What Steve Jobs and Dr. Dre have in common

“As music mogul Jimmy Iovine and rap star Dr. Dre shopped their Beats Electronics headphone company and streaming service to Apple Inc., Mr. Iovine did most of the talking,” Hannah Karp reports for The Wall Street Journal. “But behind the scenes, Dr. Dre — whose real name is Andre Young — has quietly played an equally powerful role developing and protecting the Beats brand, eschewing market research for gut instinct at every turn. Though his main obsession is perfecting the sound of the company’s signature high-end headphones, the 49-year-old fitness-obsessed music producer weighs in decisively on everything from TV ads and font styles to the wordiness of descriptions on the Beats Music streaming service.”

“As one colleague says, Dr. Dre serves as Beats’ ‘cultural barometer’ of what is cool,” Karp reports. “But Dr. Dre’s process is mysterious, colleagues say: His assessments are usually immediate, personal and articulated sparely. He often dismisses ideas such as posing for clichéd photos in a recording studio as too ‘corny’ or ‘cheesy.’ Or he’ll wave them off with a terse ‘I’m not feeling that.'”

“Dr. Dre’s perfectionist impulse, coupled with his disregard for artificial deadlines, have meant that ‘he doesn’t put out a lot of material,’ despite being a workaholic, said Paul Rosenberg, a lawyer and manager of one of Dr. Dre’s protégés, rapper Eminem,” Karp reports. “That could portend friction at his new employer, Apple, which agreed to buy Beats for $3 billion last month. But like Dr. Dre, Apple has also boasted about not doing market research. The company’s late founder, Steve Jobs, made no secret of his belief that consumers don’t really know what they want until someone else shows it to them. Colleagues predict that at Apple Dr. Dre could also cede some decision-making power and become more accommodating.”

“Bringing a gangsta rap pioneer into the ranks of the squeaky-clean, image-obsessed tech company was a bold move for Mr. Cook, who hired Dr. Dre despite the violent, criminal subject matter and profane lyrics that define much of the rapper’s oeuvre. Just last month, before Apple announced its acquisition, Dr. Dre appeared in a YouTube video with several friends, boasting about becoming ‘the first billionaire in hip-hop, right here from the motherf— West Coast,'” Karp reports. “But Apple has never censored the music it sells on its iTunes Store, while Dr. Dre has long been known to risk everything to do what he thinks is right, colleagues say.”

Much more in the full article here.

Related articles:
How Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre and Ian Rogers could transform Apple’s tech culture – June 6, 2014
Apple insiders: Arrogant Apple managers are the reasons why iTunes Radio sucks, Ping failed, and Apple had to buy Beats – June 5, 2014
Apple’s Beats buy is two-sided for music streaming rivals – June 1, 2014
Apple paying under $500 million for Beats Music streaming service – May 30, 2014
With Beats, Apple has its next iPod – May 29, 2014
Jimmy Iovine: Apple’s new music impresario – May 29, 2014
Tim Cook: Beats acquisition a ‘killer’ deal for Apple – May 29, 2014
Did Tim Cook just pay $3 billion for his successor, Jimmy Iovine? – May 29, 2014
Steven Levy: With Beats Music service, Apple’s Tim Cook goes against the wisdom of Steve Jobs – May 29, 2014
Apple + Beats = MTV? – May 29, 2014
Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine: Steve Jobs would be extremely proud of Apple today – May 29, 2014
Jimmy Iovine brings his own brand of ‘reality distortion field’ to Apple – May 29, 2014
JPMorgan: Apple may spin-off Beats Electronics business – May 29, 2014
Apple CEO Cook: Beats deal a ‘no-brainer’ – May 28, 2014
Tim Cook’s internal memo to Apple employees regarding Beats acquisition – May 28, 2014
It’s official: Apple acquires Beats Music and Beats Electronics for $3 billion – May 28, 2014


  1. I don’t like this modern “gangsta rap” culture. I hate how it glorifies violence against women, and I personally have had men sexually harass me with vulgar, sexist language. But I gotta respect the man though, because he has vision. He’s no Michael Jackson, or even Prince, but he still has great ideas. Basically…I’m not a fan of his music, but I am a fan of his headphones. Hopefully, Apple will yank those Beats speakers off of HTC’s me-too Androids.

  2. Comparing Steve Jobs, a legendary technology innovator and much more, to Dr. Dre, a common street thug? There is no common denominator and definitely no comparison. Wasted space for an article.

