Dr. Dre Names The 8 Artists He Would Most Like To Work With

Throughout his career, Dr. Dre has worked with some of the music greats that came before him. Dre made important music with George Clinton, The Dramatics, and Rick James, to name a few. However, the producer/artist known for his reclusive nature and hard-to-reach status, has also been selective about some collaborators.

Speaking on Kevin Hart’s Hart To Heart show’s latest episode, Dre reveals turning down some legends. “If there could be a drop project or a dream opportunity—’the reunion of’ or ‘collaboration between all the artists that I have had the privilege to work with’…” begins Kevin near the 34:00 part of the episode. “Dead or alive?” interrupts Dre. “I mean, damn. Wow. I’m gonna say both—if you combine it,” responds the host. “If you could pick your dream work project. ‘My dream work project attached to music, and this right here—oh my God, if I had the opportunity to do, what would that be for you?”

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“Man, you should’ve started this mothaf__kin’ interview with that one,” begins a thoughtful Dre. “It’s gonna sound really weird. Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Freddie Mercury—yeah, I can go on: Barry White, Isaac Hayes, Led Zeppelin. So, those are most of my heroes. This is a really f__kin’ crazy story: Stevie Wonder… there’s a couple of times in my career where I f__kin’ bowed out, and just…” says Dre.

Kevin chimes in, “I was gonna ask that next: who did you have the opportunity to work with, and you was like, ‘Nah, I didn’t,’ that you regret? That you should’ve worked with? But [I am sorry I] threw your story off.” Dre responds, “Nah, that’s a good segue. Um, Prince, Michael Jackson.” Hart, moving forward in his chair, asks, “You bowed out from workin’ with ’em? Both of ’em!?” Dre confirms on both counts.

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“Was it like a demo tape or something?” Kevin continues. “Nah, they just asked me to work with ’em, and I just [was like], ‘What the f__k am I gonna do with them?'” “What!?” exclaims Hart. “Yeah, that happened,” confirms Dre. He doubles down. “What the f__k am I gonna do in the studio with them? Those are my f__kin’ heroes, man!” Kevin Hart replies, “You’re Dr. Dre! You’re Dr.-f__king-Dre, what do you mean?”

Then Dre shares another. “Most recently, Stevie Wonder. So I’m workin’ on an album with Marsha Ambrosius, right? She’s amazing. We did a song using Stevie Wonder’s music, and he had to clear it. And he called me up, ‘Yo, Dre.’ For some reason, Stevie Wonder calls you like super early in the morning—like six, seven in the mornin’ or somethin’. Like, just ’cause you can’t see the time,” jokes Dre, with Kevin laughing along. Dre also imitates the Motown legend. “True story, [he was like], ‘I don’t like the lyrics. I don’t like the lyrics, Dre.’ Okay, we went in and changed the lyrics.” Kevin Hart continues to laugh at Dre’s joke. The N.W.A. legend gets in another one. “What the f__k is the difference? Like 5am or 5pm, for Stevie? So this s__t happened.”

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Kevin asks more about the call. Dre says Stevie called again after he and the former Floetry star made the changes. “He called me back like, ‘Okay, Dre. Now I like the lyrics. Why don’t we work together and just write a song together?’ [I was like], ‘Yeah. Alright. Alright, Stevie,’ and uh, yeah, I didn’t show up. What the f__k am I gonna do in the studio with Stevie Wonder? Huh? Touch the drums? No. Touch the keyboard? No. What the f__k? Nah. I went that way.”

Notably, Steve Wonder guested on Busta Rhymes’ lone Aftermath Entertainment album. The singer guested on “Been Through The Storm,” co-produced by Dr. Dre, Sha Money XL, Black Jeruz, on the 2006 LP.

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Kevin Hart goes back to Michael Jackson, imitating the King Of Pop. “Imagine me and Michael Jackson,” Dre says after Hart mimics such a session. “Nah, I didn’t like that [idea],” Dre says of producing such a legend. “‘We’re gonna need that second harmony one more time.’ Imagine that s__t. Nah.” Dre settles in on a place of respect. “These mothaf__kas are my heroes.” He does add, “I’m curious. I’m definitely curious.” He later adds, “My entire life and career has been dealing with and working with new artists. That’s what I like. Nobody comes in with an agenda. These mothaf__kas show up on time, everything. It’s a ball of clay when they walk into the room. Just form it and do what you want—that’s what I want. Everybody else, especially my heroes, they’re comin’ in, and there’s a set plan as to how the s__t should sound. I can’t explore.”

Dre admits that it may seem like an excuse, but it is his preference. “I like the idea of what I grew up listening to, and I want to keep it like that. And I don’t want to f__k up that idea, and that look. I like the way that I feel about Stevie, Prince, Michael, [Bruce] Springsteen, and all of these amazing artists, and I don’t want to change it by working with them. I don’t now. I don’t need that on my resume.”

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Elsewhere in the episode, Dr. Dre describes disliking the term “Gangsta Rap,” creating N.W.A., and walking away from millions. Hart To Heart is available on Peacock.

#BonusBeat: The official Ambrosia For Heads playlist currently features J. Cole rapping to some vintage Dr. Dre production as well as a recent What’s The Headline podcast interview with Dre’s longtime collaborator The D.O.C.: