Dr. Dre

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Dr. Dre : biography

February 18, 1965 –

1996–98: Move to Aftermath Entertainment

The Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath album, released on November 26, 1996, featured songs by Dr. Dre himself, as well as by newly signed Aftermath Entertainment artists, and a solo track "Been There, Done That", intended as a symbolic farewell to gangsta rap. Despite being classified platinum by the RIAA, the album was not very popular among music fans. In October 1996, Dre performed "Been There, Done That" on Saturday Night Live. In 1997, Dr. Dre produced several tracks on The Firm’s The Album; it was met with largely negative reviews from critics. Rumors began to abound that Aftermath was facing financial difficulties. Aftermath Entertainment also faced a trademark infringement lawsuit by the underground thrash metal band Aftermath.Tsiolis v. Interscope. Records. Inc., 946 F.Supp. 1344, 1349 (N.D.III. 1996). First Round Knock Out, a compilation of various tracks produced and performed by Dr. Dre was also released in 1996, with material ranging from World Class Wreckin’ Cru to N.W.A to Death Row recordings.

The turning point for Aftermath came in 1998, when Jimmy Iovine, the head of Aftermath’s parent label Interscope, suggested that Dr. Dre sign Eminem, a rapper from Detroit. Dre produced three songs and provided vocals for two on Eminem’s successful and controversial debut album The Slim Shady LP, released in 1999. The Dr. Dre-produced lead single from that album, "My Name Is", brought Eminem to public attention for the first time, and the success of The Slim Shady LP – it reached number two on the Billboard 200 and received general acclaim from critics – revived the label’s commercial ambitions and viability.

1999–2000: 2001

Dr. Dre’s second solo album, 2001, released on November 16, 1999, was considered an ostentatious return to his gangsta rap roots. It was initially titled The Chronic 2000 to imply being a sequel to his debut solo effort The Chronic but was re-titled 2001 after Death Row Records released an unrelated compilation album with the title Chronic 2000: Still Smokin in May 1999. Other tentative titles included The Chronic 2001 and Dr. Dre. The album featured numerous collaborators, including Devin the Dude, Hittman, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, Nate Dogg and Eminem. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of the website Allmusic described the sound of the album as "adding ominous strings, soulful vocals, and reggae" to Dr. Dre’s style. The album was highly successful, charting at number two on the Billboard 200 charts{} and has since been certified six times platinum, validating a recurring theme on the album: Dr. Dre was still a force to be reckoned with, despite the lack of major releases in the previous few years. The album included popular hit singles "Still D.R.E." and "Forgot About Dre", both of which Dr. Dre performed on NBC’s Saturday Night Live on October 23, 1999. Dr. Dre won the Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical in 2000, and joined the Up in Smoke Tour with fellow rappers Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and Ice Cube that year as well.

During the course of 2001′s popularity, Dr. Dre was involved in several lawsuits. Lucasfilm Ltd., the film company behind the Star Wars film franchise, sued him over the use of the THX-trademarked "Deep Note". The Fatback Band also sued Dr. Dre over alleged infringement regarding its song "Backstrokin’" in his song "Let’s Get High" from the 2001 album; Dr. Dre was ordered to pay $1.5 million to the band in 2003. The online music file-sharing company Napster also settled a lawsuit with him and heavy metal rock band Metallica in the summer of 2001, agreeing to block access to certain files that artists do not want to have shared on the network.