Cold 187um Claims Dr. Dre Jacked His G-Funk & Names Songs To Prove It (Audio)
This week, The Defiant Ones docu-series is telling Dr. Dre’s story. Twenty-five years ago, the N.W.A. co-founder released his solo debut, The Chronic. The first album on Death Row Records is credited for galvanizing G-Funk, a type of sample-based sound in Gangsta Rap that propelled the sub-genre into the MTV/Top 40 mainstream. With that release, Dre became Hip-Hop’s most celebrated producer, renowned for his methodical creating, connection to 1970s Funk and Soul music, and ability to help signal Rap’s melodic period.
Dre’s multi-platinum debut reportedly began creation in 1991 when he was still an artist on Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records. Outside of N.W.A., Dre worked with label acts such as The D.O.C., J.J. Fad, and Above The Law. The last a Pomona, California collective was working on its third album, Black Mafia Life as Dre wrapped N.W.A.’s Efil4zaggin. Around that same time, Above The Law group leader/producer Cold 187um (aka Big Hutch) believes that he pioneered G-Funk, both as a term and a sound.
Speaking with Complex, Hutch said he was “crushed” when The Chronic released weeks ahead of Black Mafia Life, giving Dre the G-Funk credit. At N.W.A.’s “Appetite For Destruction” video shoot, Cold 187um played Dre what he was working on, then planning an EP. He says the man who mixed Livin’ Like Hustlers with him took a keen interest.
In his Complex interview, Hutch got specific about what exactly crushed him.”‘Let Me Ride’ is [Above The Law’s] ‘Pimp Clinic,’ and ‘Dre Day’ is [our] ‘Never Missing a Beat.'” Hutch continued, “And those are the records that I played for him at ‘Appetite for Destruction.’ So I know it was nothing but influence.”
In “Pimp Clinic,” just after the 2:00 mark, Cold 187um breaks into the Parliament’s live in Oakland rendition of “Swing Down, Sweet Chariot.” A.T.L. affiliate and fellow Ruthless artist Kokane is believed to be the singer recreating the 1977 vocal. The sound, as well as the lyrical themes overlap from Above The Law and Dre.
Above The Law’s “Pimp Clinic”:
Dr. Dre’s “Let Me Ride”:
At 1:40 in “Never Missing A Beat,” a new bass-line begins, very similar to “F*ck wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’).” Both songs use elements of Funkadelic’s “(Not) Just Knee Deep”:
Dr. Dre’s “F*ck wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)”:
The conversation further reveals that while it could be easy to claim he made it first, Dre’s Ruthless departure caused Black Mafia Life to delay from a 1991 release to early 1993.
Sony Records, who distributed A.T.L. albums, had allegedly brokered a deal with Eazy and Ruthless that all releases were Dr. Dre-produced. Parts of this deal were published in Ben Westhoff’s Original Gangstas text. Hutch says that’s why he erroneously shares credit with Andre on their 1990 debut. As Dre left to start Death Row (and reportedly invited Above The Law to get down), Ruthless could not fulfill their agreement on Above The Law. Hutch tells Complex that Sony ceased distributing him, Go Mack, DJ Total K-Oss, and the late K.M.G. Giant/Reprise Records, within the Warner Music family, stepped in. In February 1993, Black Mafia Life releases, but more than six weeks after Dre rolled up and lit his Chronic.
In the late 1990s, Hutch filled the musical director role at Death Row—a post made famous by Dre. He also worked with Eve at Aftermath Entertainment during her first tenure. In 2015, they reunited for “Loose Cannons” on Compton.
Back in the early ’90s, the “dear friends” (as Cold 187um states) did have a tête-à-tête. “We had a back and forth. Dre told me like this: ‘Well, if it was exclusive, then why is this and why is that?’ It was some lame thing. But we all were young. So it’s like, what is he going to say: ‘Yeah, I took it. Go f*ck yourself’? He wasn’t going to say that.”
Hutch last released The Big Hit on his own West World Records/Big Shot Music Group.