André Romelle Young took on the nickname Dr. Dre in the early 1980s, working as a hip hop DJ and with the electro-funk group World Class Wreckin’ Cru before joining NWA with Eazy-E and Ice Cube in 1986. NWA, D continued to produce and pursue his solo career, releasing his debut album, The Chroniclein 1992, and a series of collaborative projects spanning 30 years.
Pioneering his “G-funk” style of heart-pounding tempos and ’70s funk sampling production, Dre began collaborating with more artists throughout the 1990s, including emerging rapper Snoop Dogg, who co-wrote a majority of The Chronicle, including “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” and “Let Me Ride”. Dre would reciprocate by co-writing several tracks and producing Snoop’s 1992 debut album, doggy style.
For over three decades, Dre has written and produced music for 2Pac (Tupac Shakur), Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, TI and Eminem, among others. He helped launch Eminem’s career after signing him to his label, Aftermath Records, in 1998, producing his breakthrough The Slim Shady Album in 1999 and co-wrote several songs, including the hit “My Name Is”. Dre also partially co-wrote and co-produced the Eminem sequel, The Marshall Mathers Album; the two have gone on to collaborate on most of Eminem’s albums since, including his 11th release music to be murdered in 2020; Eminem also co-wrote several tracks on Dre’s 1999 album, 2001.
Pulled from a catalog full of collaborations, here are five songs, some just outside the realm of hip hop, that Dr. Dre has written for other artists.
1. “No More Lies”, Michel’le (1989)
Written by Dr. Dre, Michel’le Denise Toussant and L. Goodman
Pre-Chronicand still during the NWA era, Dre co-wrote the majority of the tracks and co-produced girlfriend Michel’le’s (Michel’le Denise Toussant) self-titled debut album in 1989. “No More Lies” was the lead in line. from the album and propelled Michel’le into the top 10.
You say you love me
And I think it’s true
But every night my girl tells me
i should watch you
Now I say I trust you
But I want you to know
I’m not a sucker;
Relax, your nose is getting bigger, Pinocchio
2. “Bag Lady”, Erykah Badu (2000)
Written by Dr. Dre and Erykah Badu
The first single from R&B singer Erykah Badu’s second album, mom’s gun, “Bag Lady” tells the story of a woman trying to release the emotional “baggage” of a past relationship. “Bag Lady” peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for seven weeks.
Lady of the bag, you hurt your back
Dragging all these bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you need to remember
It’s you, it’s you, it’s you
3. “Let Me Blow Ya Mind”, Eve, with Gwen Stefani (2001)
Written by Dr. Dre, Eve, Mike Elizondo, Scott Storch and Steven Jordan
Dre wrote two tracks for Eve’s second album, Scorpio, “It Is What It Is” and the hit single “Let Me Blow Your Mind”, which ended up blowing up the charts. The track, featuring Gwen Stefani, scored Eve’s first No. 1 and won the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Rap/Singing Collaboration. The song is a call to anyone who has ever doubted Eve’s potential for success.
If I had to give you more, it’s only been a year
Now I got my foot through the door, and I’m not going anywhere
Took a while to get me here, and I’ll take my time
Don’t fight that good shit in your ear, now let me blow your head
4. “Family Affair”, Mary J. Blige (2001)
Written by Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, her brother Bruce Miller, Camara Kambon and Michael Elizondo
Dre co-wrote just one — and the most successful — track on Mary J. Blige’s fifth album, No More Drama. Named the 12th greatest song of the 2000s, “Family Affair” soared to the top spot where it stayed for weeks and was Blige’s first and only (to date) No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart. The song was produced entirely by Dre, who originally created the musical component of “Family Affair” using bass and keyboard. As they were recording vocals, Dre suggested Blige add a bridge to the song, which she wrote. The pair teamed up again, co-writing “Not Today,” with Eve (who is also credited as co-writer), from Blige’s sixth album, Love life.
Come on, everyone get up
‘Cause you know we gotta crack it
Mary J. is on site tonight
And I’ll make it feel good (make it feel good)
Come on baby, just party with me
Let go and free your body (oh)
Leave your situations at the door
So when you walk in, jump down
Let’s go (Let’s go)
Have fun in this dance
We opened you up, now you’re floating
So you gotta dance for me (you gotta dance for me)
I don’t need hate
Holleration in this dance (holler, holler, holler)
Let’s get it percolating, while you wait
So dance just for me
5. “New Day”, Alicia Keys (2012)
Written by Dr. Dre, Alicia Keys, Kasseem Dean, Trevor Lawrence, Jr., Andre Brissett, Amber Streeter
“New Day” had a bit of a lyrical twist before landing on Alicia Keys’ fifth album, Girl On Fire. Originally the song was first recorded by 50 Centwith vocals from Keys, for his 2012 album, Immortal Street King, which was later discontinued. Produced by Keys’ husband Swizz Beatz and Dre, Keys reworked some of the lyrics and recorded the song herself, singing along to its rat-a-tat beats.
It’s your right to feel what you want
There’s no limit, no
If you love your life, let me see your hands up once
We’ll celebrate mine, cause I won’t have any more
So we can do this all night, one time
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