Andrew Romelle Young was born on February 18, 1965 in Compton, California. Young’s father was a member of a R&B singing group, The Romells. The parents divorced in 1972. His mother remarried and had three children. She would marry again after Young started junior high. One of the children from the third union would be Warren Griffin III. Not necessarily an “A” student, Young focused less on school and more on a social life.
In the mid-1980s, Young met aspiring rapper Antoine Carraby. A fascination with hip-hop inspired Young to become a DJ. He took the stage name Dr. J, after basketball legend Julius Erving, before deciding he liked Dr. Dre better. As a member of the World Class Wreckin’ Cru, he became part of the electro-hop scene. He soon teamed with Carraby, who by now went by DJ Yella. They became a duo, working in radio.
In 1986, Dre met Ice Cube. They collaborated on songs for a record label run by rapper and entrepreneur Eazy-E. Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy and a fourth rapper, MC Ren, joined forces to form racially and politically charged West Coast rap group NWA. Their first album, Straight Outta Compton, was a huge success. After a dispute with Eazy, Dre left NWA. He teamed with his bodyguard, Suge Knight, becoming an artist on Knight’s Death Row label. This led to a phenomenal string of successes for Dre, including the discovery of Snoop Dogg. Dre would end up guiding the career of his stepbrother Warren, now Warren G.
Though he was resistant, preferring to produce from the background, Dre crafted two classic albums, The Chronic and 2001. Breaking away from Death Row, he started his label, Aftermath Entertainment, going on to launch the careers of 50 Cent and Eminem.
Dre is a Grammy winner and has branched out professionally. He spearheaded Beats by Dr. Dre, a line of headphones. He’s also teamed with Jimmy Iovine for a series of ventures, including developing scholarships for college hopefuls.
Dre fathered a child when he was 16, whom he didn’t meet until the boy was almost 20. His son went on to become the rapper Hood Surgeon. The rapper and producer has a reported net worth of $360 million.