Dr. Dre is an American rap singer and producer who is sometimes referred to as the most influential rap producer of all time. Dre was born Andre Romelle Young on February 18, 1965 in Compton, California to Theodore and Verna Young, who were both singers. His parents separated when Dre was 3 years old and divorced when he was 8. Dre attended several high schools, including Vanguard Junior High School, Roosevelt Junior High School and Fremont High School, but could never keep up his grades. He was a diver on his school swim team and participated in social events. His mother remarried several times and frequently moved around. In 1984, he was gifted a music mixer for Christmas, which strengthened his musical interests and encouraged him to produce his own sounds at home.
He started frequenting a nightclub called Eve After Dark where he worked as a DJ and worked the turntables. He then joined a group called World Class Wreckin’ Cru in 1984 which gained prominence on local radio shows. In 1986, he met the rapper Ice Cube and joined his band N.W.A. along with fellow band members Arabian Prince, DJ Yella and Eazy-E. The band were the pioneers of gangster rap, which profane lyrics about violence, drugs and life on the streets. They gained prominence with their first album, “Straight Outta Compton” which became a major success. However, the violent nature of their music attracted public attention, including a warning letter sent by the FBI. After Ice Cube left the group, Dre followed in 1991 and with the help of his bodyguard Suge Knight, founded Death Row Records.
He released his first single at Death Row for the soundtrack of the film “Deep Cover” in which he collaborated with rapper Snoop Dogg, whom he met through his stepbrother, the rapper Warren G. He also released his first solo album titled “The Chronic” in 1992 which became triple platinum. He pioneered the sound known as G-funk which was a fusion of funk and gangster rap. Dre’s second solo album was released in 1999, titled “2001” which sold millions of copies and topped the Hip Hop and Pop charts. Dre also produced Snoop Dogg’s debut album Doggystyle, which was the first debut album to enter the Billboard 200 charts at No. 1. In 1995, Death Row Records signed on the rapper 2Pac, with whom Dre collaborated on his single “California Love” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts. He also collaborated with the R&B group Blackstreet in 1996 on their song “No Diggity” which topped the Hot 100 charts for 4 consecutive weeks, and also won the award for Best R&B Vocal by a Duo or Group at the 1997 Grammy Awards.
Dr. Dre left Death Row to form his own label “Aftermath Entertainments” after controversy surrounding Suge Knight’s corruption. In 1996, he released his first album with Aftermath titled “Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath” which went platinum but was not very popular with music fans and critics. His greatest success stories there were the rappers Eminem for whom he produced the hit albums “The Slim Shady LP” in 1999 and “The Marshall Mathers LP” in 2000, and 50 Cent for whom he produced “Get Rich or Die Tryin” in 2003, along with several others. In 2008, he founded the company Beats Electronics with producer Jimmy Iovine. The company sold Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones which were so popular that Apple bought them out in 2014 for $3 billion, which made Dre the richest rap star. Both Dre and Iovine joined Apple in executive roles.
Dre has had several criminal charges to his name including hitting and pushing TV host Denise Barnes down the stairs, attacking producer Damon Thomas, assaulting a police officer and a dangerous police chase while drunk driving. He was sentenced to several months in jail and ordered to pay a fine. He has several children, including a so named Curtis whom he fathered while in high school and didn’t meet for 20 years, a daughter named La Tonya, a son named Marcel with the singer Michel’le and a son named Andre R. Young Jr. who died of a drug overdose. He is currently married to Nicole Threatt and has two children with her. His fans are awaiting the launch of his final studio album titled “Detox” which has been scheduled for release several times, but hasn’t been launched yet.