Dr. Dre Says Straight Outta Compton Will Clarify N.W.A.’s Perceived Misogyny (Video)
Among N.W.A.’s legendary tracks are “Just Don’t Bite It,” “Findum, Fuckum & Flee,” and the interlude, “To Kill A Hooker.” Nearly 25 years after the group famously disbanded, Dr. Dre says that the perceived misogyny behind the lyrics and music by himself, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, MC Ren, and DJ Yella needs clarification.
Appearing on Big Boy’s Neighborhood this morning (March 26), Dr. Dre gave a rare interview, on the 20th anniversary of Eazy-E’s death. Looking ahead to Straight Outta Compton, N.W.A.’s biopic, the now-husband and father said,”We really wanted to get across how we feel about women. There’s a big misconception [as far as] how we respect our women. These were some of the things we wanted to get across.”
Notably, this comment comes just days after Dre’s former fiance, and mother of his son, spoke out on rival radio show, The Breakfast Club about Dr. Dre’s history of physical abuse against her. With a settled case in the early 1990s (with victim Dee Barnes), during Dre’s years with N.W.A., this is the second public accusation that Dre attacked a woman. In Michel’le’s case (who later married Dre’s former business/label partner Marion “Suge” Knight), the Compton, California mogul allegedly broke her nose and gave her five black eyes over the course of their seven-year relationship. During this interview, speaking about recording “Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang,” (which began with a Boz Scoggs, not a Leon Haywood sample), Dre alludes to recording the first Chronic sessions at his home—Heads know this was due to the fact that Dr. Dre was on house arrest for the aforementioned Dee Barnes incident.
“We want to show the heart of the [members], and everything we went through for the creation of [Straight Outta Compton, the album] and everything we went through before the demise of the group.” Dre said that he was on the set everyday, providing approval to the script and F. Gary Gray’s direction. Dre admits, “I was just nervous about putting a blemish on our legacy; the story had to be told.” Dre adds that F. Gary Gray’s involvement calmed his concerns to move forward with the film.
Dre is tight on specifics, but does offer that the film covers 1986-1996. Notably, 1987 saw the release of N.W.A. & The Posse, the Macola Records release that’s often forgotten in the N.W.A. legacy, but included “Boyz-N-The-Hood” and the first mix of “Dopeman.” 1996 would be the year Dre launched Aftermath Entertainment, following his post-N.W.A. five-year tenure as President of Death Row Records.
Dre admits, near the 4:30 mark, that Jason Mitchell’s portrayal of Eazy-E is so authentic, that is caused emotional reactions from the doctor at points during filming.
In this interview (now extended to full 16-minute segment), Dre explains that he spent his 50th birthday on a yacht in the Caribbean.
Moving into music…
When it comes to Hip-Hop soundtracks, is anybody more skilled than Dr. Dre? During Dre’s tenure at Death Row Records, he was at the helm for two multi-platinum film companions, both in 1994. Above The Rim (celebrating its 21st anniversary this week) featured Wu-Tang Clan, Al B. Sure, and Thug Life, along with hits like Warren G & Nate Dogg’s “Regulate” and The Lady Of Rage’s (Dre-produced) “Afro Puffs.” Just months later, Dre followed with Murder Was The Case, a film he co-directed, with a soundtrack including DJ Quik, Jodeci, and Dre’s reunion with Ice Cube, “Natural Born Killaz,” his “U Better Recognize” assist for protege Sam Sneed, and a fresh mix on the 1993 title track for Snoop Doggy Dogg. Seven years later, with his own Aftermath Entertainment, Dre unleashed The Wash soundtrack, complete with appearances by Xzibit, Busta Rhymes, Bubba Sparxxx, and D12.
From Deep Cover to Friday to Bulworth, Dre seems to know how to supply the big screen with his booming sound. So with arguably the most important film of his career (Straight Outta Compton) coming, what is he gon’ do?
“I’m workin’ on somethin’ right now,” Dre told Big Boy. “I don’t want to say that I’m definitely gonna put [the soundtrack] out, but I’m really feelin’ what I’m workin’ on right now,” teased the super-producer. “This would be a record that’s inspired by the movie, feel me?”
Also in the extended Big Boy interview, the pair of old friends discuss Eazy-E on the 20th anniversary of his death. Dre reveals speaking with his former partner-turned-foe in early 1995, presumably around the time Dre was working on “Keep Their Heads Ringin'” and mixing Dogg Food. He says the old pals put aside differences, reminisced and even discussed N.W.A. reunion plans. Dre reveals visiting an unresponsive Eazy-E on life-support just days before he ultimately passed.
With Eric in mind, Dre re-tells the N.W.A. meeting story. Admitting that the now-billionaire was once cash-strapped in 1986, he recalls talking to Eazy-E about creating a situation that would allow he and Yella to leave World Class Wreckin’ Cru, and produce passion projects. As fate would have it, that turned into N.W.A. & The Posse, and Eric Wright’s rapping debut, “Boyz-N-The-Hood.” “It took me a couple hours to talk him into it,” remembers Dre, who adds that every bar in the 1987 independent record was “punched-in,” or recorded individually. New at rapping, few MCs make immediate impact like the Compton kid.
Throughout the 16-minutes, Dre also drops anecdotes about making “The Next Episode,” “Hi, My Name Is,” and even makes some rare conversation—in jest—about The Firm’s “Phone Tap.”
Big Boy may be the only media personality in 2015 who can ask Dr. Dre a specific question. Notably, this Q&A features no mention of what transpired at the set in January, which is believed to involve Dre in conflicting reports.
Some questions are in order:
Does music inspired by Straight Outta Compton give Dre license to revert back to some of his N.W.A.-era production techniques, styles, and lyrical subject matters? Would that shut up Detox naysayers?
Do you feel as though N.W.A. is misunderstood on their stance against women, in or out of the music?
Below is N.W.A.’s Adam & Eve-inspired “Appetite For Destruction” video. As a warning, it features nudity and strong themes: