Yo! MTV Raps Host Doctor Dré Calls Straight Outta Compton “Straight Outta Fiction” (Audio)
Hip-Hop is big enough to have some artists with multiple names. Notably, Mobb Deep and South Central Cartel were each compromised of duos Prodigy and Havoc (or “Prodeje” in S.C.C.’s case). There have been two Guru’s, a couple Jay Dee’s, and several Mike D’s. Perhaps no tandem is more famous than Dr. Dre and Doctor Dré.
The former, Andre Young, co-founded the World Class Wreckin’ Crew, N.W.A., Death Row Records, and his own Aftermath Entertainment. Now creeping down billionaire status (thanks to his Beats Electronics sale to Apple), the Compton, California native is a household name. In the late 1980s, Doctor Dré (aka Andre Brown) was making music and television at the same time. Dré, through his group Original Concept, was part of the early Def Jam Records roster. An early DJ for Beastie Boys, Brown would work closely with Public Enemy, Rick Rubin, and others. In time, he would meet Yo! MTV Raps co-host Ed Lover at an audition at the network. There, the duo hosted the flagship Hip-Hop TV show through its (and some of the genre’s) glory years. In the process, Dré and Ed made 1993 theatrical film Who’s The Man?.
In 2017, Doctor Dré reveals that he is not pleased with their portrayal (or lack thereof) in 2015 blockbuster Straight Outta Compton. The film was co-produced by Dr. Dre, and chronicled his and his band-mates’ rise through N.W.A. Andre Brown feels that he and Ed Lover played a critical hand in the group’s history which was not represented, and uses this opportunity to set the record straight that’s confused Hip-Hop name-watchers for years.
“It kind of was an insult to me when I went to see this movie recently. It was called Straight Outta Compton, which I call ‘Straight Outta Fiction;’ they act like [Ed Lover & Doctor Dré] didn’t exist. How can that be? ‘Cause if it wasn’t for me, [there would not have been an AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted by Ice Cube]. That’s number one,” says Andre Brown at the 1:20:00 mark. He also reminds listeners that he was a critical gatekeeper in the success of the Ruthless Records act that was shunned from most mainstream media in their day. Later on, he details his extensive role in helping Ice Cube go solo without N.W.A.’s Dr. Dre and DJ Yella as his producers. “Number two, when we sat in that [MTV] meeting and they said, ‘Hey Dré, there’s this other guy that calls himself ‘Dr. Dre,’ should we play this video?’ If [I] say no, it’s no. I said, ‘No, don’t do that. I knew of this guy; I know [of] him when he was in World Class Wreckin’ Crew [and later], and I even had a lil’ correspondence with him, back and forth. [I said], ‘Play it.’ That video was called ‘Express Yourself.’ How funny is that?” Doctor Dré indicates that he opted to let the art shine instead of being petty.
Setaro asks Dré about his knowledge of the Compton, California fellow DJ/producer of the same name with different spelling. “I knew of him when I was recording Original Concept’s [Straight From The Basement of Kooley High]. The irony of it is the guy who actually did a lot of the work with him on The Chronic album grew up in Westbury, Long Island. His name is Greg Royal. If you look on the back of The Chronic album, his name is all over it.”
The Strong Island native continues, “I applauded for what they did [and] for how they did what they did. But, I take my son to see your movie to applaud your story. I did not ask [for much]. I [simply ask you] give credit to the show that made you who you were. It wasn’t a radio show, it was Yo! MTV Raps. It should have played more prominently in the movie when you’re gonna tell the story of your life and how things happened.” Doctor Dré reveals that he was present for one of the film’s climactic moments, albeit not portrayed. “The scene when they’re in Detroit and they get rushed off the stage, I was on stage with Ed when the cops did what they did because [N.W.A.] decided to [perform ‘Fuck Tha Police’] and were told and warned not to do it.” “They ran back to the hotel ’cause the cops came after them. And I got stuck, ’cause they thought I was Dre. It’s funny, the same thing recently happened to me on my Facebook page with Surviving Compton and Michel’le telling her story. [People told me], ‘I can’t believe you beat up Michel’le.'” He reveals that he has in fact a nice relationship with the former fiancee of Dr. Dre, who recently made her own Lifetime biopic.
Moments later, Doctor Dré details his contributions to Cube’s 1990 solo debut. Many consider the Priority Records LP a classic. “Ice Cube came to the the set of Yo! MTV Raps. [He] said, ‘Hey man, could you get in contact with Chuck [D] for me, because I’m leaving the group. I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘Because I’m not gettin’ paid…’ I said, ‘Okay dude, here’s my number. Give me a call and let me reach out.’ I reached out to them and they said cool. I picked up [Ice Cube] and his fiance at the time…now his wife, [they] got into my Jeep, with Keith Shocklee, and I drove them back to 510 South Franklin where [Public Enemy] was, where it began, where The Bomb Squad was. So when you make this movie and put this image up, and start tellin’ things, I ain’t ask you to entitle me to your success. Not at all. I’m very proud of what you’ve done.”
Even within MTV circles, Doctor Dré says he and Ed Lover gave N.W.A. tremendous support as friends. “Yeah, [fellow Yo! MTV Raps host] Fab 5 Freddy was the one who went on the road with you, but everybody came to Dré and Ed ’cause everybody watched Dré and Ed for five days! We went out there and shot that pool party where y’all had the girls runnin’ naked; I have those tapes. That was us! You were on Yo! MTV Raps daily, more times than you were on Fab’s show! You was on Fab’s show one time. We was out there, ’cause we were back and forth to L.A. When we’d go to L.A., ‘Yo Dré, come hang out with us! Come on, let’s do this!’ No problem, we’ll shoot it.”
He speaks directly to the men he believes he helped, in saying, “But you make a movie and act like I don’t exist? So when you ask me what I think about him, I don’t think anything about him. Congratulations, God bless is all I can say.” Doctor Dré adds that the next time he sees Ice Cube, it is nothing but love. However, the Rap media juggernaut wants his frustrations heard.
Elsewhere in the extensive conversation at The Cipher, Doctor Dré recalls Yo! MTV Raps’ first guest in his tenure (singer-songwriter Carol King). He recalls an embarrassing Beastie Boys tour moment, and Russell Simmons’ throwing Public Enemy’s demo tape out the window of his office when Brown first presented it.
#BonusBeat: The aforementioned N.W.A. Yo! MTV Raps segment:
This bumper features both Ed Lover and Doctor Dré (as well as Eazy-E, MC Ren, DJ Yella, and Dr. Dre).