Andre Romelle Young (born February 18, 1965), better known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is an American rapper, record producer, record executive, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. He is the founder and current CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and a former co-owner and artist of Death Row Records. He has produced albums for and overseen the careers of many rappers, including Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent. As a producer he is credited as a key figure in the popularization of West Coast G-funk, a style of rap music characterized as synthesizer-based with slow, heavy beats.
Dre began his career in music as a member of the World Class Wreckin’ Cru and he later found fame with the influential gangsta rap group N.W.A with Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella which popularized the use of explicit lyrics in rap to detail the violence of street life. His 1992 solo debut, The Chronic, released under Death Row Records, led him to become one of the best-selling American performing artists of 1993 and to win a Grammy Award for the single “Let Me Ride“. In 1996, he left Death Row to establish his own label, Aftermath Entertainment. Under that label, he produced a compilation album titled Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath in 1996, and released a solo album titled 2001 in 1999, for which he won the Grammy producer’s award the next year.
During the 2000s, he focused his career on production for other artists, while occasionally contributing vocals to other artists’ songs. Dr. Dre signed Eminem and 50 Cent to his record label in 1998 and 2003 respectively while contributing production on their albums. Rolling Stone named Dr. Dre among the highest-paid performers of 2001 and 2004. Dr. Dre has also had acting roles in movies such as Set It Off, and the 2001 films The Wash and Training Day.
André Romelle Young was born in Compton, California on February 18, 1965. He was the first child of Theodore and Verna Young, ages 17 and 16, respectively at that time. André’s middle name, Romelle, is derived from his father’s amateur R&B singing group, The Romells. Married in 1964, André’s parents divorced in 1968. Verna later married Curtis Crayon. They had three more children together, two sons named Jerome and Tyree (both deceased) and daughter Shameka.
In 1976, Young began attending Vanguard Junior High School in Compton, but due to gang violence, he transferred to the safer suburban Roosevelt Junior High School. Verna later married Warren Griffin, whom she met at her new job in Long Beach, which added three stepsisters and one stepbrother to the family. That stepbrother, Warren Griffin III, would eventually become rapper Warren G. Young attended Centennial High School in Compton during his freshman year in 1979, but transferred to Fremont High School due to poor grades. Young attempted to enroll in an apprenticeship program at Northrop Aviation Company, but poor grades at school made him ineligible. Thereafter, he focused on his social life and entertainment for the remainder of his high school years. Young fathered a son, Curtis, born December 15, 1981, with Lisa Johnson. Curtis Young was brought up by his mother and first met his father 20 years later, when Curtis became rapper Hood Surgeon.
1984–85: World Class Wreckin’ Cru
Inspired by the Grandmaster Flash song “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel“, he often attended a club called The Eve After Dark to watch many DJs and rappers performing live. He subsequently became a DJ in the club, initially under the name “Dr. J”, based on the nickname of Julius Erving, his favorite basketball player. At the club, he met aspiring rapper Antoine Carraby, later to become member DJ Yella of N.W.A. Soon afterwards he adopted the moniker Dr. Dre, a mix of previous alias Dr. J and his first name, referring to himself as the “Master of Mixology”. He later joined the musical group World Class Wreckin’ Cru under the independent Kru-Cut Records in 1984. The group would become stars of the electro-hop scene that dominated early 1980s West Coast hip hop, and their first hit “Surgery” would prominently feature Dr. Dre on the turntables and sell 50,000 copies within the Compton area. Dr. Dre and DJ Yella also performed mixes for local radio station KDAY, boosting ratings for its afternoon rush-hour show The Traffic Jam. Dr. Dre’s earliest recordings were released in 1994 on a compilation titled Concrete Roots. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of the website Allmusic described the compiled music, released “several years before Dre developed a distinctive style”, as “surprisingly generic and unengaging” and “for dedicated fans only”.
His frequent absences from school jeopardized his position as a diver on his school’s swim team. After high school, he attended Chester Adult School in Compton following his mother’s demands for him to get a job or continue his education. After brief attendance at a radio broadcasting school, he relocated to the residence of his father and residence of his grandparents before returning to his mother’s house. He later dropped out of Chester to focus on performing at the Eve’s After Dark nightclub.
