HBO's 'The Defiant Ones' Reveals How Dr. Dre Almost Ruined His Apple Beats Deal

The documentary tells the story of Dr. Dre's and Jimmy Iovine's business partnership.

This is a photo of Dr. Dre.

Image via Getty/Michael Loccisano

This is a photo of Dr. Dre.

Sunday night marked the premiere of The Defiant Ones, a new HBO four-part documentary series about the relationship between Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. The Allen Hughes (Menace II Society) directed show touches on ideas of money, fame, and business, all of which are topics both Dre and Iovine are more than familiar with.

Iovine, head of Interscope Records, was the top music executive of the 1990s and 2000s; during that time, Dr. Dre was busy building the concept and business of gangster rap with N.W.A. and later as a solo artist. The two men have a surprising yet mutually beneficial partnership that has helped two kids from rough backgrounds create mind blowing and massively influential empires. The pair also famously worked together to finalize the 2015 sale of Beats Electronic to Apple Music for $3 billion, which turned out to be one of the biggest deals in the history of the music industry.  


The story is told with the help of several interviews with key players in both Dre and Iovine’s lives, including Eminem, Nas, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and more. The documentary also benefits from exclusive footage from recording and writing sessions with artists like Eazy-E, Bruce Springsteen, and JJ Fad as well as N.W.A.

The highly anticipated episode sparked major reactions on Twitter. Dr. Dre and some of the celebrities featured in the doc shared posts before the premiere, but viewers didn't need any extra hype and flocked social media to share their reactions in real time.

They said a lot of things!  #TheDefiantOnes… Tune in tonight on HBO.

Limited Defiant Merch Available Now:


😂😂😂😂 at the beginning of #TheDefiantOnes on @HBO. This story Jimmy Iovine is telling is great. And Tyrese crip-walking. 😂😂😂
This archival footage is outstanding #DefiantOnes
Incredible all this footage exists. No smartphones or social media. Imagine cameras following you at work decades ago. #TheDefiantOnes
Dr. Dr Dre playing with Marvin Gaye vocals in the studio, WHEW. #DefiantOnes
Damn! I had no idea about this Beats by Dre / Apple drama. Good shit. #TheDefiantOnes @hbo
Shooketh that Nirvana is Dre's fav #TheDefiantOnes
Watching the defiant ones and seeing dr dre work on the board is like seeing a fucking unicorn it's magical @drdre
Watching @drdre work behind the board must've have been the same watching Michelangelo paint. #TheDefiantOnes.
Wait Dr. Dre wore a satin purple surgeons mask with a satin purple suit when he started performing in 84? What a legend #TheDefiantOnes @HBO
I am in awe of all the footage included in #TheDefiantOnes @HBO. This is absolutely amazing cc: @icecube @drdre @Eminem
#TheDefiantOnes is showing in depth BTS of even more than just jimmy and dre specifically but  music icons in general 😩😩🙌🙌

The next three episodes of The Defiant Ones will air on HBO at 9 p.m. ET for the next three consecutive nights. You can also stream the entire series right now on HBO NOW.

Iovine is also the subject of our premiere episode of Blueprint, which you can watch below.

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