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Andre Young, or Dr. Dre as he is widely known today, was born February 18, 1965, in South Central, LA. Considered to be the pioneer of gangster rap and the man responsible for changing the face of hip-hop, Dr. Dre got his start as a DJ at Eve After Dark, a Los Angeles nightclub.
After working at house parties with the World Class Wreckin' Cru and garnering some recording experience along the way, Dr. Dre met Ice Cube, and together they wrote songs for Eazy-E's record company, Ruthless Records. After HBO, a group signed to Ruthless, refused to take a song written by Ice and Dre, Eazy-E and the dynamic duo formed their own group, NWA (which stands for Niggaz With Attitude), and signed with Priority.
NWA first came on the scene in 1987, and released Straight Outta Compton a year later. The trio became renowned for their hardcore lyrics and their run-ins with the law. When Ice Cube left in 1989, Eazy-E and Dre remained, with Eazy-E as the outstanding rapper and lyricist and Dre as the outstanding producer and music creator, as seen on the 1991 album Efil4zaggin (Niggaz For Life).
Despite NWA's phenomenal success, Dr. Dre left the duo in 1992, and co-founded Death Row Records with Vanilla Ice's ex-publicist, Marion "Suge" Knight. Apparently Dr. Dre felt he was underpaid, especially since 7 out of the 8 albums he produced went platinum. Dr. Dre's first solo release in 1992, The Chronic, was an ode to marijuana (cocaine was out), not to mention a huge success. The multi-platinum album earned a lot of critical acclaim and commercial success, remaining on the Billboard charts for 8 months on the strength of singles like "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang" and "Dre Day."
While Dr. Dre had claimed his name as a premier rapper, Death Row Records was flying high on the success of Snoop Doggy Dogg's four times platinum Doggystyle and the newest gangsta rap star, 2Pac (Dre produced and appeared on Tupac's "California Love").
Although Dr. Dre wasn't releasing any solo albums for a few years, he was busy producing and breaking ground with his G-Funk sound. In addition to working with Warren G on his Regulate album as well as Blackstreet, Dr. Dre reunited with Ice Cube for "Natural Born Killaz." The revolutionary rapper also produced soundtracks for Above the Rim and Murder Was the Case.
In 1996, Dr. Dre declared gangster rap dead, and left Death Row records to form his own record label, Aftermath. Apparently, Dre left because he didn't agree with Suge Knight's techniques, in addition to what he thought would be a new kind of rap on the horizon.
In the meantime, Knight was sentenced to 9 years in prison, and Death Row's success met its end, as Dre has predicted. The good doctor released Aftermath's debut album, Dr. Dre Presents... The Aftermath, a compilation of artists. Although the latter was disappointing, it did feature the successful single, "Been There Done That," which was a huge diss to his former Death Row partner, Knight.
Dr. Dre was already renowned for his producing skills and his work with other artists, most notably Snoop Doggy Dogg, but he is now recognized for bringing his prot?? Detroit troublemaker Marshall Mathers, to the foreground.
Dre co-produced Eminem's debut breakthrough album in 1999, The Slim Shady LP, with Dr. Dre on the single "Guilty Conscience." Eminem returned in 2000 with the phenomenally successful The Marshall Mathers LP, with Dre receiving credit for the album's production.
Despite his work with other artists, Dr. Dre still released solo albums, such as Dr. Dre 2001 (featuring Mary J. Blige, Eminem and Xzibit) and 2001 Instrumental in 1999, and most recently Maximum Dr. Dre.
Dr. Dre may be known for his trademark G-funk sound (which is a transformed version of George Clinton's sound, and also known as gangster funk) and for revolutionizing rap, but he also had his share of brushes with the law.
In 1991, Dr. Dre was charged with assaulting TV host Dee Barnes, and the following year he hit a police officer at a New Orleans hotel and broke the jaw of a fellow record-producer. In 1995, Dre spent 5 months in a Pasadena City Jail for violating parole. He was back in court in 2001, but this time teaming up with Metallica (particularly Lars Ulrich) in their efforts to bring Napster down.
As producer, rapper and revolutionary, one thing's for sure: the doctor's in the house, and it's definitely his day.
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