Considered by many to be hip-hop’s greatest producer, Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, pioneered gangsta hip-hop and his own variation of the sound, dubbed G-Funk. From multi-platinum albums to the recent blockbuster hit movie, Straight Outta Compton, and his marriage going on 20 years this year, Dr. Dre is feeling pretty good. In fact, his hometown of Compton, Calif., has declared June 19 “Dre Day” and has an annual celebration to honor its wealthiest alum.
But don’t mistake all of his success as something easy to accomplish. Along the way, Dre has been hit time and time again by heartache and pain, but it was his response to it all that helped him move forward.
On Losing His Loved Ones
When he was just one-year-old Dr Dre’s brother Jerome passed away from pneumonia. He also lost half brother Tyree, who he dedicated the last song on ‘Chronic 2001’ ‘The Message’ to.
“My brother was my best friend,” confesses Dre in a 2015 interview. “Watching that scene in the movie was the hardest thing to do. He was my life.”
In the song, Dre breaks it down even more:
“Crying, pouring out my heart, pouring out liquor behind it
We fought like brothers, something we never should do
We coulda used time spent arguing telling the truth
He had talent too – I had plans on watching him grow
Don’t know what hurts more – seeing him leave, or watching him go”
Dre took another blow when his son, Andre Young, Jr was found unresponsive and later died from an accidental overdose of heroin and morphine. He was only 20 years old.
On Domestic Violence
When the movie came out, many friends, former associates and others came out of the woodwork to address how come their stories weren’t told in the film. Particularly reporter Dee Barnes and Dr. Dre’s ex-fiance’ singer, Michel’le. Both had issued statements that Dr. Dre Beat on them. Barnes in particular took Dr. Dre to court and settled the matter out of court, which left Dre on probation.
After the movie’s opening weekend, Dr. Dre issued an apology in the New York Times to his past mistakes with women.
The apology read: “Twenty-five years ago I was a young man drinking too much and in over my head with no real structure in my life. However, none of this is an excuse for what I did. I’ve been married for 19 years and every day I’m working to be a better man for my family, seeking guidance along the way. I’m doing everything I can so I never resemble that man again. I apologize to the women I’ve hurt. I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives.”
He echoed the sentiment in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, saying, “I made some f**ing horrible mistakes in my life. I was young, f**ing stupid. I would say all the allegations aren’t true – some of them are. Those are some of the things that I would like to take back. It was really f**ed up. But I paid for those mistakes, and there’s no way in hell that I will ever make another mistake like that again.”
On Building An Empire
After N.W.A. disbanded in 1992, he helped launch some of the biggest names in rap, including Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur and his own solo career.
While under the label, he released his debut album “The Chronic,” which sold 5.7 million copies in the U.S. and spent 28 consecutive weeks on the Billboard Top 10 chart in 1993. In July 2015, the album started selling again and claimed the No. 72 spot on the list after more than 20 years off the chart.
In 1996, Dre left Death Row Records and founded Aftermath Entertainment. The record company has launched a number of A-list rappers and renowned albums, including Eminem’s “The Slim Shady LP,” Dr. Dre’s “2001,” 50 Cent’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” The Game’s “The Documentary” and more. Dr. Dre and Eminem are still signed to the label, as well as newer artists Kendrick Lamar and Jon Connor.
After 20 years in the recording industry, Dre co-founded Beats by Dr. Dre — an audio brand that sells premium headphones, earphones and speakers — with…
Straight Outta Excuses: Dr. Dre Talks About Heartache and Inspiration was originally published on blackdoctor.org