Producer… Rapper… Entrepreneur… Icon… ASCAP Honors Dr. Dre Whose Creative Genius Continues to Shape the Course of Music
As a prolific and acclaimed producer, artist, songwriter, discoverer of talent, entrepreneur and label head, Dr. Dre has set new standards for excellence and achievement for more than a quarter century and he continues to push the limits of what is imaginable. Having achieved the rare combination of both critical and commercial success throughout his career, Dre has changed music, culture and perceptions while always remaining true to himself and his vision.
He began his musical career as a member of World Class Wreckin’ Cru, which was established during the early days of West Coast hip-hop in the mid-80s. In 1986, Dr. Dre changed groups – and changed the world of music forever as a key figure in one of the most-revolutionary groups of all-time: N.W.A. Dre joined Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella to craft dark tales of real life as they knew it, growing up as boyz in the hood in Compton, California. At the heart of N.W.A was Dr. Dre’s innovative production, a dense but funky beatscape that became the foundation of a new genre of music: gangsta rap. His signature sound would evolve into the smooth, low-riding funk grooves that would dominate hiphop and popular music for years to come.
In 1992, Dr. Dre released his landmark solo debut, The Chronic, which featured the classic songs “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang,” “Dre Day,” and the Grammy Award-winning “Let Me Ride.” The next year, Dre began solidifying his reputation as one of the greatest producers of all time by master-minding another landmark album, Snoop Dogg’s debut album Doggystyle, which went on to sell more than four million copies and featured the hit singles “Gin and Juice” and “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” The laid-back beats established Dr. Dre’s signature style as the defining sound of the era. Soon thereafter, Dr. Dre combined his skills as a producer and performer on “California Love,” which earned 2Pac the biggest hit of his career and a posthumous Grammy nomination.
In 1999, Dre released his second solo album, Dr. Dre 2001, which earned him two Grammy Awards: Producer of the Year and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for the single “Forgot About Dre” featuring Eminem. It joins The Chronic as one of the most influential and essential hip-hop albums, and together they have sold more than 15 million copies worldwide.
Dr. Dre’s record label, Aftermath Entertainment, which he formed in 1996, has not only proven to be an artistic outlet for Dr. Dre himself, it has also become a showcase for talent he discovered and developed, including his most famous signing, Eminem. Eminem’s first album, The Slim Shady LP, would sell more than nine million copies worldwide and add yet another historic album to Dre’s production credits. Eminem’s next three albums would sell more than 50 million copies worldwide and establish Aftermath as one of Dr. Dre’s greatest legacies. With artists such as 50 Cent and The Game adding millions of sales to his label’s credits, Dr. Dre is the only artist in history to reach such heights in a group, as a solo artist, as a producer and as a label owner. In addition to the artists on his own label, Dr. Dre has also collaborated and produced hit songs with numerous others including Mary J. Blige (“Family Affair”), Eve (“Let Me Blow Ya Mind”) and Gwen Stefani (“Rich Girl”).
And now, Dre is breaking new ground as an entrepreneur. In 2008, he launched a line of high-performance headphones, Beats by Dr. Dre. In late 2009, Dre teamed up with computer giant HP to innovate a new ecosystem for digital music. His objective is to break new ground in advanced technology and quality sound, just as he has done as an artist, producer and label founder.
True to his reputation as a perfectionist, Dr. Dre also continues to work on his long-awaited final solo album, Detox.
While it would certainly be easy for him to rest on his laurels, satisfied with his legacy as one of the all-time greatest creators in hip-hop, Dr. Dre’s tireless work ethic won’t allow him to stop. There’s always another hit to produce, another artist to discover, another venture to consider. As always, the doctor is in.