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FORGOT ABOUT DRE? NOT US

The Legendary Producer/Artist/Entrepreneur Revisits
His Earliest Triumphs

While Dr. Dre has been a key figure in the presentation of Apple Music, the trailblazing producer/entrepreneur has lately been focused on music for Straight Outta Compton, the forthcoming biopic about his trailblazing rap group N.W.A. Dre, who has a producer credit on Compton, has reportedly crafted a track for the film and overseen other music for it.

Will there be a soundtrack album? If so, will it feature N.W.A.’s best-known material? Will it come out on Aftermath? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, look for a major catalog push for N.W.A., Dre and other associated artists around the release of the film.

The musical and cultural importance of N.W.A. can scarcely be overestimated. The Compton outfit comprised of Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy-E and MC Ren was the spark that lit a fire that changed the business, not only bringing rap to the mainstream but making the fortunes of Ruthless/Priority, Suge Knight’s  Death Row and Interscope—and providing a convenient target for moralizing opportunists like William Bennett and C. Delores Tucker, among others, to rage against and make their reputations.

Straight Outta Compton hit shelves like a bomb in 1988, and infamous track “Fuck tha Police” was as pointed a provocation as ever blasted out of a speaker. Its insurrectionary fury inspired scrutiny from the U.S. Senate and the FBI (the latter entity sent a threatening letter to Restless)—and adoration from rap fans of all complexions. Indeed, Priority has said 80% of its sales were in the suburbs. Compton became a retail smash without benefit of radio or major tours, and has ultimately reached triple-platinum status.

The group’s swan song was 1991’s Efil4zaggin (Niggaz4life spelled backwards); it hit platinum status and helped set up the solo careers of both Dre and Cube.

Dr. Dre’s landmark 1992 solo album The Chronic (on Death Row/Interscope) introduced Snoop Dogg and once again transformed the landscape, codifying the dope-shrouded, bass-pumping West Coast sound and ruling the charts (it’s sold 5.7 million since its release). Follow-up The Chronic 2001 (7.8m RTD)—on his own, Interscope-distribbed Aftermath imprint, which he launched in 1996—was his last solo release; long-promised set Detox has not yet been issued, though he’s has overseen huge records by Snoop, TupacEminem, Blackstreet, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent and other major artists, worked with Jay ZKendrick Lamar and Alicia Keys, snapped up Grammys and, with Jimmy Iovine, spun his sterling reputation into the entrepreneurial success of Beats By Dre … and finally that $3 billion deal with Apple.

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