1986–91: N.W.A and Ruthless Records
|Problems listening to this file? See media help.|
In 1986, Dr. Dre met rapper Ice Cube, who collaborated with Dr. Dre to record songs for Ruthless Records, a rap record label run by local rapper Eazy-E. N.W.A and fellow West Coast rapper Ice-T are widely credited as seminal artists of the gangsta rap genre, a profanity-heavy subgenre of hip hop, replete with gritty depictions of urban crime and gang lifestyle. Not feeling constricted to racially charged political issues pioneered by rap artists such as Public Enemy or Boogie Down Productions, N.W.A favored themes and uncompromising lyrics, offering stark descriptions of violent, inner-city streets. Propelled by the hit “Fuck tha Police“, the group’s first full album Straight Outta Compton became a major success, despite an almost complete absence of radio airplay or major concert tours. The Federal Bureau of Investigation sent Ruthless Records a warning letter in response to the song’s content.
After Ice Cube left N.W.A in 1989 over financial disputes, Dr. Dre produced and performed for much of 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 The D.O.C. for his 1989 album No One Can Do It Better. In 1991, at a music industry party in Hollywood, he assaulted television host Dee Barnes of the Fox television program Pump it Up, feeling dissatisfied with a news report of hers regarding the feud between the remaining N.W.A members and Ice Cube. Thus, Dr. Dre was fined $2,500 and given two years’ probation and 240 hours of community service, as well as a spot on an anti-violence public service announcement on television.
1992–95: The Chronic and Death Row Records
from The Chronic
|Problems listening to this file? See media help.|
After a dispute with Eazy-E, Dre 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 able to have Eazy-E release Young from his contract and, using Dr. Dre as his flagship artist, founded Death Row Records. In 1992 Young released his first single, the title track to the film Deep Cover, a collaboration with rapper Snoop Dogg, whom he met through Warren G. Dr. Dre’s debut solo album was The Chronic, released under Death Row Records. Young ushered in a new style of rap, both in terms of musical style and lyrical content.
On the strength of singles such as “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang“, “Let Me Ride“, and “Fuck wit Dre Day (and Everybody’s Celebratin’)” (known as “Dre Day” for radio and television play), all of which featured Snoop Dogg as guest vocalist, The Chronic became a cultural phenomenon, its G-funk sound dominating much of hip hop music for the early 1990s. In 1993 the Recording Industry Association of America certified the album multi-platinum, and Dr. Dre also won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance for his performance on “Let Me Ride“. For that year, Billboard magazine also ranked Dr. Dre as the eighth best-selling musical artist, The Chronic as the sixth best-selling album, and “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” as the 11th best-selling single.
Besides working on his own material, Dr. Dre produced Snoop Dogg’s debut album Doggystyle, which became the first debut album for an artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 album charts. In 1994 Dr. Dre produced some songs on the soundtracks to the films Above the Rim and Murder Was the Case. He collaborated with fellow N.W.A member Ice Cube for the song “Natural Born Killaz” in 1995. For the film Friday, Dre recorded “Keep Their Heads Ringin’“, which reached No.10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No.1 on the Hot Rap Singles (now Hot Rap Tracks) charts.
In 1995, just as Death Row Records was signing rapper 2Pac and positioning him as their major star, Young left the label amidst a contract dispute and growing concerns that label boss Suge Knight was corrupt, financially dishonest and out of control. In 1996, he formed his own label, Aftermath Entertainment, under the distribution label for Death Row Records, Interscope Records. Subsequently, Death Row Records suffered poor sales by 1997, especially following the death of 2Pac and the racketeering charges brought against Knight.
