When people ask who the greatest rap producer of all time is, you expect to hear the name Dr. Dre. From his humble beginnings with the World Class Wreckin' Cru, to his brash coming out party with N.W.A., to his own phoenix-like rise as a solo artist, and now as a mentor to some of the greatest recent talent in rap, the Compton-born producer has never eased his stranglehold on the game. In 2014, he's changed the game once more.
Recently, it's been hard to escape the news of the deal between Apple and Beats By Dre, which is a whopping $3 billion. In the wake of the deal, Dre is set to become the first hip-hop billionaire in the world. Before Forbes plays the numbers game, we thought we'd do a little digging to find out some of the lesser-known facts about his life. Take a trip down memory lane as we uncover 25 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Dr. Dre.
In 1987, Eazy-E bailed Dr. Dre out of jail for parking tickets.
In exchange, Eazy asked Dre to produce his debut single, 'Boyz-N-The-Hood,' and from then on, the Doc became the in-house producer for Ruthless Records, where N.W.A. would come to fruition.
In March of 1994, Dr. Dre won the Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance with 'Let Me Ride.'
Dre and Snoop were also nominated for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group" for 'Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang,' but lost to 'Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)' by Digable Planets.
Warren G is Dr. Dre's stepbrother.
He's also the one that introduced Dre to a young rapper named Snoop Doggy Dogg, who was in a group called 213 with Warren and Snoop's cousin Nate Dogg. Warren played Dre a demo tape of 213's music at a bachelor party in 1991, and soon after, Dre began inviting his stepbrother to studio sessions for 'The Chronic.'
Dr. Dre was touring with N.W.A. in 1990, when he heard the news of his brother Tyree's death.
Tyree was Dre's half-brother from his mother Verna Young's second marriage to Curtis Crayon. The last song on 'Chronic 2001,' 'The Message,' was ghostwritten by Royce Da 5'9" and dedicated to the memory of Tyree.
When Dre was just a 1-year-old, his other brother Jerome also died of pneumonia.
Dr. Dre was charged for assault in 1991, and sued for $22.75 million.
In 1990, TV personality Dee Barnes interviewed Ice Cube on the Fox TV show 'Pump It Up' at the height of his feud with Dre and N.W.A. It was when Dre saw the interview aired immediately after an N.W.A. video on TV that he got pissed.
Dre would later run into Barnes at a record release party in Hollywood and slam her head into a brick wall. He allegedly kicked her in the ribs, followed her into the bathroom and punched her in the back of the head.
MC Ren and Eazy-E were both quoted as saying, in essence, Barnes deserved it. Dre pleaded no contest to the assault charges, paid a $2500 fine, was placed on 2 years probation, and was ordered to do 240 hours of community service. He later settled with Barnes out of court.
In 1992, Eazy-E sued Dr. Dre for breaking a contract with Ruthless Records.
The lawsuit claimed that Eazy experienced "duress" and "menace" brought upon him by the infamous visitor Suge Knight, who brought bat-wielding buddies to intimidate Jerry Heller and get Dre and other artists out of their Ruthless deal. Jimmy Iovine, the head of Interscope, settled with Eazy by giving him a percentage of Dre's future sales. That lead to Eazy's unforgettable appearance on 'The Arsenio Hall Show.'
Between 1992 and 1993, Eazy-E began exposing Dr. Dre's past in the World Class Wreckin' Cru.
Starting in 1992, Eazy-E upped the ante of his beef with Dre by revealing the infamous pictures of Dre in a glitter suit while on tour. The following year, he released 'It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa,' complete with an embarrassing photo of Dre that pointed out the producer's lipstick and eye shadow.
Dr. Dre and Ice Cube were making an album called 'Heltah Skeltah.'
A song called 'You Can't See Me' was set to be the lead single for the album, but the project never materialized and the beat and hook went to Tha Dogg Pound. For whatever reason, Suge didn't want any Dre beats on 'Dogg Food,' and it finally landed on 2Pac's 'All Eyez On Me' album.
Dr. Dre lied to Tupac and told him he produced 'Got My Mind Made Up.'
XXL once did an excellent 'Making Of' series breaking down the behind-the-scenes motions of classic albums. Years ago, they did one for 'All Eyez On Me,' in which Daz Dillinger tells a story about Dre taking credit for Daz's beat on 'Got My Mind Made Up.' Pac was boasting about how he had a song with Method Man and Redman over a Dre beat when Daz corrected him. According to Tommy D, one of 2Pac's chief engineers, that lie was the start of Dre and Pac's beef.
'California Love' was set to be Dr. Dre's first single for his album on Aftermath.
Suge had other plans. He heard the song, went over to Dre's house, and had 'Pac appear on the second verse, effectively making it his song.
Dr. Dre left Death Row because he didn't like the violent atmosphere.
In 1996, Dr. Dre left Death Row to start Aftermath Entertainment, but he was owed a reported $50 million. He walked away from the money, leading to his famous proclamation that, "You can't put a price on a peaceful state of mind."
Some say Dr. Dre left Death Row because of his lack of creative control.
