Dr. Dre

Real Name: Andre Romelle Young
D.O.B.: February 16th, 1965

Dr. Dre is perhaps this generation’s most consummate hip-hop producer, sustaining at the pinnacle of the continual momentum of hip-hop particularly in the west coast for over twenty-five years. This blankets every generation of hip-hop development at which he can be held primarily accountable for. His change of direction and influence completely shifts the balance of power within the music industry. Dre has been at the forefront of the west coast movement as a major role-player from day one and is today considered the Godfather of G-Funk, from the ground up, unmistakably the greatest hip-hop producer the world has ever heard.

In introducing the 6’1” 230 pound Dr. Dre, we shake hands with the revolutionary conception of the G-Funk movement, a distinct brand of west coast funk production developed to individualise the Gangsta Rap scene from its coastal counterpart on the East. Dr. Dre is the puppeteer to the evolution of Gangsta Rap interest since the turn of the 1980’s and to this day remains at the forefront of the industry as one of the most consummate producers in the game. From reinventing the trend of Electronic Funk in LA’s club scene to playing a starring role in introducing Compton to the world in the mega-rap outfit N.W.A. who shook contemporary music down to its very roots and strong-armed them to adopt Gangsta Rap into their top ten slots. This would briefly sum up the beginning stages of Dre’s early career as hip-hop’s Super-Producer. After forming the most powerful hip-hop record label and producing work for today’s face of west coast Gangsta Rap, he has released two of the greatest west coast branded rap albums as a solo artist and produced masterpieces of some of the greatest hip-hop artists of our time. The Godfather of G-Funk is currently working on his third and most anticipated solo album, at the head of one of the most successful record labels in hip-hop.

The Beginning

The beginning of this story finds us in Compton, California where Andre was born in 1965 and grew up with his mother, Verna and father, Theodore Young who were both aspiring musicians, Verna almost made a part of The Four Aces group but fell pregnant at fifteen years young to Theodore, seventeen. The couple were married by their parents two weeks prior to Andre being born. He was named Andre Romelle after Theodore's unsigned group, The Romells. Verna had just had her sixteenth birthday. Soon after Verna and Theodore experienced an horrific cot death of their second child Jerome, a would-be younger brother to Andre who himself was less than eighteen months old. This left Verna a scarred woman, and soon relations between her and Theodore grew bitter and by late March 1968, they were separated. Soon after Verna fell pregnant by another man, Curtis Crayon and provided Andre with a younger brother, Tyree Du Sean Crayon. At parties thrown by his young mother, four year-old Andre would change 45 vinyls on the record player, determining what the crowd would dance to next. He took interest in the sounds and remembered favourite records by their cover pictures and soon had set lists stacked to play.

While growing up Andre and Tyree were constantly moving from apartment complex, to house as Verna always tried to make a home for her beloved sons. When their mother heard of her sons being bullied in the neighbourhood she would up and move to a new area within Compton. Andre and Tyree would change schools and find it hard to settled down with friends. Verna also saw it as a way of ensuring her sons were not sucked into the vacuum of gang-life spreading through the city. By 1977 Verna had uprooted and moved her family out to Carson, into a house that required renovation. She hired her work-colleagues one of whom was Warren Griffen, an upper-management father of four at her job in Long Beach. Through this period, Verna divorced Curtis and grew closer to Warren. They got married and moved into a new place back in Compton where Andre his brother, and sister by Curtis were joined by new step-father, Warren and his only son, Warren Griffen Jr. who spent weekends with his father. Dre would later have a protégée to the formula of G-Funk and Long Beach scout, the Regulator Warren G.

An adolescent Andre spent his spare time as a dancer, in a group performing at local talent shows wearing flashy suits hand-made by his devoted mother. He took on the new wave pop-locking fad from local entertainers Don Campbell and the Campbellocks. After a disappointing talent show loss, Andre gave in the flash suits and moves. He found his true calling in engineering the sounds of music. He had a natural flair for the art and through his teenage years took to DJing whole- heartedly and was soon modelling Grandmaster Flash and DJing at the back of his house and across at the local park as part of group called Freak Patrol. His formative upbringing was through Afrika Bambaataa and The Soul Sonic Force's "Planet Rock" and The furious Five's "The Message." While changing from Centennial High to Fremont High, Andre amerced himself in the culture of east coast hip-hop. He would buy new records weekly from the hottest acts coming out of New York's scene. By December 15th, 1981 a girl in Paramount city gave birth to Andre's first-born son, Curtis Young. Whether Andre was aware of this, is not known. Curtis would grow up to become a rapper in his own right, Hood Surgeon, the son of Dre. He apparently met his father for the first time at the age of 21. However at just sixteen, Andre's interest were concentrated on the latest music and a Culver City girl named Lisa Johnson.

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