Dr. Dre’s Interview From Vibe Magazine’s 15th Anniversary Issue

I’m not sure how many of you have had a chance to check out Vibe‘s 15th Anniversary issue, which has hit the stands in New York, but might not be out everywhere else. I think this could be the best issue of an urban mag I’ve read in a few years, they really hit it out the park- interviews with Eminem, Ice Cube, 50 Cent, Shaq, Tyler Perry, Diddy, the list goes on and on- and who can forget the great cover story on a legend, Jay-Z, by a legend, Elliott Wilson (also peep Sean Fennessey’s incredible songography on Hov, documenting every song the guy has ever made).

There’s also an interview with Dr. Dre, a rarity these days, and I love you all so much that I’m basically retyping the entire thing word for word, which is a pretty time-consuming process. But I wanted to share it that much.

“The Original Hit Man” by Oliver Wang

Producer is an inadequate label for Andre “Dr. Dre” Young. In addition to personally changing hip-hop’s sound at least three time, first with N.W.A, then with his solo debut, The Chronic (Deathrow/Interscope, 1992), and then again with [Chronic 2001] (Aftermath/Interscope, 1999), he’s also shepherded three of rap’s biggest stars, ever- Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and 50 Cent- to pop superstardom. While Dr. Dre, 43, is a cultural force and a kingmaker, in his heart, he’s still a producer; from the fury of N.W.A’s 1988 “—- tha Police,” to the serpentine funk of his 1992 “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang,” to the tongue-in-cheek charm of Eminem’s 1999 “My Name Is” and the irresistible bump of 50 Cent’s 2003 “In da Club,” his music defines at least one, if not two generations. In July, Dre check in from– where else?– the studio, where he’s currently “three-fourths the way done” with his long, long-awaited Detox.

What were you doing in 1993?

Dr. Dre: Working on Snoop’s introduction album, Doggystyle.

You’ve had many hits, but you’ve also made stars of other artists. Luck, or labor?

The luck comes in by just meeting these people. These guys are talented as shit. They make me look good, you know what I mean? Once the luck passes, the labor comes in– and it’s definitely a lot of work.

Producing music, developing talent– do you draw on the same skill set?

It’s different. The music doesn’t talk back [laughs].

What’s the key to your track record?

I don’t take any shorts. I don’t say, “Okay, it’s good enough.” I try to get exactly what I’m hearing in my head to the tape, and I won’t let it move until then. In my opinion, some of the hip-hop records that come out, people are willing to compromise. I’m not.

Nineteen ninety-three was also the year after The Chronic. Did you anticipate the overwhelming response?

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure. Before I got with Interscope, I recorded the entire album, artwork and everything and went into almost every label, and everybody was slamming doors on my, talking about, “This isn’t hip-hop; you’re using live instruments.” It had me second-guessing myself. I remember being on my balcony with Nate Dogg, listening to my record like, Is this shit good or not? I had no idea it would do what it did.

Do you see that as your defining effort?

I don’t feel like I’ve made my best record yet. The Marshall Mathers LP got the closest, but I don’t feel like I’ve hit that thing just 100 percent perfect, from the first note to the last note. I always use Quincy Jones as an example– he didn’t make his biggest record until he was 50 and he started when he was 14. So I feel like I have a lot of room to get that thing done.

Is “100 percent” achievable?

I’m not sure. But it’s definitely going to be a fun ride trying.

Also: R.I.P. to legendary producer Jerry Wexler,  who passed away at age 91. Stax loses another legend. A retrospective on him is soon to come as well.

  • Champlain

    Thanks for posting this, still cant find mag in my area…

  • b-ease

    Interesting he considers the “Marshall Mathers LP” his crowning achievement so far…I think that LP has aged horribly.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Benicio Del Thoro

    R.I.P Jerry Wexler

    Damn they are dropping flies! For those of you don’t know, Jerry Wexler along with Ahmet Ertegun signed Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin to Atlantic Records. Back when Atlantic didn’t have Plies it had a superb roster. One of the greatest execs and reason why I wanna be an A&R with the rest of my life. That and Steve Rifkind.

    Dre should have a diamond when Detox comes out. Old heads are askin about that record and were talking og status guys. So you know that Dre touch is the Midas.

  • gooch

    haha@atlantic and plies… I would love to see him and Wexler in the studio

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Benicio Del Thoro

    My bad on the typos, but the chronic’s blowin!

    BTW, I’m from Michigan and the Marshall LP is to us what Illmatic means to New Yorkers, and so on. That album sonically ill put against RZA shit, and anyone else no question. Bang Bang!!

  • TheCo!!inB

    it’s crazy what a producer hears v. what the consumer ear hears….i don’t think anyone would’ve mentioned the Marshall Mathers LP as Dre’s best work to date (i for one am gonna go home and see what the fuck he’s talking about personally)…esp since 2001 was so aurally insane. that very first issue of scratch mag where they interviewed Dre was the best….the rest of these interviews are craptacular…..
    p.s. I personally feel wexler and plies would be the second best odd couple behind buffet and james…..them niggas is always kickin it together

  • from Finland

    guys. dre aint talking bout the album sold best… dres talkin bout which album is closest his goal.

  • from Finland

    his PERSONAL goal

  • $ykotic

    So after using up most of the day, I see where Dre is coming from. The music on that MMLP was bananas. The music was for Em, not beats that Em spit on.

    Looks like Dre is about to lock it down.

    Cause once you read the article, he just made you go thru his whole catalog to get in the Detox lane.

    Smart man.

  • jonjon23

    Dr. Dre is the best producer of all time. He consistently makes big hits from the time span of 1983 to today (Str8t Outta Compton, Niggaz 4 Life, Eazy Duz it, Nobody Does It Better). My favorite work of his was probably Doggystyle with The Chronic close behind. Think about it: where would Snoop Dogg be without Doggystyle? We probably wouldn’t know who he was. I haven’t bought any new rap in about a year because you don’t get enough quality songs to justify the price, but I gotta get Detox.

  • http://www.pimpinpens.blogspot.com triplesixninja

    Its a tie between Rza, DJ Paul & Juicy J, and Dr. Dre

  • Severe3000

    ill give you props for mentioning paul and juicy j in that statement. many people forget about them..but from a production standpoint, they’ve been ahead of their time with cinematic and dramatic beats, and have been doin it consistently for a very long time. u listen to their beats without lyrics and you feel like your in a action movie, running from police or michael myers.

    but u still cant put them up their with dr. dre, RZA, or even timbaland

  • Severe3000

    ill give you props for mentioning paul and juicy j in that statement. many people forget about them..but from a production standpoint, they’ve been ahead of their time with cinematic and dramatic beats, and have been doin it consistently for a very long time. u listen to their beats without lyrics and you feel like your in a action movie, running from police or michael myers.

    but u still cant put them up their with dr. dre, RZA, or even timbaland

  • jonjon23

    Dre’s the best.

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