Dr. Dre’s growth of his businesses over the past two decades has solidified far more than solely as a hip hop pioneer. Dr. Dre’s career began in the West-Coast world of cassette tapes and flamboyant bars. An integral member of N.W.A., he was rapping on Southern California’s sunny and impoverished streets. Over time, he would become one of the most celebrated entertainers in music history. However, he was more than an influential producer and rapper. An instrumental teacher, he developed the businesses of Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and 50 Cent under Death Row Records and Aftermath Entertainment. From The Chronic to 2001, Dr. Dre flexes a musical resume that only a select few rappers can live up to.

However, Dr. Dre’s cultural blueprint has changed dramatically over the decades. Even if his career began behind the mic, he’s propelled himself into a figure whose impact surpasses the streaming charts. Many Gen-Z kids associate Dr. Dre with his external business ventures, notably Beats by Dre, rather than music. Directing several artists from the streets to the top of the world, Dr. Dre began to realize that he could operate in the shadows rather than on a concert stage.

Beats By Dre Got Started On A California Beach

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 13: Dr. Dre performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

By the early 2000s, the groundwork had been set for Dr. Dre to transition into the business world. As the Compton-born icon was jotting down ideas for which industry he’d dive into, moving into the hardware world of sound wasn’t on his mind. It took running into the co-founder of Interscope Records, Jimmy Iovine, during an impromptu day at the beach for the soul of Beats by Dre to begin. Iovine stated, “I was walking down the beach one day and I ran into Andre Young, Dr. Dre. He just said to me, ‘Yo, my lawyer wants me to sell sneakers, what do you think?’ I said, ‘Dre, nobody in the world cares about how you dress or will care about your sneakers. What you should sell is speakers.’”

Ten years later, Iovine and Dre had spearheaded a company controlling over 50 percent of the market for premium headphones. Growing under the platform of a fantastic marketing campaign, Beats by Dre would also gradually become the go-to headphones for athletes and musicians alike. Of course, having Dr. Dre as the bannerman for the brand was crucial. He was influential in attracting various athletes and musicians to their commercials. The Defiant Ones, a four-part documentary series, focuses on the partnership and growth between Iovine and Dre while creating Beats by Dre. In May 2014, Apple purchased Beats by Dre for a staggering $3.2 billion. It was the most expensive acquisition Apple had ever made.

Dr. Dre Co-Produced Straight Outta Compton

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Dr. Dre also sports a strong resume in the film and television arenas. In 2015, he co-produced Straight Outta Compton with Ice Cube, a film depicting N.W.A’s rise and fall. A tragic film depicting the unhealthy realities of street life, Straight Outta Compton would gross over $200 million worldwide. It wouldn’t be the first time that Dre would attempt to depict the harshness of his upbringing through film. In 2016, he began working on an Apple Music series titled Vital Signs. However, the series was shelved due to excessive depictions of cocaine use, gun violence, and an explicit sex scene.

Dr. Dre’s cultural influence beyond music even surpasses solely the business world. Beyond his larger-than-life persona, Dre and Iovine donated $70 million to the University of Southern California. The purpose of the donation was to fund a new generation of talent for the growing music technology business. They funded a four-year program that blends liberal arts, graphic and product design, business, and technology.

Dr. Dre’s Business Acumen Matches Jay-Z & Diddy

LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 21: Sean Combs and Dr. Dre attend the Los Angeles Premiere of “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” at the Writers Guild of America, West on June 21, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images)

Over the past decade, it’s become a norm rather than an exception for rappers to diversify their portfolio beyond sound. Childish Gambino starred in the hit show Atlanta as Earn. Nicki Minaj has had various successful voiceover roles in Ice Age: The Continental Drift and The Angry Birds Movie 2. Dr. Dre’s success outside of the music world has rappers realizing they can leverage their fame as an entry into other career paths.

At age 58, Dr. Dre reportedly now sports a net worth of $500 million. He sits at the table with fellow hip-hop business tycoons such as Jay-Z, Diddy, and Snoop Dogg. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Chronic, Dr. Dre is releasing The Chronic Masters collection – a slow-burn series of limited-edition releases honoring the timeless classic. Released under the monger of Interscope Records, Dr. Dre’s legacy will remain legendary for decades.

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