Dr Dre Biography

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Dr Dre biography

Real Name: Andre Young

Occupation: Rap artist, Rapper, Record producer

Date of Birth: February 18, 1966

Place of Birth: Los Angeles, Calif., USA

Sign: Sun in Aquarius, Moon in Aquarius

Relations: Stepbrother - Warren G (rap artist)
Wife - Nichole Threatt
Kid: Marcel (by singer Michel'le)




(b. Andre Young, 1965) With the first release on his Death Row records this former N.W.A producer-rapper could claim to have changed the face of hip-hop. Dre's unanticipated 3-times platinum album The Chronic (1992) turned a clutch of funk classics into a new form dubbed "G-Funk" (as in gangsta funk). Juddering basslines lulled listeners into a mid-tempo stupor while high-end '70s synths wove a hypnotic top-end around implacable gangsta threats; three straight Chronic hits were accompanied by Dre-directed videos evoking an idyllic gangsta lifestyle (the title is an alias for marijuana).

Dre, once a member of the obscure, effetely clad funk group World Class Wreckin' Cru, had earned respect as a producer during his N.W.A tenure, creating diverse hits for fellow band member Eazy-E, Texas rhymer the D.O.C., female rap trio J.J. Fad, and tiny-voiced R&B singer Michel'le. The Chronic, released on his (and his formidable partner Marion "Suge" Knight's) Death Row Records, confirmed him as an astute businessman: Dre used the album as a proving ground for Death Row artists, including Snoop Doggy Dogg and the Dogg Pound. The soundtrack to 1993's Above the Rim was another notable success for the label that was later to find itself at the center of the 1995 media firestorm over Time Warner's corporate responsibility.

In late 1994 Dre announced that he intended to further extend his franchise by reuniting with former bandmate Ice Cube on an album to be titled Helter Skelter. The video for the "Natural Born Killaz" single expensively spoofed tabloid stories like the O.J. Simpson murder and the Menendez brothers case. In 1995 Dre found himself doing five months in Pasadena City Jail for parole violation (he broke a fellow record-producer's jaw in 1992). His prior offenses included assaulting TV host Dee Barnes in 1991 and hitting a police officer in a New Orleans hotel in 1992. "Suge" Knight plead no contest in February 1995 to assault with a deadly weapon on two rappers back in 1992. Eazy-E had previously accused the former football player of using duress to end Dr. Dre's contract with his Ruthless Records.


Born Andre Young, Dr Dre started mixing P-Funk, Zapp and Martha Reeves for radio station K-DAY and LA clubs in 1981. The famed Eve's After Dark became a sounding board for the grooves Dre recorded in his garage with DJ Yella, while his scatological tastes emerged at the Skateland parties where he urged a young Ice Cube to recite "My Adidas" as "My Penis".

He joined the World Class Wrecking Cru when he was 17, but their "Surgery" single relied too much on simple breakbeats and Dre's rapping. The art of the bump would not be learned in the midst of four different DJs. Dre took outside work, leading to the blink-and-you'll-miss-it outrage of NWA. As well as Straight Outta Compton and Efil4zaggin, Dre produced albums for hip-hop siren and main squeeze Michel'le, the intensely violent/mediocre Above The Law, and The D.O.C.'s essential debut No One Can Do It Better. All went gold or platinum.

NWA dissolved in 1992 amid a hail of writs and bitching. 'Dre is what we call a studio gangster,' bleated Eazy E. Not a lot of people cared. Dre set to work on The Chronic (1992), written mostly by himself and The D.O.C., whose vocal cords were crushed in a car accident. The Chronic sold 8 million, and its star was Snoop Doggy Dogg, a rapper with a singsong voice, choruses you could whistle, and concerns the size of a pistol barrel. The infectious P-Funk shuffle and whining organ of #2 hit "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang" was the only tune to roll up to in the summer of 1993. Eazy E? 'We've got your record company surrounded, put down the candy and let the little boy go,' Dre rapped on "Fuck Wit Dre Day". Compton had a new emperor.

Then followed the bacchanal. In New Orleans, Dre was arrested by mounted police following a scuffle. A fire at a drunken barbecue fried two firefighters and Dre's house. Dre was pursued by hungry lawyers when he threw TV presenter Dee Barnes down a flight of stairs in a mutual misunderstanding. He saw out 1992 with four bullets in his leg and no remorse. Dogg was also in trouble. Showing a disturbing propensity to compare himself to messrs King, Kennedy and X, Dogg was booked for murder in 1993. Released on $1m bail, he and Dre were thrown out of nine different studios as Dre and his musicians jammed grooves from sources as disparate as Three Times Dope and Jim Croce. A hundred different tracks were created in the search for aural perfection.

Dre's mind was too much on music and cash registers to worry about the human element. But Snoop's persecution complex was fatter than the basslines he loped his voice around, and Doggy Style was the sound of a man running with a pack of hounds on his tail. The shadow of the electric chair loomed, and with "Murder Was the Case" Snoop broke rap's first commandment - faced with judgement, he weeps. Dre's video for "Doggy Dogg World" may have used Richard 'Shaft' Roundtree to make it look like fun, but you wouldn't want to live there.

Dre's output is prodigious, supervising soundtracks to Above the Rim (which featured his brother Warren G's sublime "Regulate"), Friday and his directorial debut Murder Was the Case. He reunited with Ice Cube for a sort of Niggaz Without Eazy on the Gothic thunderstorm of "Natural Born Killaz", and monopolized 2Pac's "California Love", a Top 10 hit. Snoop was subsequently acquitted on manslaughter charges, but then Dre, coming out of a spell in the cooler for violating parole, announced he wouldn't be working with him or Death Row again. On to the next episode . . .

The Chronic (1992; Interscope). Named after a potent strain of weed, this is number one with a bullet, be it on the blissed-out "Nuthin but a 'G' Thang", the stoned classicism of "L'il Ghetto Boy", or on "Rat-a-Tat-Tat", one of the bloodiest gun battles committed to record.

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