Gangsta rap pioneer Dr. Dre was born on February 18, 1965. A music fan from the start, Dre started working as a DJ in his teens. His first major success came with the rap group N.W.A. and he later co-founded Death Row Records in 1991. In 1992, his first solo album The Chronic became a huge hit. Dre started up Aftermath Entertainment in 1996 and signed Eminem and 50 Cent to his label. He eventually co-founded the company Beats Electronics with Jimmy Iovine.
Born Andre Romelle Young, Dr. Dre came from a musical background. Both of his parents were singers. His mother, Verna, quit her group the Four Aces shortly before Dre was born. His middle name comes from one of the bands his father Theodore belonged to, the Romells.
After his parents split up, Dre lived with his mother, who remarried several times. They moved around frequently, and at one point lived at the Wilmington Arms housing project in the Compton area. At Centennial High School, Dre showed a talent for drafting, but he paid little attention to his other course work. He transferred to Fremont High School and then went to the Chester Adult School. But his interests didn't lie in schoolwork—he wanted to make music. Dre received a music mixer for Christmas in 1984 and soon turned his family's home into his studio. For hours on end, he would work his magic, taking pieces of different songs and sounds to make his own sound.
Dre started hanging out at L.A. nightclub Eve After Dark, where he eventually got his chance to work the turntables. He joined the World Class Wreckin' Cru, which performed in nightclubs, and developed the rap persona of Dr. Dre, the Master of Mixology. His new moniker was inspired in part by basketball star Julius "Dr. J." Erving.
A Leading Rap Pioneer
Dre teamed up with fellow rappers Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Yella, MC Ren, the Arabian Prince and the D.O.C. to form N.W.A. (Niggaz With Attitude) in 1985. With his new group, he was able to produce a more...