Below is an excerpt of an article that originally appeared in RS 461 from September 30, 1993. This issue and the rest of the Rolling Stone archives are available via Rolling Stone Plus, Rolling Stone's premium subscription plan. If you are already a subscriber, you can click here to see the full story. Not a member? Click here to learn more about Rolling Stone Plus.
Leimert Park is the intellectual center of African American life in Los Angeles — jazz clubs, coffeehouses, bookstores, art galleries, a theater in a fine old movie palace, the restaurants that draw people from all over town. Neatly suited Muslims stand on the street corners, offering newsletters and bean pies for sale. Reggae blasts from the record shops. Hip-hop blasts from the cars.
Here, in an Ozzie and Harriet-like Leimert Park neighborhood just a few blocks from the swank black-owned mansions of Windsor Hills, rap star Dr. Dre, wearing a black Ben Davis shirt, baggy pants and a marijuana-leaf baseball cap that advertises his best-selling album The Chronic, shrugs himself into the driver's seat of a black '64 Chevrolet Impala convertible and reaches under the dash. Suddenly, the parked car leans sharply to one side, the right body panel striking the asphalt with a violent thunk. Just as abruptly, it rights itself, and the front end of the car begins to hop up and down, just as you've seen it do a thousand times on MTV. Dre glances back at his entourage with the classic "Look, no hands" smirk of a guy who has always been Mom's favorite, and the Impala rears like a spooked stallion.
A tall man wearing a black Dodgers cap snorts and shakes his head. "Damn," he says. "Nigga can't get enough of that shit."
Dr. Dre — the ex-N.W.A member whose Chronic LP, eight months in the Billboard Top 10, is already the most popular hardcore rap album in history (2 million and counting), with a huge crossover audience — is directing, producing and starring in his third video for The Chronic, which will see him through his extensive fall tour. He also produced, performed and co-wrote the song "Let Me Ride," on which this video is based. However you look at it, Dre is carrying a lot of hyphens today.
A full-on film crew, the kind you'd expect to see doing second-unit work on Terminator III or something, follows his every move with a giant camera crane and a phalanx of big lights. Dre finishes the take, springs out of the car and wanders over to the truck for a video playback of the scene. He peers in the direction of Interscope Records co-head Jimmy Iovine, who smiles and waves. Dre is apparently in control, and Iovine is pleased.
"There aren't three people like him in the music business," Iovine says, stabbing the air with his fore-finger. "He can rap, he can produce ... and he can direct a video with humor. Do you know how hard that is? Famous movie directors can't do that."