I never thought the day would come where as tech writers we could write about Dr. Dre, I mean other than pointing out how much Andreesen Horowitz partner Ben Horowitz loves hip hop, and of course he’s really an east coast hip hop kind of guy.
But now with Apple acquiring Beats By Dre, and Dre even participating by phone in Monday’s WWDC keynote, he’s fair game right?
So for those of you young little hipsters and others too young to remember the days of really good hip hop, our good friends at Business Insider ran a pretty detailed expose on Dr. Dre Tuesday evening. However, they got one of the most fundamental things wrong (there’s a chance they’ve updated this by the time this story publishes) but those who grew up to the east coast west coast wars, listening to NWA, Easy E and whoever was rapping on the east coast, knew that NWA wasn’t actually Dr. Dre’s first group.
Dr. Dre’s first group was the ill dressed World Class Wrecking Cru. We say ill dressed even though Easy E refers to Dr. Dre during his time in the World Class Wrecking Cru as “a she thing”. There wasn’t really any cross dressing Dre probably thought he was stylish.
This isn’t an actual video just the song.
Probably not a pinnacle in the most wealthiest man in hip hop’s career, but the group’s hit Before You Turn Off The Lights became an underground hit and then a widespread hit across clubs coast to coast. In fact had it not been for Dre’s tenure in the World Class Wrecking Cru, there may never have been an NWA.
Hip Hop Lore says that Eric “Eazy E” Wright, a Compton drug dealer in the early 80’s caught wind of the World Class Wrecking Cru. Eazy was the money behind the group who eventually opened up a recording studio in the back of the club where the Cru was formed. Eazy got his friend Ice Cube to actually ghost write for the group.
The story goes that Dr. Dre had run into some legal trouble, no not for smoking that chronic, but for racking up fines in his Mazda RX7. The owner of the club that the Cru performed at regularly wouldn’t bail Dre out but Eazy decided he would do it himself and then Dre would pay him back with production. That was consequently the moment that Ruthless Records and NWA was formed when Eazy teamed up with Dre, Ice Cub, Yella and himself to release their first hit record.
There was a bitter falling out with NWA when Dre went on to work with Snoop Doggy Dogg and Ice Cube started doing movies. Just prior to his death Eazy released “Real Compton City G’s” a dis record against Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg right after Dre’s solo album came out. During the video (seen below) Eazy makes a lot of references to Dre’s work with the World Class Wrecking Cru.
Improved Business Savvy
Obviously older and wiser Dre and partner Jimmy Iovine struck a debatably good deal with Apple for the Beats company including the headphones and the streaming music service. Both Iovine will go work for Eazy Tim Cook the CEO of Apple for $3 billion dollars. Some are debating how good the deal was for both Dre and Iovine though, actually speculating that they were undervalued in the deal.
Back in those early hip hop days, even after leaving Eazy E’s Ruthless Records camp and going to work for Suge Knight at Death Row Records, Eazy still had several “points” on anything Dre produced, including mega hits “G-Thing” and “What’s My Name”.
It appears that in Eazy’s final days though, Dre and Mr. Doggy Dogg may have buried the hatchet as both appeared at Eazy’s funeral.
And there you have it. 600 words on the lore of West Coast Hip Hop on a Tech blog.