Dr.Dre and Jimmy Iovine, who both started their music careers producing music and having a lot of succes with it, sold the company which they started together, Beats Electronics, to Apple in 2014. Their company, which sells headphones and speakers and also had its own music streaming service, sold for 3 billion dollars. It was a deal which could have fallen through though. While the negotiations were still going on Dr.Dre, while drunk in the studio with Tyrese Gibson, made a video boasting about the fact he would become the first hip hop billionaire. This four-part documentary opens with that moment and shows how the son of an Italian immigrant and a boy who grew up in Compton became successful together. Despite their, sometimes controversial, but also influential past.
Jimmy Iovine started as a studio engineer and because of that learned a lot about making records. He worked together with Bruce Springsteen and thanks to that connection he was able to help Tom Petty and turned into a music producer who had an ear for what could become a hit. He was successful, but he wanted more. He decided to start a record label, Interscope Records, and signed controversial artists like Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson.
Dr.Dre begon started his music career as a DJ. He was part of The World Class Wreckin’Cru and together with a couple of friend and a local drugs dealer started N.W.A. With their gangsta rap and songs like “Fuck the Police” they became the center of (negative) media attention. Dr.Dre struggled with people around him and even was arrested by the police. He started a new records label twice and it was under Iovine’s Interscope (despite some records flopping) he managed to reach the top.
Director Allen Hughes (Menace II Society, Dead Presidents, The Book of Eli) shows how both men got where they are today. Not only through archival footage, but also doing interviews with artists and record label executives who worked with them and he shows what is going on behind the scenes. Of course a lot of information about Dr.Dre was already known, he isn’t someone who is very open when it comes to his private life and working in the studio. Here you see more of him though, although it’s clear that he isn’t always completely comfortable doing so. Sometimes it is because of the subject matter. He doesn’t really want to talk about the loss of some of his loved ones or what happened during last couple of years he was at Death Row Records.
Of course it is difficult to create a complete overview of these two men in just four episodes (which are between 50 minutes and just over an hour), but Hughes succeeds in doing so, even though you’d probably want to know more detail in some cases. As both Iovine and Dr.Dre have participated in making it you might expect that it’s all praise and that the darker times in their lives are ignored, but that isn’t the case. Dr.Dre talks about him drinking and driving and hitting Dee Barnes. Of course the general vibe is a positive one, but parts of their uncomfortable history is shown as well..
Both these men have seen the music industry change during their career and have managed to adapt from being music producers into being extremely successful entrepreneurs. This look behind the scenes should be interesting for any music fan.