When Apple announced it was acquiring Beats Electronics for $US3 billion, music mogul Dr Dre became hip-hop’s wealthiest artist.
Dre’s net worth is estimated to be about $US800 million and he’s an executive on the Apple board, however, his early life was a far cry from the lavish lifestyle he now enjoys.
The trailer for Straight Outta Compton — the new film based on the early experiences of gangsta rap crew N.W.A. — is the first movie to explore the rise of one of the most important music groups in hip-hop history. And Dr. Dre played a pivotal role in the group’s success.
Andre Romelle Young (aka Dr. Dre) was born in Compton, California in 1965. He grew up in the “Hub City”, attended school there and was surrounded by the exploding crack cocaine drug culture of the ’80s. The influence of gangs — bloods and crips — was widespread and crime was apparent on every street corner.
According to All Music, Dre first became involved in hip-hop in the early ’80s, performing at house parties and nightclubs around South Central LA and making a handful of recordings as part of the World Class Wreckin’ Cru.
By 1987, Dre had met fellow West Coast rappers Ice Cube and Eazy E and formed the group, N.W.A. an acronym for (N****z With Attitudez).
The group released their debut studio album Straight Outta Compton in 1988, pioneering the hip-hop sub-genre of gangsta rap and spreading their new sound worldwide.
Dre has gone on to become one of the most prolific producers in music history. He’s released just two studio albums which have sold more than 14 million copies worldwide and picked up six Grammy awards for his work as an artist, producer and engineer.
Dre and business partner Jimmy Iovine sold Beats Electronics to Apple last year, making him the self-proclaimed “richest man in hip-hop”.
The history of Dre’s career and the story of N.W.A. has been condensed into the Straight Outta Compton feature, directed by F. Gary Gray.
From clashes with police during the LA Riots to tense car chases through the streets of Compton, shootings and studio sessions to love, lust and betrayal, the first trailer has everything you’d expect to find in a classic hip-hop biopic.
Fittingly, the clip opens with Dre lying on his bed, surrounded by old records, vibing to beats.
We’re then thrust into the story of how these five young men discovered the art of making music and used it as their ticket to freedom.
“People are scared of you guys,” says actor Paul Giamatti, who plays the group’s manager Jerry Heller. “You have a unique voice… the world needs to hear it.”
Straight Outta Compton is released globally on August 13.
Check out the first official trailer below.
And if you missed it earlier this year, this promo released in February features film footage and dialogue from West Coast legends Ice Cube and Dr. Dre as well as fellow Compton natives and hip-hop superstars Kendrick Lamar and The Game.
For some perspective on whether the actors portraying the crew in Straight Outta Compton are comparable to the real thing, here’s the music video for the ’88 single of the same name.
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