1996–98: Move to Aftermath Entertainment
The Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath album, released on November 26, 1996, featured songs by Dr. Dre himself, as well as by newly signed Aftermath Entertainment artists, and a solo track “Been There, Done That“, intended as a symbolic farewell to gangsta rap. Despite being classified platinum by the RIAA, the album was not very popular among music fans. In October 1996, Dre performed “Been There, Done That” on Saturday Night Live. In 1997, Dr. Dre produced several tracks on The Firm‘s The Album; it was met with largely negative reviews from critics. Rumors began to abound that Aftermath was facing financial difficulties. Aftermath Entertainment also faced a trademark infringement lawsuit by the underground thrash metal band Aftermath. First Round Knock Out, a compilation of various tracks produced and performed by Dr. Dre was also released in 1996, with material ranging from World Class Wreckin’ Cru to N.W.A to Death Row recordings.
Despite the mixed reception to his label’s album, Dr. Dre was featured on two Billboard Hot 100 No.1 singles in 1996, those being 2Pac‘s “California Love” and R&B group Blackstreet‘s “No Diggity“. They were Dr. Dre’s first No.1 singles as a lead or featured artist.
The turning point for Aftermath came in 1998, when Jimmy Iovine, the head of Aftermath’s parent label Interscope, suggested that Dr. Dre sign Eminem, a rapper from Detroit. Dre produced three songs and provided vocals for two on Eminem’s successful and controversial debut album The Slim Shady LP, released in 1999. The Dr. Dre-produced lead single from that album, “My Name Is“, would help propel Eminem into stardom. The album was eventually certified 4x Platinum and helped to revive the Aftermath label. Also during this time, Dre assisted on the mix for Nine Inch Nails‘ track “Even Deeper”, from 1999 album The Fragile.
|Problems listening to this file? See media help.|
Dr. Dre’s second solo album, 2001, released on November 16, 1999, was considered an ostentatious return to his gangsta rap roots. It was initially titled The Chronic 2000 to imply being a sequel to his debut solo effort The Chronic but was re-titled 2001 after Death Row Records released an unrelated compilation album with the title Chronic 2000: Still Smokin in May 1999. Other tentative titles included The Chronic 2001 and Dr. Dre. The album featured numerous collaborators, including Devin the Dude, Hittman, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, Nate Dogg and Eminem. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of the website Allmusic described the sound of the album as “adding ominous strings, soulful vocals, and reggae” to Dr. Dre’s style. The album was highly successful, charting at number two on the Billboard 200 charts and has since been certified six times platinum, validating a recurring theme on the album: Dr. Dre was still a force to be reckoned with, despite the lack of major releases in the previous few years. The album included popular hit singles “Still D.R.E.” and “Forgot About Dre“, both of which Dr. Dre performed on NBC’s Saturday Night Live on October 23, 1999. Dr. Dre won the Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical in 2000, and joined the Up in Smoke Tour with fellow rappers Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and Ice Cube that year as well.
During the course of 2001′s popularity, Dr. Dre was involved in several lawsuits. Lucasfilm Ltd., the film company behind the Star Wars film franchise, sued him over the use of the THX-trademarked “Deep Note“. The Fatback Band also sued Dr. Dre over alleged infringement regarding its song “Backstrokin'” in his song “Let’s Get High” from the 2001 album; Dr. Dre was ordered to pay $1.5 million to the band in 2003. The online music file-sharing company Napster also settled a lawsuit with him and heavy metal rock band Metallica in the summer of 2001, agreeing to block access to certain files that artists do not want to have shared on the network.
2001–08: Focus on production
Following the success of 2001, Dr. Dre focused on producing songs and albums for other artists. He co-produced six tracks on Eminem’s landmark Marshall Mathers LP, including the Grammy-winning lead single, “The Real Slim Shady”. The album itself earned a Grammy and proved to be the fastest-selling rap album of all time, moving 1.76 million units in its first week alone. He produced the single “Family Affair” by R&B singer Mary J. Blige for her album No More Drama in 2001. He also produced “Let Me Blow Ya Mind“, a duet by rapper Eve and No Doubt lead singer Gwen Stefani and signed R&B singer Truth Hurts to Aftermath in 2001. Dr. Dre was the executive producer of Eminem’s 2002 release, The Eminem Show. He produced three songs on the album, one of which was released as a single, and he appeared in the award-winning video for “Without Me”.
