Dr Dre is arguably one of the best producers in hip-hop and has so many hits to his name. From 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club’ to ‘Nuthin’ But a G Thang’ featuring Nate Dogg, there are some undeniable hits in Dre’s catalogue. With such talent in music, it is unsurprising that the musician (real name Andre Young) is one of the wealthiest men in hip-hop.
Dr Dre initially made his name as part of N.W.A., a rap group that not only relied on their visceral rhymes but were ballasted by Dre’s unmatched ear for an intoxicating beat. Together, the Compton crew took on America with their gangsta rap signature sound, shook up the industry with their provocative lyrics, and lambasted the government on their musical conquest.
From his impressive entrance alongside N.W.A., Dre seamlessly built an empire as the co-founder of Death Row Records alongside Suge Knight. However, as the home of 2pac and the volatile Suge Knight, Death Row was the true epicentre of the East Coast VS West Coast feud as it was 2pac who was doing the antagonising. The beef eventually led to Tupac Shakur’s murder, and following this, Dre ended his Death Row chapter and began a partnership with Jimmy Iovine at Interscope Records.
From here, Young continued to take on all sorts of ventures in and outside of the music industry. In this article, we explore some of the accomplishments the mogul has made outside of music.
How Dr Dre became a business mogul:
Aftermath Entertainment (simply referred to as Aftermath) has played a large part in Dr Dre’s career. Not only was it somewhere the rapper and producer could call home after his departure from Death Row, but it allowed him to sign his own artists. Although the rapper was able to do this at Death Row, the label was far too toxic for artists to thrive while they were on it.
Co-founded with the legendary music executive and mogul Jimmy Iovine, Aftermath Entertainment was able to properly develop its artists and carefully cultivate a roster of quality that wouldn’t get bogged down in politics as Death Row did. Artists signed to Aftermath were often given their own imprints, and Dre was always able to impart his wealth of knowledge.
A multitude of artists have used Aftermath as a launch pad for their careers, including the likes of Eminem, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, The Game, Kendrick Lamar and many more. Shady Records (Eminem’s label) and G-Unit Records (50 Cent’s label) are both subsidiaries of Aftermath.
Beats by Dre
Beats Electronics was founded by Dr Dre alongside Jimmy Iovine of Interscope Records in 2006. In 2006, Dre noticed how even medium-budget earphones were not reflecting the sonics of his music accurately. Having been in the music business for over two decades, the producer knew that if audio engineers and producers dedicate their time to make sure the music is sonically perfect, then it’s only right that the listeners hear that perfection.
Wanting to create an affordable and sonically accurate set of headphones, Young called upon Iovine and in partnership with the AV equipment company Monster Cable Products the two developed and manufactured a new line of headphones and speakers. Beats by Dre. Immediately people noticed how tinny their previous earphones were, and demand began to grow. By 2013 Beats by Dre was worth $1 billion.
Being a businessman and wanting to see a profit a year later, Young sold the company to Apple for $3 billion in cash and stocks. The purchase became the largest acquisition in Apple’s history. Dre has also recently done a deal with Apple Music’s Apple Radio which now includes Beats One Radio.
Dr Dre has also helped produce scores for dark comedies and horror films. The producer has worked extensively with Crucial Films, a subsidiary of New Line Cinema. His involvement in film production came through his longtime friend, director Phillip Atwell.
Speaking to the magazine Daily Variety, Dre explained, “This is a natural switch for me since I’ve directed a lot of music videos, and I eventually want to get into directing.” Below you can watch a short film featuring both Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine talking about business ventures outside of music.