Please join the Albumism team in celebrating Dr. Dre’s musical legacy and share your personal memories of him with us in the comments below!
Born: February 18, 1965
Biography: More than any other rapper, Dr. Dre was responsible for moving away from the avant-noise and political stance of Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions as well as the party vibes of old-school rap. Instead, Dre pioneered gangsta rap and his own variation of the sound, G-funk. While BDP's early albums were hardcore but cautionary tales of the criminal mind, Dre's records with N.W.A. celebrated the hedonistic, amoral side of gang life. Dre was never much of a rapper -- his rhymes were simple and his delivery was slow and clumsy -- but as a producer, he was extraordinary. With N.W.A. he melded the noise collages of the Bomb Squad with funky rhythms.
On his own, he reworked George Clinton's elastic funk into the self-styled G-funk, a slow-rolling variation that relied more on sound than content. When he left N.W.A. in 1992, he founded Death Row Records with Suge Knight and the D.O.C., and the label quickly became the dominant force in mid-'90s hip-hop thanks to his debut, The Chronic. Soon, most rap records imitated its sound, and his productions for Snoop Doggy Dogg and Blackstreet were massive hits. For nearly four years, G-funk dominated hip-hop, and Dre had enough sense to abandon it, and Death Row, just before the whole empire collapsed in late 1996. Dre retaliated by forming a new company, Aftermath, and while it was initially slow getting started, his bold moves forward earned critical respect. He later launched Beats by Dr. Dre, a company that introduced the celebrity headphones phenomenon, later morphed into a streaming music service, and was then bought by Apple Inc.
Dre (born Andre Young, February 18, 1965) became involved in hip-hop during the early '80s, performing at house parties and clubs with the World Class Wreckin' Cru around South Central Los Angeles and making a handful of recordings along the way. In 1986 he met Ice Cube, and the two rappers began writing songs for Ruthless Records, a label started by former drug pusher Eazy-E. Eazy tried to give one of the duo's songs, "Boyz-n-the Hood," to HBO, a group signed to Ruthless. When the group refused, Eazy formed N.W.A. -- an acronym for Niggaz With Attitude -- with Dre, Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella, releasing their first album in 1987. A year later, N.W.A. delivered Straight Outta Compton, a vicious record that became an underground hit with virtually no support from radio, the press, or MTV. N.W.A. became notorious for their hardcore lyrics, especially those of "Fuck tha Police," which resulted in the FBI sending a warning letter to Ruthless and its parent company, Priority, suggesting that N.W.A. should watch their step. [Read more via AllMusic here]
Watch: Official VEVO/YouTube Page