Coming to Blu-ray from HBO is the four-part series tells the story of music and a pairing of minds that come straight from “The Defiant Ones.”
Dr. Dre begins by telling the story of his early years in Compton and being raised by his mother and what was going on around him. In his teen years, he danced as part of The Freak Patrol but Mom wanted him to do something more with his life. When he saw a local DJ scratchin’ he knew that it was something he wanted to be a part of.
Playing in Eazy-E’s backyard, he found a nitch making tapes for others. In 1984 Dr. Dre became part of the DJ group called the Wrecking Crew working at the club Eve After Dark. Mixing ’60s songs with a new beat, people were taken by what they were hearing.
The time came, however, when Dr. Dre knew it was time for something different and he partnered with Eazy-E to create Ruthless Records. Westcoast Hip-Hop was almost non-existent and the chance came for Eazy-E and Dre to create Boyz in the Hood. A group formed with Ice Cube, McRen, DJ Yella that would become N.W.A.
As their album is in production, Eazy-E asks that he stop what they are doing to take on the girl group JJ Fad and Supersonic. After run-ins with the police, Ice Cube wrote and they recorded “F**k the Police,” and Dre knew it was dangerous. The violence comes home when Dre has a death in the family.
Ruthless Records is making music and doing videos but the group deals with more disasters when a member has a devastating car accident. Shug Knight comes into the picture when Ice Cube lets Dre know that there is something wrong with the business and then walks away. The group becomes even more divided when Eazy-E and Dre can’t agree on how to go forward.
N.W.A.’s next album is practically banned everywhere from MTV to radio airwaves. Dre is floundering thinking of what he will do next when he hooks up with Suge Knight. The hookup between Dre and Snoop Dogg is another monumental team up of genius and the album “The Chronic” is made. In New York, the two men took it upon themselves to get their work out.
James Iovine was born in Brooklyn to a hard-working Italian-American family. His love of music turned to being part of a band. College at 19 his parents didn’t want him to go to war so he attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice. It was music that drove him and job after job would take him to Roy Cicala who took Jimmy under his wing. One Easter Sunday he was called into work and covering for an engineer he would work with John Lennon – it was 1973.
In 1975, Jimmy would work with the legendary Bruce Springsteen and he moved on to the group Foghat. That would send him back to the studios and there he met Patti Smith who wanted him to produce her music.
Jimmy now finds himself in Los Angeles working with Tom Petty and after hearing “Break Down” and “Refugee,” he was floored. Eight more songs later an album came together and “Backstreet” was a hit. Next, he was working with Stevie Nicks and her first solo album was created. “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” brought Petty and Nicks together for a smash single hit!
Jimmy and Stevie parted ways and he moved on to Bob Seiger and Dire Straits and the executives kept him away from other artists. He meets Vicki McCarty and she introduces him to Bono of U2, different yet there is something that clicks between them. Another meshing of creativity takes place.
He is also dealing with deaths in his own family, he starts to become part of the music business rather than create as he had done in the past. He does work with U2 on their “Rattle and Hum” album (which is one of my favorites) but makes a decision that he is done.
Wanting to spend more time at home so Jimmy meets up with investors to create Interscope Records. Signing the singing of Rico Suave, they also got Primus, Four Non-Blondes, Mark Wahlberg and a little group known as No Doubt. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails wasn’t happy with his record deal and Jimmy saw something outstanding in the group.
Now that you know the players – it was inevitable that Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine would come together. Lawsuits disappeared and radio play is bought just as Jimmy promised with Dre and Snoop on the cover of Rolling Stones. Death Row Records and the gang are with Interscope Records and success is theirs.
With success comes trip-ups and lead feet as moments with the law pop up. That sometimes happens when success isn’t explained. It becomes a job to keep up with Marilyn Manson, Tupak Shakur as well as Snoop when it comes to dealing with the law and the outcry of society at large.
If that wasn’t enough, a storm was brewing between Death Row Records and Bad Boy Records that became the East vs. West Coast rumble. Once Tupac is released from his prison, he hit the studio and the group started to crack. So much so that Jimmy and other executives are starting to feel in danger.
In Las Vegas, it would come to a head as a fight happens and shots ring out. Tupak Shakur is killed on the streets with no one in custody and Shug also finds himself in trouble with the law. Now others begin to understand why Dr. Dre walked away and decided to start over on his own terms.
Starting Aftermath Records and a family, Dre is now in charge. Enter Marshall Mather also known as Eminem and once again there is magic in the studio. Followed by Fifty Cent, The Chronic 2001 and the Black Eyed Peas kept pushing Interscope talent skyward.
Their next crisis came in the form of the internet and the downloading of music and trading it for free. Instead of panicking, Jimmy found a way to make it work toward their musical advantage. In the midst of this, these two men and their perfection also have to deal with how that affects the families they have created. It doesn’t stop Dre and Jimmy from creating the next big idea that came to be known as Beats headphones, speakers and accessing their music.
Now, these two men find a way to give back to the communities that they sprang from. The place in their lives now has come from the challenges and lessons that have given them the title of “The Defiant Ones.”
This is truly an amazing look at two men who have made an impact in the music industry. Understanding their history and what drove them to follow the music and listen for the unique and creative talent is what “The Defiant Ones” is all about.
This is a four and a half hour history lesson of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine told by those who lived it with them including Snoop Dogg, Bruce Springsteen, Gwen Stefani, Bono, David Geffen, Eminem, Nas, Stevie Nicks, Kendrick Lamar, Ice Cube, Jon Landau, Patti Smith, Lady Gaga, Doug Morris, Trent Reznor, Diddy, Alonzo Williams, Will.I.Am and Tom Petty.
Four decades of two men who refused to be defined or labeled into a category, “The Defiant Ones” doesn’t hold back in any way. Every bit of the good, bad, ugly and crazy is told from both Dre and Jimmy including things in their life that can’t be changed but can be acknowledged.
Do not hesitate to experience this amazing four-part series as HBO brings “The Defiant Ones” to Blu-ray and DVD and available on Digital now.
In the end – it was an unlikely pairing that is now iconic!