Dr. Dre Dr. Dre was born in Compton, California, in 1965. His parents divorced before he was born. When he got older, his mother married Warren Griffin Jr., father of West coast rapper Warren G, who introduced Dre to Snoop Dogg.
Dr. Dre started his producing career as a member of the World Class Wreckin' Cru during the first half of the 1980s. In 1986, he and fellow World Class Wreckin' Cru member DJ Yella were two of the founding members of N.W.A, a highly successful and controversial group which created the prototype for much of what was termed "gangsta rap" in the 1990s. On the other hand, Dre's rapping style and image was still very much evolving at the time. Take, for example, his verse on the song "Express Yourself" off the album Straight Outta Compton:
Some drop science; while I'm droppin' English
Even if Yella, makes it a-capella
I still express, yo, I don't smoke weed or cess
Cause it's known to give a brother brain damage
And brain damage on the mic don't manage - NUTHIN
but makin' a sucka and you equal
Don't be another sequel...
Dr. Dre enjoyed significant success in N.W.A. After a dispute with Eazy-E, a founding member of N.W.A. and Ruthless Records, Dre left the group at the peak of its popularity in 1991 to form Death Row Records with Suge Knight.
Dr. Dre released his first solo single, "Deep Cover," (a.k.a. "187") in the spring of 1992. This was the beginning of his collaboration with rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg (who is now simply known as Snoop Dogg, following his departure from Death Row Records), a young man who had recorded some homemade tapes with Dre's stepbrother Warren G. Warren G played Dre some of Snoop's mixtapes and Dre arranged a meeting with the young man, beginning a lifelong association.
Snoop's voice appeared on Dre's 1992 debut album The Chronic as much as Dre's did. Thanks to the single "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang," and hits like "Let Me Ride" and "Fuck Wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin')", The Chronic became a multi-platinum seller, making it virtually impossible to hear mainstream hip-hop that wasn't affected in some way by Dr. Dre. Shortly after its release, The Chronic became one of the best-selling hip hop albums in history. The song "Let Me Ride" won Dre the 1993 Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance. "The Chronic" was followed shortly by a string of multi-platinum albums from Dre's prot├ęg├ęs, including Snoop Dogg's debut album Doggystyle and Warren G's Regulate... G Funk Era.
The following year, Dr. Dre produced Snoop Dogg's debut album Doggystyle, with similar subject matter and musical style. Doggystyle achieved phenomenal success, being the first debut album for an artist to debut at #1 on the Billboard charts.
In 1996, the song "California Love," a highly successful collaboration with Death Row artist Tupac Shakur, helped further establish Death Row and Dr. Dre as a major force in the music industry. By the end of the year, however, the success of Death Row had taken a reverse turn, following the death of Tupac Shakur and racketeering charges against Suge Knight. Foreseeing the label's collapse, Dr. Dre left Death Row to form his own Aftermath Entertainment label. The Dr. Dre Presents...The Aftermath album, released at the end of the year, featured songs by the newly signed Aftermath artists, and a solo track "Been There, Done That". The track was intended as a symbolic good-bye to gangsta-rap, in which Dre suggested that he is moving on to another level of music and lifestyle. While going platinum, the album was considered a commercial disappointment by Dre's standards, and was a critical failure as well.
In 1997, Dre produced several tracks on Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Nature Present The Firm: The Album; while also going platinum, the album met with similarly negative reviews from critics.
The turning point for Aftermath came in 1998, when Dre signed aspiring Detroit rapper Eminem to his label, producing his controversial album The Slim Shady LP in 1999, followed by the even more successful and controversial The Marshall Mathers LP in 2000. Though he was heavily involved in the latter, producing five beats with collaborator Mel-Man, by the time The Eminem Show was released in 2002, Eminem was producing the bulk of his output himself. However, Encore featured substantially increased production involvement from Dre.
He released his second solo album, Dr. Dre 2001 (sometimes referred to by fans as "The Chronic 2001: No Seeds"), or more often simply '2001' in 1999. Once again, the album featured about as much of Dre's voice as the voices of numerous collaborators, including Devin the Dude, Hittman, Snoop Dogg, and Eminem. The album was highly successful, thus reaffirming a recurring theme featured in its lyrics, stating that Dre is still a force to be reckoned with, despite the lack of major releases in the previous few years.
In 2000, Dr. Dre won the Grammy award for Producer Of The Year, for his work on "The Marshall Mathers LP" and "2001". The albums followed a new musical direction, characterised by high-pitched piano and string melodies over a deep and rich bassline. The style was also prominent in his following production work for other artists, including hits such as "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" by Eve and Gwen Stefani (whom he would produce again on the Stefani and Eve track "Rich Girl"), "Break Ya Neck" by Busta Rhymes, and "Family Affair" by Mary J. Blige.
Dr. Dre has also appeared in the movies Set It Off, The Wash and Training Day, though he later stated that he does not intend to pursue a career in acting. A song of his, "Bad Intentions" (featuring Knoc-Turn'Al) and produced by Mahogany, was featured on the soundtrack to The Wash. Dre also appeared on two other songs "On the Blvd." and "The Wash" along with his co-star Snoop Dogg.
In 2002, Dr. Dre and Eminem produced the major-label debut Get Rich or Die Tryin' for Queens rapper 50 Cent, featuring the Dre-produced hit single "In Da Club."
The release of Detox, which was to be Dre's final solo album, was planned for 2004. The project was declared to be cancelled for a while, as Dre decided to put all his effort into producing the artists on his Aftermath label, including Eminem, 50 Cent, Eve, The Game, Stat Quo, and Busta Rhymes; former N.W.A member Ice Cube is currently negotiating a contract with the label. However, in November 2004, Dre and Interscope confirmed that Detox was still in the works and is currently scheduled to be released in late 2006. On Eminem's song "Encore", featuring Dre himself, Eminem mentions that the Eminem crew will "make" him do the album. Dre will also be producing Snoop Dogg's next album, The Blue Carpet Treatment, which will be released in 2006. Dr. Dre's son is also a rapper named Hood Surgeon.