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Snoop Dogg. Biggie. Jam Master Jay. True hip hop heroes need no introduction. Today we pay homage to another hero in the hip hop community, Dr. Dre, who came from humble beginnings, but is now neck and neck with P. Diddy to become the first billionaire in hip hop.
Born Andre Rommele Young and raised on the streets of Compton, Dr. Dre comes from a family with a rich musical history, as both of his parents were singers. In 1984 Dre received a music mixer for Christmas and just like that, a musical genius was born. Before he became the most respected doctor in hip-hop, the Grammy Award winning artist got his start recording and DJ’ing in the hip hop group the World Class Wreckin’ Cru, where he recorded his first hit single “Surgery.”
Later he met rapper O’Shea Jackson, aka Ice Cube and alongside Eazy-E and Ice-T and others, they became N.W.A., the group that dominated the ‘80’s. In the ’90’s, Dre decided to break out on his own, establishing his own record label and topping the charts with “The Chronic” which is the album that features his hit single “Nuthin' but a G Thang.”
In 1999, Dre sold millions of copies of his second solo album, “2001.” Dre is even credited for discovering the phenomenon that is Eminem and he’s produced and rapped on hits like “Forgot About Dre.” In 2015 Dr. Dre released his final album "Compton" which was inspired by the N.W.A. biopic "Straight Outta Compton".
Dre is the founder and CEO of Aftermath Entertainment, the record label that artists such as 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, and Dre himself have called home. Dre is also the owner of the multimillion dollar company Beats Electronics, which made him the first billionaire.
Behind the scenes, Dre is also an accredited actor and producer, he’s ranked on “Rolling Stones Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Artists” list, and has made it to the top “Forbes” list as one of the richest figures in American Hip Hop. As of last year, his net worth was $700 million—just behind P. Diddy’s $735 million—thanks to the sale of Beats to Apple for $3.2 billion. To Dre, that’s all in a days work. It’s nuthin’ but a G thang, baby.
Tonight, Dr. Dre is poised to make hip hop history–yet again–with the release of his new album Compton: A Soundtrack on Apple Music, a week before the biopic about N.W.A., "Straight Outta Compton" hits theaters. This momentous occasion marks the first time Dre is releasing an album since 1999's "2001," and as Dre told Zane Lowe on his Beats 1 Radio show today, he's really not in it for the money. In fact, all of the royalties he earns will go towards building a new performance art center in his hometown of Compton, the place that started it all.
The legendary "doctor" also revealed that much of the album was written by himself and two of his new rising artists, Justus and King Mez. It will include collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, Jill Scott, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and–how could he not?–Ice Cube.
Miraculously, Dre managed to keep the project pretty low profile until recently. He explains, "I was leaving the set, coming to the studio, and I felt myself just being so inspired by the movie that I started recording an album. And I kept it under wraps. And the album is finished."