Dr. Dre recently sat down with L.A. radio DJ Big Boy for a wide-ranging chat, discussing everything from his beginnings in N.W.A to producing Eminem. He spoke at length his involvement in the upcoming N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton. “We want to show the heart of the guys and everything we went through…before the demise of the group,” Dre said. Over the course of 16 info-packed minutes, Dre shared stories about recording Snoop Dogg in a jail cell and opened up about how he made things right with Eazy-E days before the rapper’s death. Here are the most eye-opening parts of the conversation.
1. He was worried about the Straight Outta Compton movie to begin with.
“I was just nervous about putting a blemish on our legacy. The story had to be told right. And it’s incredible, man. I’m really excited about it. We had our ups and downs with the filming process, but now the edit is almost done. We’re working on music and what have you, and I think everybody’s going to appreciate it, especially everybody from Los Angeles.”
2. It was Ice Cube who sold him on it.
“I didn’t even want to do the movie. Cube actually quarterbacked it. He went out and got the first draft for the script done. I read it and was like, ‘OK, we can work with this. We can turn this into something. And when [director F.] Gary Gray got on board, that was it. I was in.”
3. Seeing an actor play Eazy-E was hard.
“We wanted to be as authentic as possible. There’s this actor, Jason Mitchell, he plays Eazy and he did an incredible job. I mean, there’s a couple of times where I got a little emotional on set. When E’s in the hospital and he finds out he has the disease and what have you, his acting was that great. Goosebumps.”
4. Dre gave the actor who played him carte blanche with the character.
“Me and him [Corey Hawkins] had some conversations beforehand, we went out to dinner a couple of times, and I told him, ‘Listen man, I don’t want you to try to copy my mannerisms or the way I speak, I just want you to embody the character and turn it into what you feel it is, and I’ll let you know if you’re doing something wrong.’ That made him feel a little more comfortable about approaching it.”
5. He wants Straight Outta Compton to correct people’s perceptions of how N.W.A treated women.
“We really wanted to get across, one of the things, was how we feel about women because there’s a big misconception, how much we respect our women.
6. Dre is working on a soundtrack for the movie – but he might not release it.
“I’m working on something right now. I don’t want to put it out there just yet and say that I’m definitely gonna put it out. But I’m really feeling what I’m working on right now. This would be a record that’s inspired by the movie.”
7. Dre spent a lot of time convincing Eazy-E to be a rapper to begin with.
“It took me a couple of hours to get him on the mic and just trying it. He did it one line at a time.”
8. He made amends with Eazy-E prior to the rapper’s death.
“I was so fortunate to be able to get on the phone with him and talk about maybe putting N.W.A back together, and we chopped it up about old times and what have you and maybe not even two weeks after that, he was in the hospital. So the last time I actually saw him, he didn’t know I was in the room. He was on life support. I just reached down and whispered a few words in his ear and I think maybe the next day or two he passed away. We had a chance to rekindle it and actually get back in the studio again.”
9. “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” was inspired by Boz Scaggs (kind of).
“The original version of ‘Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang’ was made to a Boz Scaggs song, I can’t remember the name of the song. But Snoop was actually in jail, and I really wanted this demo done.”
10. Dre found a creative way to record Snoop from jail.
“So he called in and I taped the receiver of the phone to the mic. You can hear jail sounds in the back and everything. He’s going, ‘1, 2,’ that whole thing. That was the original version. I just happened to be at my mom’s house, going through records, and I found this Leon Haywood, ‘I Want’a Do Something Freaky to You’ [sample] and thought that would make a better foundation track. So I took that back, recorded the track, Snoop got out and we just recorded this song at my house. It was a bedroom that I converted into a studio in my house. That’s where the first half of The Chronic came from.”
11. He had a feeling it would be a hit pretty early.
“I played it at a house party and everybody wanted me to rewind it and keep playing it. That’s when I knew it was special.”
12. Eminem keeps his lyrics secret.
“Working with him is crazy. He never lets me know what he’s gonna say until he gets on the mic. My face has been in my hands numerous amounts of times.”
13. Dre tells Eminem when he’s going too far.
“We’ve had a couple of sidebars, ‘This is pushing the envelope here.’ We can talk about it off-air.”