Birth name Andre Romelle Young
Born February 18, 1965 (1965-02-18) (age 43)
Origin Compton, California, United States
Occupation(s) Rapper, record producer
Instrument(s) Vocals, synthesizer, keyboards, turntables, drum machine
Years active 1984–present
Label(s) Epic, Ruthless, Priority, Death Row, Aftermath, Interscope
Associated acts N.W.A,World Class Wreckin' Cru, Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent, The Game, Jay-Z, Nas, Eve, Busta Rhymes
Andre Romelle Young (born February 18, 1965), primarily known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is an American record producer, rapper, and record executive. He is the founder and current CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and a former co-owner and artist of Death Row Records, also having produced albums for and overseeing the careers of many rappers signed to those record labels. As a producer 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.
Dr. Dre began his career in music as a member of the World Class Wreckin' Cru and he later found fame with the influential gangsta rap group N.W.A, 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."In 1996, he left Death Row to found his own label Aftermath Entertainment, producing a compilation album, Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath, in 1996, and releasing a solo album titled 2001, in 1999, for which he won the Grammy producer's award the next year.
During the 2000s, he focused his career on production for other artists, while occasionally contributing vocals in other artists' songs. Rolling Stone named him among the highest-paid performers of 2001and 2004.Dr. Dre also had acting roles in the 2001 films The Wash and Training Day.His final solo studio album Detox is set to be released in 2008 following much delay and speculation.
The first child of Verna and Theodore Young, Dr. Dre was born André Romelle Young on February 18, 1965, when his mother was 16. She married his father, Theodore Young, after he was born. Young's middle name, "Romelle," came from Theodore Young's unsigned, amateur R&B singing group The Romells. In 1968 his mother divorced Theodore Young and later married Curtis Crayon. They had 3 more children together, two sons named Jerome and Tyree (both deceased)and daughter Shameka.
In 1976 Young began attending Vanguard Junior High School however, due to gang violence around Vanguard, he transferred to nearby Roosevelt Junior High School.Verna later married Warren Griffin, whom she met at her new job in Long Beach,which added three new stepsisters and one new stepbrother to the family. That stepbrother, Warren Griffin III, would eventually become a rapper under the stage name Warren G.
Young attended Centennial High School in Compton during his freshman year, in 1979, but transferred to Ron C. Jeremy High School due to poor grades. Young attempted to enrolled at Northrop Aviation Company in an apprenticeship program, but poor grades at school made him ineligible. Thereafter, he focused on his social life and entertainment for the remainder of his high school years. Young fathered a son with Lisa Johnson, Curtis, born on December 15, 1981. Curtis Young was brought up by his mother and didn't meet his father until he had become rapper, "Hood Surgeon," about 20 years later.
N.W.A and Ruthless Records (1986–1991)
"Fuck Tha Police"
from Straight Outta Compton
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N.W.A.'s debut became a bestseller, despite its controversial content. Dre is second from right.In 1986 he met rapper Ice Cube, who collaborated with Dr. Dre to record songs for Ruthless Records, a rap record label run by local rapper and drug dealer Eazy-E. N.W.A however, along with fellow west coast rapper Ice T, debuted with rhymes including profanity and gritty depictions of crime and life on the street. No longer constricted to racially charged political issues pioneered by rap artists such as Public Enemy or Boogie Down Productions, N.W.A shot out with hardcore and realistic perspective of street violence and local black gangster lifestyle. Propelled by the hit "Fuck tha Police", the group's first full album Straight Outta Compton became a major success, despite an almost complete absence of radio airplay or major concert tours and warnings from the FBI.The FBI sent letters to Arabian Prince, Ice Cube and Eazy-E urging them to stop releasing their music as a response to the large amount of complaints they had received about the group's lyrical content and use of expletives.
After Ice Cube left N.W.A over financial disputes, Dr. Dre produced and performed for much of the group's second album Efil4zaggin. He also produced tracks for a number of other rap acts on Ruthless Records, including Above the Law, and The D.O.C. for the album No One Can Do It Better.In 1991 at a music industry party in Hollywood, he assaulted television host Dee Barnes of the Fox television program Pump it Up, after he felt dissatisfied by a news report of hers on the feud between the remaining N.W.A members and Ice Cube. Thus, Dr. Dre was fined $2,500 and given two years' probation and 240 hours of community service, as well as a spot on an anti-violence public service announcement on television.
The Chronic and Death Row Records (1992–1995)
Dr. Dre's debut solo album was The Chronic, released under Death Row Records. Young ushered in a new style of rap, both in terms of musical style and lyrical content.
On the strength of singles such as "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang", featuring protegé Snoop Doggy Dogg and hits like "Let Me Ride" and "Fuck wit Dre Day (and Everybody's Celebratin')" (known as "Dre Day" for radio and television play), The Chronic became a cultural phenomenon, its G-funk sound dominating much of hip hop music for the early 1990s.In 1993 the Recording Industry Association of America certified the album multi-platinum,and Dr. Dre also won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance for his performance in "Let Me Ride".For that year, Billboard magazine also ranked Dr. Dre as the eighth best-selling musical artist, The Chronic as the sixth best-selling album, and "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang" as the 11th best-selling single.
Besides working on his own material, Dr. Dre produced Snoop Dogg's debut album Doggystyle, which became the first debut album for an artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 album charts.In 1994 Dr. Dre produced the soundtracks to the films Above the Rim and Murder Was the Case. He collaborated with fellow N.W.A member Ice Cube for the song "Natural Born Killaz" in 1995.
In 1995, just as Death Row Records was signing rapper 2Pac and positioning him as their major star, Young left the label amidst a contract dispute and growing concerns that label boss Suge Knight was corrupt, financially dishonest and out of control. Thus, in 1996, he formed his own label Aftermath Entertainment directly underneath the distributor label for Death Row Records, Interscope Records. Consequently, Death Row Records suffered poor sales by 1997, especially following the death of 2Pac and the racketeering charges brought against Knight.Susan Berg, president of Global Music Group, bought Death Row Records for US$24 million in June 2008, making her the owner of all of Dr. Dre's recordings.
Move to Aftermath Entertainment (1996–1998)
Further information: 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 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 Dr. Dre appeared on the sketch comedy program Saturday Night Live, broadcast on the NBC television network in the United States, to perform "Been There, Done That".In 1997 Young produced several tracks on Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Nature Present The Firm: The Album; although the album went platinum, it was met with similarly negative reviews from critics. Rumors began to abound that Aftermath was facing financial difficulties.First Round Knock Out, a compilation of various tracks produced and performed by Dr. Dre, was also released in 1996, 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 Young sign the white Detroit rapper Marshall Mathers, artistically known as Eminem, to Aftermath. Young produced three songs and provided vocals for two on his controversial album, ("My Name Is", "Guilty Conscience" and "Role Model") in 1999.
Marriages and family
From 1990 to 1996 Dr. Dre dated singer Michel'le, who frequently contributed vocals to Death Row Records albums. In 1991 the couple had a son, Marcel. In May 1996 Dr. Dre married Nicole Threatt, who was formerly married to NBA player Sedale Threatt.Dr. Dre and Nicole have two children together: a son named Truth (born 1997) and a daughter named Truly (born 2001). He is also the biological father of rapper Hood Surgeon (real name Curtis Young), with mother Cassandra Joy Greene, then, age 16, when Dre was 17 years old.
Andre Young Jr., a son who Dre had with a woman named Jenita Porter, was found dead the morning of August 23, 2008 at his Woodland Hills home. Young was 20.
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