Dr. Dre

"Surgery" took in 50,000 copies, ten times greater than their previous releases. Lonzo was enthused, Dre and Yella were pissed. The sales were there, the work was deep but the money ran thin. They felt they were not getting their share. At the time, Michael Jackson's Thriller was the biggest musical sensation in history. Lonzo figured, his style of flashy dress and music was what the Wreckin Cru needed. Again Dre had his imitation pointing in another direction. Three cocky, Adidas sneaker-stamping, black jeans and jacket sporting Queens-kids, Run DMC.

Lonzo had landed a record deal with CBS Recordings from his recent recordings and with profits off the club, Lonzo built a studio at the back of the venue and Dr. Dre would produce the early tracks of the World Class Wreckin’ Cru. A year later Kru-Cut had released World Class’ début album, World Class co-produced by Dre and Yella. After a string of singles they came out with their follow-up album Rapped in Romance all recorded in Lonzo’s back room studio. Other frequent performers, CIA who consisted of the future talented Ice Cube, Sir Jinx and K-Dee would use the studio for recording their own work. Here many hours of experimenting on new equipment lead to Dr. Dre producing tracks for Ice Cube’s CIA, making three recordings “My Posse”, “Ill-Legal” and “Just for the Cash”. Dre was a cousin to CIA’s Tony ‘Sir Jinx’ Wheaton and O’Shea ‘Ice Cube’ Jackson grew up nearby Dre in South Central and often hung out together, Dre was really into their style. It wasn’t long before both came together calling themselves Stereo Crew. Mixmaster Spade was schooling undergraduate superstars on the finer art of turntablism. Compton Posse’s Toddy Tee had an explosive South Central anthem, "Batterram" recorded in his bedroom and production added in from Dre himself. The track was released in the summer of 1985 and became an incredible street-favourite and the most requested track on KDAY FM. Soon after Dre worked on producing tracks for Spade, "Just Say No," "You Better Bring Your Gun" and "Genius is Back" both co-produced with DJ Pooh. All these added to building Dre’s impressive resume of work. His time was also split with the commission of working on projects for Eric Wright who paid Lonzo for the use of his Kru-Cut studio for Ice Cube’s CIA group and further World Class recordings.

Dre had scheduled spots at Skateland USA and Eve’s After Dark where the three tracks for CIA were laid down. Lonzo signed them under his Kru-Cut Records for a meagre weekly stipend each. Dre had eventually outgrown the World Class persona of elaborate glitzy outfits and felt that Lonzo’s vision was not of his future and he attempted to break away from Kru-Cut Records and forego his electro-funk career in favour of pursuing a solo restart. However Dre was heavily under contract and debt to Lonzo as he owed payments for using the studio for side projects and bail money for every time Lonzo paid for his release from county jail for continual unpaid parking fines. Dre was bound to work endlessly for Lonzo’s label. He had also allowed Dre to use his car while his impounded and was then stolen from Dre while he was imprisoned again

. The car note was not yet paid off and Lonzo was short of money himself and was ready to cut Dre’s assistance off. Bail was set for $900 and Eric Wright came to his rescue with the financial aid in return for Dre’s help with producing tracks for Wright’s new recording label, Ruthless Records.

Ruthless Era

A local Compton-bred drug dealer and business entrepreneur Eric Wright was a regular face at Eve’s he became increasingly involved in the idea of starting a record label in which to sell recordings of his South Central-Compton rap scene. Wright discovered the souring relationship between Dre and Cube with Alonzo and separately whispered the idea in Dre and Cube’s head to form a South Central rap super-group. Wright had formed an alliance with them and paid Lonzo for the use of his studio in which Wright hired Dre to produce tracks for an east coast group - HBO, (Home Boys Only). Cube was to ghost write the lyrics. This was not to eventuate as the group refused to perform the lyrics written by Cube. A specific track turned down by HBO which was a vivid and street-cred South Central anthem called “Boyz N The Hood”. The lyrics were destined to be heard. As Cube had left LA in 1986 to forego his early rap career in favour of an architectural drafting degree in Phoenix, Dre insisted Eric should perform the hit. Eric was not a natural rapper, but was coached nicely into the hardened character of Eazy-E, reflecting the lifestyle of Wright’s hustle. The track was hot and played profusely on KDAY FM with Dre and Yella’s influence. By the close of 1987 it was the most requested on LA radio. During 1987 and ’88 Eazy and Dre worked through producing the music for the volume of lyrics left behind by Cube. With local Compton rapper, Lorenzo ‘MC Ren’ Patterson and producer Arabian Prince Ruthless Records created Niggaz With Attitude (NWA) and just before Ice Cube’s return to the forefront of the group, Macola Recordings released their debut EP NWA & The Posse which was a Dre-produced album originally marked for Houston, Texas group, Fila Fresh Crew starring Tracy ‘D.O.C.’ Curry. This was not an official Ruthless endorsed NWA album but nevertheless it showcased Dre’s next progression in production.

He owned the new formula to west coast rap music. Shortly after Cube returned and the group worked together on their first NWA album, Straight Outta Compton produced by Dre along with establishing himself as a rapper through various tracks. Along with the controversy and explosive nature of a new genre, the album sold two million copies and took Dre from the club and radio circuits in LA to the world. Straight Outta Compton is today regarded as the first and one of the greatest Gangsta Rap albums in history. Here the doctor begins collecting platinum-produced records. Dre was soon commissioned to produce Eazy’s début solo album, Eazy-Duz-It which spawned the release of "Boyz N The Hood" and other tracks with lyrics written by Ice Cube and The DOC. The album dropped cashing in on E’s soaring bad-boy popularity going double platinum immediately. The group’s second album was released a year later without Cube who parted ways with Eazy’s Ruthless Records over pay. By 1989 The DOC’s album was the next Dre-produced Ruthless record, No-One Can Do It Better there showed a distinct trend in Dre’s production as it was being moulded tightly into his now famous G-Funk. The record’s biggest hit was It’s Funky Enough. The album went platinum selling in excess of one million copies in the US.

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