Another copyright-related lawsuit hit Dr. Dre in the fall of 2002, when Sa Re Ga Ma, a film and music company based in Calcutta, India, sued Aftermath Entertainment over an uncredited sample of the Lata Mangeshkar song “Thoda Resham Lagta Hai” on the Aftermath-produced song “Addictive” by singer Truth Hurts. In February 2003, a judge ruled that Aftermath would have to halt sales of Truth Hurts’ album Truthfully Speaking if the company would not credit Mangeshkar.
Another successful album on the Aftermath label was Get Rich or Die Tryin’, the 2003 major-label debut album by Queens, New York-based rapper 50 Cent. Dr. Dre produced or co-produced four tracks on the album, including the hit single “In da Club“, a joint production between Aftermath, Eminem’s boutique label Shady Records and Interscope. Eminem’s fourth album since joining Aftermath, Encore, again saw Dre taking on the role of executive producer, and this time he was more actively involved in the music, producing or co-producing a total of eight tracks, including three singles. In November 2004, at the Vibe magazine awards show in Los Angeles, Dr. Dre was attacked by a fan named Jimmy James Johnson, who was supposedly asking for an autograph. In the resulting scuffle, then-G-Unit rapper Young Buck stabbed the man. Johnson claimed that Suge Knight, president of Death Row Records, paid him $5,000 to assault Dre in order to humiliate him before he received his Lifetime Achievement Award. Knight immediately went on CBS‘s The Late Late Show to deny involvement and insisted that he supported Dr. Dre and wanted Johnson charged. In September 2005, Johnson was sentenced to a year in prison and ordered to stay away from Dr. Dre until 2008.
Dr. Dre also produced “How We Do“, a 2005 hit single from rapper The Game from his album The Documentary. For an issue of Rolling Stone magazine in April 2005, Dr. Dre was ranked 54th out of 100 artists for Rolling Stone magazine’s list “The Immortals: The Greatest Artists of All Time”. Kanye West wrote the summary for Dr. Dre, where he stated Dr. Dre’s song “Xplosive” as where he “got (his) whole sound from”.
In November 2006, Dr. Dre began working with Raekwon on his album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II. He also produced tracks for the rap albums Buck the World by Young Buck, Curtis by 50 Cent, Tha Blue Carpet Treatment by Snoop Dogg, and Kingdom Come by Jay-Z. Dre also appeared on Timbaland‘s track “Bounce”, from his 2007 solo album, Timbaland Presents Shock Value along side, Missy Elliott, and Justin Timberlake.
Planned but unreleased albums during Dr. Dre’s tenure at Aftermath have included 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 titled Chairmen of the Board. Other upcoming albums for which he will produce include The Reformation by Bishop Lamont, The Nacirema Dream by Papoose, Flirt by Eve, and an upcoming album by Queen Latifah.
2009–present: Detox and The Planets
Detox is to be Dr. Dre’s final album. In 2002, Dre told Corey Moss of MTV News that he intended Detox to be a concept album. Work for the album dates back to early 2004, but later in that year he decided to stop working on the album to focus on producing for other artists, but then changed his mind; the album had initially been set for a fall 2005 release. After several delays, the album was finally scheduled to be released sometime in 2010 by Interscope Records, which has not set a firm release date for the album as of July 2010. Producers confirmed to work on the album include DJ Khalil, Nottz, Bernard “Focus” Edwards Jr., Hi-Tek, J.R. Rotem, RZA, Jay-Z, Warren G, and Boi-1da. Snoop Dogg claimed that Detox was finished, according to a June 2008 report by Rolling Stone magazine.
