Andre Young, known better as Dr Dre, changed hip-hop forever. One of the godfathers of gangsta rap—integral to N.W.A. and the birth of the sound that was to define the West Coast, G-funk—Dre's not only one of the single most important producers in hip-hop history but also a weighty kingmaker, instrumental in the careers of Snoop, Eminem and 50 Cent, and the rise of his Beats empire.
Dre has not only weathered hip-hop's many transformations as a solo artist but boasts a formidable production discography that stretches from rap to R&B to expertly scoring films. Even the continued interest in infamously delayed album Detox is testament to the respect Dre is able to command from a career that spans over two decades.
Here we chronicle just some of Dr Dre's landmark moments that contributed to his evolution.
WORLD CLASS WRECKIN' CRU
Andre (far left, I know right!) was christened Dr Dre having earned his stripes DJing at LA club The Eve After Dark, where he labelled himself a "Master of Mixology". Inspired by the overarching influence of Grandmaster Flash, the World Class Wreckin' Cru fleetingly became stars of the early 80s electro-hop in the West Coast, the track "Surgery" acting almost as an ode to Dre on the decks, selling 50, 000 copies in his hometown Compton. Though the group experienced mild success, Dre saw an out from the constraints of DJing after meeting a rapper by the name of O'Shea "Ice Cube" Jackson.
N.W.A. AND THE BIRTH OF GANGSTA RAP
With no exaggeration N.W.A's Straight Outta Compton changed the landscape of hip-hop indelibly. In 1986 Dre had hooked up with Ice Cube, who was already fully immersed in the West Coast’s burgeoning rap scene. Together they began working with Eric "Eazy-E" Wright - a Compton drug dealer who’d once bailed Dre out of prison - at Eazy’s self set up label, Ruthless Records. Dre’s very first production effort was “Boyz in the Hood” which, sold locally, swiftly garnered Dre notoriety in L.A.