Bio created in collaboration with Marc Spitz:
Dr. Dre is regarded as modern music’s greatest perfectionist. “We go until it happens,” he told the Los Angeles Times of his work ethic in the studio, which has paid off in over a billion dollars in sales of his productions and performances. Much like the critically and commercially acclaimed American masters who preceded him, Phil Spector, Brian Wilson, Sly Stone, and George Clinton, Dre has built a signature sound that is instantly recognizable whether he’s working with Eminem or Burt Bacharach.
Born Andre Young in Compton, Calif., Dr. Dre began his career as a member of the World Class Wreckin’ Crew. In 1986, he co-founded N.W.A. (also featuring Ice Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella, and the late Eazy-E), who brought the rage and intensity of life in South Central Los Angeles to a global consciousness with their 1988 landmark album Straight Outta Compton. In 1992, Dre released his solo debut, the G-Funk masterpiece The Chronic, which Rolling Stone hailed as one of the greatest albums ever made. Two decades later, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg performed its classic hits “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” and the Grammy Award-winning “Let Me Ride” as headliners at Coachella 2012. (The set also featured a hologram of the late Tupac Shakur — a technological innovation driven by Dre that thrilled the crowd and made front-page news.) 1993 saw the release of Snoop’s solo debut, the Dre-produced Doggystyle — another rap milestone and commercial blockbuster that gave the world the hip-hop standard “Gin and Juice.”
In 1996, Dr. Dre set his sights on entrepreneurial endeavors, leaving Death Row Records and launching his own company, Aftermath Entertainment. He released the hit-filled showcase Dr. Dre Presents The Aftermath, and went on to discover and nurture such next-generation rap superstars as 50 Cent, The Game, Kendrick Lamar, and Eminem, whose 1999 debut, The Slim Shady LP, has sold nine million copies worldwide, while his next three releases have topped 50 million units. Dr. Dre also crafted career re-defining hits for established artists like Mary J. Blige (the chart-topping “Family Affair”) and Gwen Stefani and Eve (“Let Me Blow Ya Mind”). Dre returned to rapping himself in 1999 with his second solo album, the 6x-platinum 2001, which sold more than half a million copies in its first week and has been credited with introducing classic West Coast hip-hop to a new generation of listeners.
In the last decade, Dr. Dre, who still spends a part of every day in his studio, joined forces with Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine and electronics company Monster Cable to create Beats By Dr. Dre — a high-performance headphone and sound transmission company intent on recapturing the fidelity of the studio in an age of ear buds and tiny laptop speakers. Born from a conversation about a proposed signature sneaker (in which Iovine, according to legend, quipped “f**k sneakers, sell speakers”), Beats By Dr. Dre launched in 2008 with the revolutionary Studio headphones, which have become culturally iconic — the signature red B now an instantly recognizable and respected symbol. (A new generation of unsuspecting music fans finally know what bass sounds like!) Beats By Dr. Dre has captured 20 percent market share of the billion-dollar headphones industry and Sean “Diddy” Combs, LeBron James, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Bono, and David Guetta have all created special editions.
In 2009, Beats by Dr. Dre partnered with HP to produce the HP Envy notebook, integrated with BeatsAudio, followed by the Beatbox iPod dock. The future will bring smartphones, via a partnership with HTC, as well as car audio through a partnership with Chrysler. In 2011, Beats Electronics opened a flagship retail store in New York City’s SoHo district where each of its new products is introduced.
Nearly a quarter century after Straight Outta Compton, Dr. Dre is still unpredictable and exciting; tirelessly following his creative vision and continuing to venture into the uncharted reaches of sound and technology. Whatever’s next, one thing is certain, we won’t see it “until it happens.”