After another delay based on producing other artists’ work, Detox was then scheduled for a 2010 release, coming after 50 Cent’s Before I Self Destruct and Eminem’s Relapse, an album for which Dr. Dre handled the bulk of production duties. Dre appeared in the remix of the song “Set It Off” by Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall (also with Pusha T); the remix debuted on DJ Skee‘s radio show in December 2008. At the beginning of 2009, Dre produced, and made a guest vocal performance on, the single “Crack a Bottle” by Eminem and the single sold a record 418,000 downloads in its first week. and reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart on the week of February 12, 2009. Along with this single, in 2009 Dr. Dre produced or co-produced 19 of 20 tracks on Eminem’s album Relapse. These included other hit singles “We Made You“, “Old Time’s Sake“, and “3 a.m.“. (the only track Dre didn’t produce was the Eminem produced single “Beautiful“)
In a Dr Pepper commercial that debuted on May 28, 2009, he premiered the first official snippet of Detox. 50 Cent and Eminem asserted in an interview on BET‘s 106 & Park that Dr. Dre had around a dozen songs finished for Detox. Detox is likely to be released sometime in 2012. The first two singles, “Kush” and “I Need a Doctor“, were released in September 2010 and February 2011 respectively. “Kush” has become a top 40 hit in the United States and “I Need a Doctor” peaked at Number Four on the Billboard Hot 100. The third single, “The Psycho” featuring 50 Cent is set to release sometime this year respectively.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers will honor Dr. Dre with its Founders Award for inspiring other musicians.
In an August 2010 interview, Dr. Dre stated that an instrumental album titled The Planets is in its first stages of production; each song being named after a planet in the Solar System. On September 3, Dr. Dre showed support to longtime protégé Eminem, and appeared on his and Jay-Z‘s Home & Home Tour, performing hit songs such as “Still D.R.E.,” “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang,” and “Crack a Bottle,” alongside Eminem and another protégé, 50 Cent. Sporting an “R.I.P. Proof” shirt, Dre was honored by Eminem telling Detroit’s Comerica Park to do the same. They did so, by chanting “DEEE-TOX,” to which he replied, “I’m coming!”
On November 14, 2011, Dre announced that he will be taking a break from music once he has finished producing for artists Slim the Mobster and Kendrick Lamar. In this break he will work on bringing his Beats By Dre to a standard as high as Apple and will also spend time with his family.
Dr. Dre made his first on screen appearance as a weapons dealer in the 1996 bank robbery movie Set It Off. In 2001, Dr. Dre also appeared in the movies The Wash and Training Day. A song of his, “Bad Intentions” (featuring Knoc-Turn’Al) and produced by Mahogany, was featured on The Wash soundtrack. Dr. Dre also appeared on two other songs “On the Blvd.” and “The Wash” along with his co-star Snoop Dogg. In February 2007 it was announced that Dr. Dre would produce dark comedies and horror films for New Line Cinema-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 music videos, and I eventually want to get into directing.” Along with fellow member Ice Cube, Dr. Dre will produce a biographical film about N.W.A tentatively titled Straight Outta Compton.
In July 2008, Dr. Dre released his brand of headphones, Beats by Dr. Dre. The line consists of Beats Studio, a circumaural headphone, Beats Tour, an in-ear headphone, Beats Solo & Solo HD, a supra-aural headphone, Beats Spin, Heartbeats by Lady Gaga, also an in-ear headphone, and Diddy Beats. The headphones are made by Monster. He is also planning to release an “Aftermath Cognac and vodka” at around the same time he releases Detox. For the 2009 Fall season, HP and Dr. Dre are teaming up to release Beats By Dr. Dre with the sale of all HP laptops and headsets. HP and Dr. Dre announced the deal on October 9, 2009, at a press event in Santa Monica, California. The new laptop, known as HP ENVY 15 Beats limited edition, will be available for sale October 22 and be priced around $2,299. Besides the laptop, the PC comes with Dr. Dre’s signature headphones.
Musical influences and style
Dr. Dre has said that his primary instrument in the studio is the Akai MPC3000, a drum machine and sampler, and that he often uses as many as four or five to produce a single recording. He cites 1970s funk musicians such as George Clinton, Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield as his 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. 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.” Other equipment he uses include the E-mu SP-1200 drum machine and other keyboards from such manufacturers as Korg, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Moog, and Roland.
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 fewer 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.