Rick Clifford, a Death Row engineer, claimed that Dre started getting uncomfortable at the record label when Suge began signing artists without getting the approval of Dr. Dre. Clifford recalls Dre telling him, "Suge's supposed to take care of business, and I'm supposed to take care of the creative. Nobody's supposed to sign to this company unless I hear them first."
Dr. Dre and Tupac did not get along on Death Row.
According to Tommy D, Dre didn't like it when 'Pac signed to Death Row after being released from prison. Don't take his word for it, though -- the proof is in the pudding. Dre was hardly involved with 'All Eyez On Me,' and the above recording of 'Pac dissing Dre further illustrates that Dre distanced himself from 'Pac and the label as a whole during 1996.
Dr. Dre didn't have much muscle on Death Row.
It sounds like a blanket statement, but take this tale, for example.
While working on 'The Chronic,' Dre had some friends over to the studio. When Suge walked in, he found these friends using the private phone line of Michael "Harry O" Harris, the notorious drug kingpin who helped fund Death Row.
Suge promptly beat the crap out of them and licked off a couple shots. Those visitors were George and Stanley Lynwood, brothers who would go on to bring charges of assault and robbery against Suge. Harry O himself recounted this story for a documentary called, 'The Rise & Fall of Death Row Records.'
Suge Knight paid a goon $5,000 to attack Dr. Dre at the 2004 Vibe Awards.
At the 2004 Vibe Awards, Snoop Dogg and Quincy Jones were preparing to give Dr. Dre the Lifetime Achievement award when a man approached Dre asking for an autograph. He proceeded to attack Dre, though the producer wasn't injured.
In 2005, the NY Post reported that Jimmy James Johnson had been paid $5,000 by Suge to attack Dre at the award show.
Dr. Dre dissed Jermaine Dupri on Eminem's 'Say What You Say.'
It's fairly obvious that Dre is dissing JD when he mentions his name on the song, but you might not know why. In the November 2001 issue of XXL, Dupri claimed he was the best producer in the game. That would have been fine, but he specified Timbo and Dre as two producers he was better than. Dre responded swiftly: "Over 80 million records sold, and I ain't have to do it with 10 or 11-year-olds."
Rakim's Aftermath album, 'Oh, My God,' was set to be produced by Dr. Dre.
Unfortunately, creative differences got in the way of the two legends, and Rakim eventually split from the label once it was clear that he and Dre wouldn't be a good match. "We just couldn't find a medium where he was happy and I was happy," said Rakim. DJ Premier was also said to have been contributing to the album.
In 1987, Dre produced a single by C.I.A., Ice Cube's first group.
The song was called 'My Posse,' and as Robbie of Unkut pointed out recently, it was a pretty blatant ripoff of 'It's the New Style' by The Beastie Boys. Dre made the beat on a Roland TR-808.
Dre placed upcoming new artists on the first song of current albums to introduce them to listeners
Last year, Lady of Rage told Vibe why Snoop was the first voice you hear on 'The Chronic' and why hers was the first voice you hear on 'Doggystyle.' "After 'The Chronic' it was gonna be Snoop, so the next artist in line whose album was going to be released would be the first artist on the current album. That was the set-up for me." It was Dre's subtly genius way of introducing new artists on hotly anticipated albums.
Above The Law's Cold 187um sued Dre for stealing Eve's 'Love Is Blind' from him.
Above The Law's keystone founder Cold 187um sued Dre for allegedly stealing Eve's 1999 single 'Love Is Blind' for Ruff Ryders. In the video above, he shows us the original tape and plays the first version. Few people care about the song today, but the bigger question is this: who gets credit for starting G-Funk?
Dr. Dre and the Neptunes are the only hip-hop producers to ever win Producer of the Year at the Grammys.
Fresh off the heels of 'The Marshall Mathers LP,' which sold 1.76 million in the first week, Dre won this Grammy award in 2001.
In 1993, Ice Cube, MC Ren and Dr. Dre were working on an album as N.W.E. (Niggaz Without Eazy).
Snoop Dogg and Kam were even said to be featured.
The inspiration for 'F--- Tha Police' came from Eazy-E driving around with a paintball gun.
Back in March of 2007, Dre told the story of how N.W.A.'s 'F--- Tha Police' came to be. Dre and Eazy were driving around with a paintball gun one day as Eazy shot at people waiting at bus stops. When the cops caught them and pulled them over, they made the N.W.A. members lie face down on the ground and pointed guns at them. The incident became the inspiration, or the tipping point, for 'F--- Tha Police.'
Eminem began shouting on songs because of Dr. Dre.
In Eminem's 2008 biography, 'The Way I Am,' he claims that Dr. Dre was the one who urged him to start screaming in the booth.
"Dre also showed me how to do things with my voice that I had no idea I could do," he says. "He had me screaming in the studio! I remember doing the chorus for 'Role Model,' shouting, "Don't you want to grow up to be just like me?" My throat was hurting. Dre would be, "Again. Do it again." And we stacked a few tracks to make the chorus. If you listen to 'Kim,' where I'm screaming, you can hear the influence from 'Role Model.'
In 2008, Dr. Dre's 20-year-old son, Andre Young Jr., died of a drug overdose.
He was found dead at Dre's family home from an accidental overdose of heroin and morphine.