Dr. Dre Opens Up About Early Life and Career Milestones in LL COOL J’s “The Streets Win: 50 Years of Hip Hop Greatness”

In his new book, “The Streets Win: 50 Years of Hip Hop Greatness,” LL COOL J has assembled a stellar lineup of contributors to pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of hip hop. Among them is Dr. Dre, who shares profound insights into his formative years and career milestones.

Dr. Dre’s narrative sheds light on the pivotal moments that shaped his trajectory, underscoring the significant influence of his Auntie Elaine. He reflects on his childhood home, which was often filled with people and great music, and how he began playing records to entertain the adults before he could read. This experience allowed him to see the power of music and his own power to change the energy in the room and make people happy.

In the midst of conflicts with his mother, Auntie Elaine emerged as a crucial figure in Dre’s life. He writes, “Life with my mother was chaotic. At the point when I had found DJing and began devoting myself to my craft, she and I were in conflict. She didn’t understand what I was doing or what I needed, but my Auntie Elaine did. She was that someone special to me. I left home and went to live with my aunt during a critical moment in my musical journey. She gave me the freedom and space to spread my wings, but more than that, she believed in me.”


Dr. Dre Confesses He Considered Leaving Hip Hop Due to Financial Disputes

Dre also candidly recounts a pivotal moment in ‘90s when he contemplated leaving the hip-hop scene due to financial disputes with Eazy-E and Jerry Heller. However, he pushed through these doubts, ultimately leading to a transformative phase of his career.


He reflects, “In 1992, I had just bought a new house. Eazy-E and Jerry Heller were trying to starve me out and refused to pay the money they owed me. I was driving on the 101 freeway headed to the studio and, on that drive, I was thinking about quitting. I had been working on music for The Chronic for at least a month, and everything I was doing either sounded like what I had already done or not as good as what I had already done. I started second-guessing my ability and whether music was what I was supposed to be doing, but I pushed those doubts aside and persevered.”

Dr. Dre
Photo by Ken Weingart/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

He continued, “A week later, I started making the best music I had ever made. That moment was crucial to helping me solidify my determination to be a success. It also confirmed that I possessed everything I needed, and all I had to do was stay patient and persistent. If I had listened to that little thing that told me to quit, my entire life would be different now.”

The Streets Win: 50 Years of Hip Hop Greatness was released on Tuesday (October 3), and was co-authored by  journalist, and music photography curator Vikki Tobak and Alec Banks, the editorial director of Rock The Bells.

In addition to Dr. Dre, the book also features contributions from, Eminem, Nas, Snoop Dogg, DJ Kool Herc, MC Lyte, KRS-One, Mary J. Blige, Grandmaster Flash, Run-D.M.C., Beastie Boys, De La Soul, Slick Rick, Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, Big Daddy Kane, Fat Joe, DJ Khaled, and more.

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