    1. This is why I am still sore over Sony’s deal with Michael Jackson. They never liked him in the first place, and once he died, they started milking his legacy. That’s why I got angry when I found out about Xscape, and how they are using that to promote the Xperia. Why does a Fragmandroid maker get to use the image of an innovative icon, yet Apple gets an everyday street thug that is a bad role-model for the youth in my culture?

    2. Dr. Dre is a “common street thug”? Why? What exactly are you basing that on? Let me enlighten you.

      Dre is considered pretty much the first and most successful west coast hip hop producer. He co-founded NWA, the most important west coast rap group of the 80s; he found and mentored Snoop Dogg and Eminem, two of the most iconic rappers in history, and co-founded Beats. His record in the music business is monumental. I suggest you learn your history.

          1. Basically. The guy is a successful musician, businessman, and entrepreneur. Regardless of his background, or his skin color, or the lyrics in his songs, or any other factors, Dre is hardly what I would consider a “common street thug.”

      1. Because the rap genre itself represents the worst in our culture. It is filled with violent, ugly, sexist, crime-oriented, base, and degrading images and language. The rapping itself is hardly music. That Dre mentored Snoop Dogg and Eminem simply proves how far his pernicious influence has gone. I would never allow rap in my ears or in my home. It is an insult to all cultures and it tarnishes Apple’s image thoroughly that Cook would allow the company to be associated with Dre in any form.

      2. Dr. Dre is nothing more than an enduring icon of the established vulgar soundtrack of a failed, wretched, and worthless culture. Calling his music “hip hop” is like calling a crucifix in a bottle of piss “art.” As I mentioned before, the music glorifies misogyny, homophobia, and violence. It offers little more than a beat with which to participate in antisocial behavior. Pointing out his association with “Snoop Dog” only underscores the comedy of comparing him to Steve Jobs. Mr. Doggy Dogg being a dope sucking, porn acting, would-be thug himself.

        Has “Mr. Dre” been successful? Of course. It pays well to show your ass to the prevalent culture, those who cannot cope, i.e. the losers, the misfits, the dregs of society will smell something familiar and pay to play. Does that make his body of “work” important. Not in the least. Not unless you consider the filth in the bowl of a public toilet important.

        He co-founded “NIGGERS WITH ATTITUDE.” Do I need to go further? He co-founded Beats, one honorable effort, but still little more than applying some of the wealth acquired by seminal work such as:

        “… Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks
        Lick on these nuts and suck the dick
        Gets the fuck out after you’re done
        And I hops in my ride to make a quick run…”

        Or the truly inspirational music to gang rape by…

        “…She ain’t crazy
        Fuckin’ with Dre, she’ll be pushin’ up daisies
        She was the perfect ho, but wouldn’t you know
        The bitch tried to bank me, so
        I had to kill her
        Yeah, straight hittin’
        Now listen up and lemme tell you how I did it
        Yo, I tied her to the bed, I was thinking the worst
        But yo, I had to let my niggas fuck her first yeah,
        Loaded up the forty-fo, yo
        Then I straight smoked the ho..”

    1. He’s just one of those punk-thug gangstas who makes my race look bad. Though I can’t pin the blame ALL on him: His parents were probably lazy freeloaders. My parents did all they can to give me a good life, even though we were not rich, and we lived in a sketchy part of South Bronx. Yet all these fools think livin’ in the ‘hood is an excuse to act like an idiot. I just have no faith in today’s generation.

      1. Powerful post..it takes guts to make it out of the street culture and call it what it is, rather than defend the cycle of destruction it most often produces.

  3. I was expecting to read something about the mass of Dr. Dre and Steve Jobs, or that Dr. Dre likes to sleep six feet underground.

    Someone should tell Hannah Karp that Steve Jobs is dead so that definitely limits what they have in common. Then again Hannah Karp is a jouranalist so why let facts get in the way of an article.

  4. Why so much personal hatred towards this individual who goes by the stage name Dr. Dre? If you don’t like him, don’t invite him to dinner.

    I personally didn’t care for Apple acquiring Beats either. I felt it was overpriced for what they were acquiring; not to mention this could purchase apprehensions in many brilliant folks inside Apple who may feel their hard and difficult work are being undermined. I know, I wouldn’t be impressed if I were Phil Schiller.

    Having said all that, Time made a difficult call that so many of us wouldn’t. I’d like to give him the benefit of doubt that he knows what he is doing. I’d wait at least one whole year to see how the beats deal pans out.

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