Dr. Dre, Eminem And Jimmy Iovine, “Three Kings” (Originally Published April/May 2014)

Dr. Dre XXL Issue April/May 2014

DR. DRE-THE GOOD DOCTOR MAKES HITS BUT RARELY TAKES THEM.

What made you guys want to get into the business of streaming music?
Well, this was originally Jimmy’s idea. He’s been talking about this for a long time. Just trying to come up with a way to possibly save the music industry. So it really down to that, just trying to come up with a way to save music and a different way of presenting it to the audience.

Do you think the music industry needs saving?
I believe so, especially for the artist’s sake. Coming from a producer’s perspective, the producer is probably the last on the totem pole to get paid now because once an artist makes a record, he has the ability to go out and do shows to make money.

The days of the super producers aren’t that important anymore, right?
No, it’s not. Right now it’s about what you’re gonna do on that stage, and there’s not that many producers that have that ability. So this is hopefully something that can change that.

A big part of Beats Music is the curation. Why is that important?
It’s important because human beings listen to music, so human beings should be able to pick what humans listen to. This is another thing that Jimmy has talked about, and I agree with it also because I come from a DJ background, and it’s so important to know which song comes next. That’s all it’s about. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, it’s always great if you don’t have to get up and physically change the song that plays next.

The right sequencing seems like it is so important to a project.
I really believe that sequencing an album is just as important as the songs that are on an album.

What’s your process for sequencing an album or even a playlist?
I sequence during the entire recording process. The sequencing changes as I’m recording and as I’m listening. From when I’m like four songs in, I start trying to figure out which song should come after which. Which is important, and it changes as the album goes. So usually by the time I’m done with an album, I already know how the album should be sequenced. It keeps the flow going, and I think that’s one of the reasons why my albums have really been so successful is because of the sequence and because of the curation.

The opening track or first thing you hear on the project is pretty important also…
It’s so important, even the intro. Intros are so important because they set the stage. Those are the advertisers.

Speaking of advertisers, there are so many people wearing Beats headphones these days, it’s like an advertisement itself.
I’ve gained an entirely new popularity because of the headphones. It’s like I haven’t been outside in years and haven’t seen them somewhere. It makes me proud to be a part of it. It’s also making a statement to the person that buys these headphones. It’s like I look at you and I see you really care about what your music sounds like.

Has Beats been more financially profitable than the music-making business for you?
I would have to say financially that the headphones have benefitted me, like a tremendous amount of money there. I can’t even explain to you how happy I am in that area, but I’m a music guy. I like being in the studio. I’m actually inspired to be back in the studio again. I was actually going in the studio for a long time out of obligation more so than to be there. But now I’m inspired to be back and do what I love.

What’s inspired you?
I don’t know. I just really had that itch to be in the studio, so I’ve been back in for the last few months. My inspiration came from I don’t know where. I just woke up and I wanted to be in there. The difference between the headphones and making music, it’s like, okay, I have a new business here that I’m proud of, but my soul still remains in
the music-making process.

How has what you have done with the Beats brand affected music directly?
I think that it’s gonna motivate a lot of guys that are in hip-hop to go out and try new and different things that have to do with sound. I think a lot of guys come into the business, and the first thing you want to do is maybe start a shoe line or clothing line, but there’s so many other things that we can do, more organic to what we do. I’m not knocking anybody—get your money— but there are other avenues that are a lot more organic to what we do. I can’t sell shoes. I wear the same shit every day. I can’t sell liquor. I like to drink it, but I don’t know how to sell it. I know sound, and this is what I’m going to stick to, what I know.