Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, born Feb. 18, 1965, joined the hip-hop movement in the early ‘80s, performing at house parties and clubs with the World Class Wreckin’ Cru. In 1986, he met Ice Cube, and the two rappers began writing songs for Ruthless Records, a label started by Eazy-E.
Eazy-E formed NWA, an acronym for Niggaz With Attitude, with Dre, Cube, and newcomers M.C. Ren and DJ Yella, releasing their first album in 1987.
1992–96: The Chronic and Death Row Records
Dre formed Death Row Records with Suge Knight. Then Dre discovered Snoop Dogg through his stepbrother Warren G. Snoop was on Dre’s 1992 debut album The Chronic. Thanks to the singles Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang, Dre Day, and Let Me Ride, The Chronic went multi-platinum.
1996–98: Move to Aftermath Entertainment
Dre established his own label, Aftermath Entertainment, in connection with Interscope Records. Dre’s first album for Aftermath, the various-artists collection, Dr. Dre Presents…The Aftermath received considerable media attention, but the record didn’t become a hit, despite the presence of his hit single, Been There Done That.
2001–08: Focus on Production
It would be at least three years before anything big came out of the great producer. It wasn’t until he began working on his 2001 album, and discovering an underground MC by the name of Eminem that Dre would make his comeback.
He signed numerous acts to Aftermath, but his two greatest successes came with Eminem and 50 Cent. He produced several of Eminem’s hit albums, including The Slim Shady LP (1999) and The Marshall Mathers LP (2000). With 50 Cent, Dre worked on his debut smash Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2003), among other projects.
Dre became the first hip-hop producer to win a Grammy for Producer of The Year in 2001. He was also nominated for four other awards including: Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for the track Forget About Dre with Eminem.
In 2008, Dre expanded his hip-hop brand when he founded Beats Electronics with record producer Jimmy Iovine. He debuted the company’s audio line with Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones. The online music streaming service Beats Music was also launched in January 2014. The two partners have also funded The Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation.
Dre also discovered upcoming rapper, Kendrick Lamar.
Compiled by Robert Beatty II.