HBO's The Defiant Ones does a brilliant job of telling the stories of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, two of the most innovative minds in the music industry, during a four-part documentary directed by Allen Hughes. Their worlds are both similar and different at the same damn time; while Iovine was building up his rep by working with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Nicks, and U2, Dre was not only perfecting the sound of G-funk, but building an empire that allowed him to nurture the careers of Eminem and 50 Cent.
While The Defiant Ones (which finishes its four-night premiere tonight at 9 p.m.) can teach you a lot about two individuals who helped shape the culture we're living in today, there are still some nuggets of information to be gleaned. After watching all four parts of the series, here are some of the most interesting bits we picked up. If you're not that versed on what Dre and Jimmy have contributed to the industry and the culture as we know it, we highly recommend you watching The Defiant Ones with pen and pad (or Notes app) handy.
Dr. Dre has a remix of Marvin Gaye's "I Want You" somewhere
During part one of The Defiant Ones, we see Dr. Dre doing what Dre does best: working at the mixing desk in the studio, getting music to sound its crispiest. Loaded into the studio desk is the studio session for Marvin Gaye's classic "I Want You," with Dre putting his own touches on the track (including laying a dope break beat underneath). Who knows if/when/where this will turn up, but it's out there.
Dre doesn't like the way he sounds on the mic
For the man who kicked knowledge on N.W.A.'s "Express Yourself," released two classics in the world of hip-hop (The Chronic and The Chronic 2001), and continues to rock the mic, Dr. Dre revealed that he's not into the way he sounds on the mic. Soon after Dre admits this, Ice Cube still calls him confident, so many this was Dre sitting down and being humble about his own performance?
Dr. Dre got recognized over a blend of "Mr. Postman"
One of the most interesting tidbits from Dr. Dre's life was from his World Class Wreckin' Cru days. The early '80s DJ crew found exciting ways to keep the party rocking, like Dre's blend of The Marvelettes' 1961 single "Please Mr. Postman" and Jive Rhythm Trax 122. The illest part is that this is said to have been the first time he ever DJ'd at a club.
It's a dope DJ blend, and made it onto the second side of Dr. Dre's '86 In The Mix' mixtape.
Dre and Jimmy test out Beats speakers together
Towards the beginning of part two, you see Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre sitting in a Chrysler truck, testing out the specs on the Beats speakers that are in the vehicle. The clip is short, and finds both of them making sure that the bass knocks to the songs they worked on in the past perfectly, but it's more about them taking the time out to put that personal touch on the sound systems that are carrying their brand name. You have to wonder if they do this on the regular for each product...
"Fuck tha Police" was born out of paintball debauchery
We all know how impactful N.W.A.'s "Fuck tha Police" was for the group, for hip-hop in general, and as a springboard for the likes of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Eazy-E, but the story of how it came about is interesting, even in its simplicity. In The Defiant Ones, it's explained that Dre and Eazy were a part of "Just Us," the only all-black paintball crew in their area.
One day, Eazy took out his paintball shotgun(!) and he and Dre went riding on the freeway, shooting paintballs at cars on the road. This landed Dre in jail... on the weekends. Ice Cube recalled that it was more fun when Dre was on the street during weekends, because they could record and hit the clubs, but with Dre in jail, it was boring as hell. His boredom turned into picking up a pen and writing "Fuck tha Police," which he initially threw in the garbage. A wise friend saved the song, and it became the anthem we have today.
Snoop Dogg went out looting during the making of 'The Chronic'
You gotta love Uncle Snoop for keeping it real. When the subject of The Chronic came up, Dr. Dre speaks on working on his debut album while "L.A. was literally on fire" and how people made the studio look like "a fucking swap meet" with the items they were picking up from their adventures in looting.
According to Snoop, he didn't give a fuck. "I personally was like 'fuck that, nigga,'" Snoop recalled. "I went out looting and stole all kinds of shit and brought it all back to the studio."