New HBO Documentary Traces Influential Hip-Hop Partnership


On July 9, American cable television network HBO will debut the first chapter of The Defiant Ones, an incisive documentary that will investigate the unique collaboration between Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, two of the most respected names in the world of hip-hop from the mid-1990s until today.

Prior to the debut of The Defiant Ones, HBO has been releasing short clips on YouTube and on various social networks. An interesting clip tells the story of how Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg decided to work together. After finding success with the seminal rap group NWA, Dre became involved in solo work and production. He knew Snoop Dogg from his days growing up in Compton, but he was not familiar with his lyrical skills until he heard a poorly produced tape that West Coast rapper Warren G played for him at a party.

Dr. Dre could not believe that the man he knew from the block had such an amazing delivery. He decided to give Snoop Dogg a cold call that did not go well. Snoop knew who Dr. Dre was, but he did not realize that they had been neighbors, and he thought someone was pulling a prank on him; he actually hung up on Dre before the producer called him back to invited him to the studio.

It only took one track for Dre to be convinced that Snoop was the musical talent he needed to sign. The two rappers later met Jimmy Iovine, a recording engineer who founded Interscope Records and would later merge with A&M as well as Geffen. One of Iovine’s most substantial production deals took place in 1991 when he signed Tupac Shakur. Around the same time, he became interested in Death Row Records and provided funding as well as corporate support.

Interscope became known as a record label that knew exactly how to foster talent. By signing Lady Gaga and Eminem to his record label and giving them artistic freedom, Iovine cemented the legacy of Interscope in the 21st century.

Iovine and Dr. Dre came together as business partners in Beats, an electronics brand that focused on headphones that music fans could enjoy without becoming hardcore audiophiles. By 2013, Dre and Iovine entered the world of digital music with a streaming service that became the foundation of Apple Music. The business duo became billionaires, philanthropists and benefactors to the University of Southern California.

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