N.W.A. & Ruthless Records Producer & Keyboardist L.A. Dre Has Passed Away
Ruthless Records affiliate L.A. Dre, who in the 1980s and ’90s worked as a producer and keyboardist on albums like N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton, Efilzaggin, The D.O.C.’s The Formula, and Eazy E’s Eazy-Duz-It (as well as on works from Above the Law, Michel’le, and more) has passed away. A longtime friend and collaborator of Too Short and one of Dr. Dre’s first right-hand men at the boards, L.A. Dre (born Andre Bolton), reportedly succumbed to complications after suffering a stroke, and died on April 3.
In speaking with HipHopDX, Too Short remembered his late friend as being a remarkable sound engineer, and shared some memories of the many years they spent on tour together. “Me and [L.A.] Dre didn’t do a lot of music together. We worked a lot together, but he was the sound guy for N.W.A on the Straight Outta Compton Tour,” he says. “He was the sound guy on that tour and I was the guy that went on before N.W.A. We all met on that tour. That’s the first time me, Eazy and Ice Cube all hung out and really bonded.” He goes on to recount how their eventual partnership came about, saying ” Later, after he moved to Atlanta, he wasn’t a sound guy on tour with N.W.A anymore, so I started taking him on the road with me and did my tour for about 10 years.” Additionally, Dre worked on Short’s Cocktails, Gettin’ It albums, and with The Dangerous Crew following his Ruthless tenure.
Short and Dre had plans to open up a Los Angeles-based recording studio, when Dre suffered his stroke. Too Short says “it was a real big deal. It kind of hit me hard because he’s the one guy who has a lot of knowledge about everything in the building, and he had a hand in hooking everything up. He knew how to wire the studio.” Especially hard-hitting was that the two were apparently FaceTiming just prior to Dre taking his final breath, from his hospital bed where his wife stood by his side. “He spent some time with his wife and right before he passed, she said that he told her to lean over and he was rubbing on her face. He kept saying, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you,’ then he told her to kiss him and as soon as she kissed him, he grabbed his chest and took his last breath. I never heard of anyone dying like that and I think it was just the greatest thing.”
Short hopes what people remember the most about Dre’s passing is that the celebrated contributor to the distinctive West Coast sound in Rap music died peacefully. “It caught all of us off guard. His wife had been the only one there when he passed and I guess when the family came to the hospital, they were looking at the body and were like, ‘Why is he smiling?’ He died with a smile on his face.”
#BonusBeat: The D.O.C.’s 1989 debut, No One Can Do It Better, which L.A. Dre worked extensively on:
This album has been certified platinum.