists, including Eminem, The D.O.C and so on. In 2001, he hired R&B singer, Truth Hurts to Aftermath.
In 2003, he produced the debut smash hit by 50 Cent, ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Along with Eminem’s boutique label Shady and Interscope, he co-produced four tracks from the album, including the hit single, ‘In Da Club’. He followed this up by producing several tracks for rap albums by various singers including Young Buck, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg and Jay Z.
Music apart, Dre has been featured in a number of movies, his debut appearance being for ‘Set It Off’ in 1996. He followed this up with ‘The Wash’ and ‘Training Day’. He also made guest appearances in music videos.
Dre’s multi-dimensional career saw yet another peak in 2008 when he launched his own brand of headphones, ‘Beats by Dr Dre’. The line-up consisted of various categories of in-ear headphones, supra-aural headphones and circumaural headphones. In 2014, the headphone brand was finally taken over by telecom giant Apple Inc for a reported $3 billion.
His philanthropic woks include a joint donation of $70 million along with Jimmy lovine to University of Southern California for the establishment of the Jimmy lovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. The goal of the academy is to nurture upcoming talents.
Dre’s flamboyant career has had many noteworthy milestones, right from his involvement with the influential gangsta rap group, N.W.A to serving as the founder and CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics. As a solo artist, he has released two studio albums, both of which have earned him a Grammy each.
Dre’s role as a producer is invaluable. He has been instrumental in launching the career of numerous hip-hop and rap artists including, Eminem, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, Xzibit, The Game, and Kendrick Lamar. He has popularized the genre of West Coast G-Funk to the world and given the music fraternity a new style of rap.
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Personal Life & Legacy
Dre fathered a son, Curtis Young, when he was merely 17. Ironically, Curtis Young first met his father 20 years later, when Curtis became rapper Hood Surgeon.
His second son, Andre Young Jr was born from his unison with Jenita Porter, though the two never married.
From 1990 to 1996, he dated Michelle with whom he has a son, Marcel.
In 1996, he married Nicole Threatt, ex-wife of NBA player Sedale Threatt. The couple has a son Truice, and a daughter Truly.
Dre’s rap on violence wasn’t limited to music alone. His personal life was filled with numerous troubles caused with law as he was, on multiple occasions, convicted of violence against women