Dr. Dre : biography
Andre Romelle Young (born February 18, 1965), known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is an American record producer, rapper and entrepreneur. He is the founder and current CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics. Dre was previously the co-owner and artist of Death Row Records. He has produced albums for and overseen the careers of many rappers, including Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Knoc-turn’al, Xzibit, 50 Cent, The Game and more recently Kendrick Lamar. He is credited as a key figure in the popularization of West Coast G-funk, a style of rap music characterized as synthesizer-based with slow, heavy beats. In 2011, Dr. Dre was ranked as the third richest figure in the American hip hop scene by Forbes with a net worth of $250 million.
Dre began his career as a member of the World Class Wreckin’ Cru and later found fame with the influential gangsta rap group N.W.A with Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella, which popularized the use of explicit lyrics in rap to detail the violence of street life. His 1992 solo debut The Chronic, released under Death Row Records, led him to become one of the best-selling American performing artists of 1993 and to win a Grammy Award for the single "Let Me Ride". That same year he produced Death Row labelmate Snoop Dogg’s quadruple platinum debut Doggystyle.
In 1996, he left Death Row to establish his own label, Aftermath Entertainment. He produced a compilation album titled Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath in 1996, and released a solo album titled 2001 in 1999, for which he won the Grammy producer’s award. During the 2000s, he focused on production for other artists, while occasionally contributing vocals to songs. Dr. Dre signed Eminem and 50 Cent to his record label in 1998 and 2003 respectively, while contributing production on their albums. Dr. Dre has also had acting roles in movies such as Set It Off, The Wash and Training Day. Rolling Stone ranked Dre at 56 on their list of "100 Greatest Artists of All-Time".
Musical influences and style
Dr. Dre has said that his primary instrument in the studio is the Akai MPC3000, a drum machine and sampler, and that he often uses as many as four or five to produce a single recording. He cites 1970s funk musicians such as George Clinton, Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield as his primary musical influences. Unlike most rap producers, he tries to avoid samples as much as possible, preferring to have studio musicians re-play pieces of music he wants to use, because it allows him more flexibility to change the pieces in rhythm and tempo. In 2001 he told Time magazine, "I may hear something I like on an old record that may inspire me, but I’d rather use musicians to re-create the sound or elaborate on it. I can control it better." Other equipment he uses include the E-mu SP-1200 drum machine and other keyboards from such manufacturers as Korg, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Moog, and Roland.
After founding Aftermath Entertainment in 1996, Dr. Dre took on producer Mel-Man as a co-producer, and his music took on a more synthesizer-based sound, using fewer vocal samples (as he had used on "Lil’ Ghetto Boy" and "Let Me Ride" on The Chronic, for example). Mel-Man has not shared co-production credits with Dr. Dre since approximately 2002, but fellow Aftermath producer Focus has credited Mel-Man as a key architect of the signature Aftermath sound.
In 1999, Dr. Dre started working with Mike Elizondo, a bassist, guitarist, and keyboardist who has also produced, written and played on records for female singers such as Poe, Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette, In the past few years Elizondo has since worked for many of Dr. Dre’s productions. Dr. Dre also told Scratch magazine in a 2004 interview that he has been studying piano and music theory formally, and that a major goal is to accumulate enough musical theory to score movies. In the same interview he stated that he has collaborated with famed 1960s songwriter Burt Bacharach by sending him hip hop beats to play over, and hopes to have an in-person collaboration with him in the future.