“I’m gonna try and change the course of hip-hop again”
Dr. Dre - Changing the World of Hip-Hop
Dr. Dre found his inspiration from the artist Grandmaster Flash’s song “The Adventures if Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel”. He would often go to a club called "The Eve After Dark" to watch the different DJs and rappers perform live. Eventually, he became a DJ in the same club under the name “Dr. J” from the nickname of his favorite basketball player Julius Erving. He met an aspiring rapper Antoine Carraby, who later became a member, who went by DJ Yella, of N.W.A.
Dre soon after, adopted his stage name “Dr. Dre”, a combination of the alias Dr. J and his first name. He referred to himself as the “Master if Mixology”. In 1984, he joined up with musical group, World Class Wreckin’ Cru and the independent Kru-Cut Records. They would become part of the electro-hop era which then dominated the early 80’s in West Coast hip-hop.
On their first hit, “Surgery” it featured Dre on the turntables and sold 50,000 copies just in the Compton area. He and DJ Yella also performed live mixes for a local radio station, which boosted its ratings for the afternoon rush-hour show, The Traffic Jam.
In 1994, his early recordings were released on a compilation named Concrete Roots. Stephen Thomas from the website Allmusic said that the complied music which was released “several years before Dre developed a distinctive style”, as “surprisingly generic an un-engaging” and “for dedicated fans only”.
Dre met the rapper Ice Cube, in 1986 and collaborated with him to record songs for Ruthless Records, a label ran by local rapper Eazy-E. N.W.A, in addition to fellow rapper Ice , were all credited with being seminal artist of the gangsta rap genre, which is profanity-heavy sub-genre of hip-hop that described the crime of urban and black gangster lifestyle.
Dr. Dre- Coming onto the Scene
Driven by the hit song “Fuck tha Police”, the group’s first album Straight Outta Compton was a major success, though the songs were not played on the airways or during major concert tours. Even the Federal Bureau of Investigation sent Ruthless Records a warning letter concerning the song’s content.
When Ice Cube left N.W.A, Dr. Dre produced and performed the majority of the group’s second album Efil4zaggin. In addition; he produced tracks for other rap acts such as Above the Law and The D.O.C for the album No One Can Do It Better.
When Dr. Dre had a dispute with Eazy-E, he left the group when they were at the peak of their popularity in 1991. His bodyguard Suge Knight, an intimidator, was able to have Young released from his contract and founded Death Row Records. He then released his first single, which was the title track for the film Deep Cover and was a collaboration piece with Snoop Dog. Dre’s debut solo album was entitled The Chronic, which was a new face of rap, in means of musical style and content.
Move to Death Row Records
This became a cultural phenomenon, the G-Funk sound dominating most of the hip-hop music scene in the early 90’s. In 1993, the album was certified multi-platinum and he won the Grammy-Award for Best Rap Solo Performance for “Let Me Ride”. Billboard magazine ranked him as the eighth best-selling artist and The Chronic as the sixth best-selling album. “Nuthin’ bu a ‘G’ Thang” also shined as the best selling single.
Did you know that...
- ...besides working on his own stuff, he produced Snoop Dogg’s debut album Doggystyle? This debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart.
- ...he is known for his production ability and has helped underground rappers like Eminem, 50 Cent, and The Game become popular by producing beats for them?