In 1999, Dr. Dre started working with Mike Elizondo, a bassist, guitarist, and keyboardist who has also produced, written and played on records for female singers such as Poe, Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette, In the past few years Elizondo has since worked for many of Dr. Dre’s productions. Dr. Dre also told Scratch magazine in a 2004 interview 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 1960s 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.
Dr. Dre has stated that he is a perfectionist and is known to pressure the artists with whom he records to give flawless performances. In 2006 Snoop Dogg told the website Dubcnn.com that Dr. Dre had made new artist Bishop Lamont re-record a single bar of vocals 107 times. Dr. Dre has also stated that Eminem is a fellow perfectionist, and attributes his success on Aftermath to his similar work ethic. He gives a lot of input into the delivery of the vocals and will stop an MC during a take if it isn’t to his liking. However, he does give MCs he works with room to write lyrics without too much instruction unless it is a specifically conceptual record, as noted by Bishop Lamont in the book How to Rap.
A consequence of his perfectionism is that some artists that initially sign deals with Dr. 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 King Tee, 2001 vocalist Hittman, Joell Ortiz, Raekwon and Rakim.
Over the years word of other collaborators has surfaced. During his tenure at Death Row Records, it was alleged that Dr. Dre’s stepbrother 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 is 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 Dr. 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 Dr. Dre was on the drum machine”.
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 Dr. Dre, Tommy Coster Jr. and I built the track from there. Eminem then heard the track, and he wrote the rap to it.” This account is essentially confirmed by Eminem in his book Angry Blonde, stating that the tune for the song was composed by a studio bassist and keyboardist while Dr. Dre was out of the studio but Young later programmed the song’s beat after returning.
A group of disgruntled former associates of Dr. Dre complained that they had not received their full due for work on the label in the September 2003 issue of The Source. 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.
Although Young studies piano and musical theory, he serves as more of a conductor than a musician himself, as Josh Tyrangiel of TIME magazine has noted:
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.”
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 that he is responsible for the success of his numerous albums. Dr. 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 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.” As seen in the credits for tracks Young has appeared on, there are often multiple people who contribute to his songs (although often in hip hop many people are officially credited as a writer for a song, even the producer).
In the book How to Rap, RBX explains that writing The Chronic was a “team effort” and details how he ghostwrote “Let Me Ride” for Dre. In regard to ghostwriting lyrics he says, “Dre doesn’t profess to be no super-duper rap dude – Dre is a super-duper producer”. As a member of N.W.A, The D.O.C. wrote lyrics for him while he stuck with producing. New York City rapper Jay-Z ghostwrote lyrics for the single “Still D.R.E.” from Dr. Dre’s album 2001.
Relationships and family
Dr. Dre’s eldest son is named Curtis Young. When Curtis Young was born, Greene was 16, and Dr. Dre was 17. Curtis Young is an aspiring rapper who goes by the rap moniker “Hood Surgeon”. In 1988, Dr. Dre had his second son, Andre Young Jr., with Jenita Porter. Porter sued Dr. Dre in 1990 in Orange County Superior Court seeking $5,000 of child support per month. From 1990 to 1996, Dr. Dre dated singer Michel’le, who frequently contributed vocals to Death Row Records albums. In 1991, the couple had a son, Marcel. In 1996, Dr. Dre married Nicole Threatt, the ex-wife of NBA player Sedale Threatt. They have two children together: a son named Truth (born 1997) and a daughter named Truly (born 2001).
On August 23, 2008, Young’s second son, Andre Young Jr., died at the age of 20 at his mother’s Woodland Hills home. The coroner determined that he died from an overdose of heroin and morphine.
In 2001, Dr. Dre earned a total of about US$52 million from selling part of his share of Aftermath Entertainment to Interscope Records and his production of such hit songs that year as “Family Affair” by Mary J. Blige. Rolling Stone magazine thus named him the second highest-paid artist of the year. Dr. Dre was ranked 44th in 2004 from earnings of $11.4 million, primarily from production royalties from such projects as albums from G-Unit and D12 and the single “Rich Girl” by singer Gwen Stefani and rapper Eve.[124