Born Andre Young in Compton, Calif., Dr. Dre began his career as a member of the World Class Wreckin’ Crew. In 1986, he co-founded N.W.A. (also featuring Ice Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella, and the late Eazy-E), who brought the rage and intensity of life in South Central Los Angeles to a global consciousness with their 1988 landmark album Straight Outta Compton. In 1992, Dre released his solo debut, the G-Funk masterpiece The Chronic, which Rolling Stone hailed as one of the greatest albums ever made. Two decades later, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg performed its classic hits “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” and the Grammy Award-winning “Let Me Ride” as headliners at Coachella 2012. (The set also featured a hologram of the late 2Pac — a technological innovation driven by Dre that thrilled the crowd and made front-page news.) 1993 saw the release of Snoop’s solo debut, the Dre-produced Doggystyle — another rap milestone and commercial blockbuster that gave the world the hip-hop standard “Gin and Juice.”
In 1996, Dr. Dre set his sights on entrepreneurial endeavors, leaving Death Row Records and launching his own company, Aftermath Entertainment. He went on to discover and nurture such next-generation hip hop superstars as 50 Cent, The Game, Kendrick Lamar, and Eminem, whose 1999 debut, The Slim Shady LP, has sold nine million copies worldwide, while his next three releases have topped 50 million units. Dr. Dre also crafted career re-defining hits for established artists like Mary J. Blige (the chart-topping “Family Affair”) and Gwen Stefani and Eve (“Let Me Blow Ya Mind”). Dre returned to rapping himself in 1999 with his second solo album, the 6x-platinum Dr. Dre 2001, which sold more than half a million copies in its first week and has been credited with introducing classic West Coast hip-hop to a new generation of listeners.
In the last decade, Dr. Dre, who still works in the recording studio every day, joined forces with Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine to create Beats By Dr. Dre — a high-performance headphone and sound transmission company intent on recapturing the fidelity of the studio in an age of ear buds and tiny laptop speakers. Beats By Dr. Dre launched in 2008 with the revolutionary Studio headphones, which have become culturally iconic — the signature red B now an instantly recognizable and respected symbol. (A new generation of unsuspecting music fans finally know what bass sounds like!) Beats By Dr. Dre has secured the #1 spot in the billion+ dollar premium headphones industry and LeBron James, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, David Guetta and Sean "Diddy" Combs, have all created special editions.
In 2009, Beats by Dr. Dre partnered with HP to produce the HP Envy notebook, integrated with Beats Audio, followed by the Beatbox iPod dock. In 2011, Beats Electronics opened a flagship retail store in New York City’s SoHo district where each of its new products is introduced.
In May of 2013, Iovine and Dr. Dre gave a $70 million endowment to the University of Southern California to create the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation — a new model for training and inspiring a generation of young innovators. The goal of the academy is to shape the future by nurturing the talents, passions, leadership and risk-taking of uniquely qualified students who are motivated to explore and create new art forms, technologies, and business models. The first class of the Academy will begin in September 2014.
And in early 2014, Beats closed the loop with Beats Music—a streaming music service designed to bring context and culture to digital music for the first time. While a separate company from Beats Electronics, Beats Music will carry the same style, substance, and commitment to quality that define the Beats brand, which Dre closely oversees.
Nearly a quarter century after Straight Outta Compton, Dr. Dre is still unpredictable and exciting; tirelessly following his creative vision and continuing to venture into the uncharted reaches of sound and technology. Whatever’s next, one thing is certain, we won’t see it “until it happens.”