3. DR. DRE
By: Chris Yuscavage
You could disregard all the classic material Dr. Dre has produced before the beginning of the “VIBE era”—including his work with N.W.A—and his résumé is still unmatched. Dre has remained the nucleus for the best West Coast rap has to offer; he’s produced hits for everyone from Death Row label mates Snoop Doggy Dogg and Tupac to Game and Kendrick Lamar. He’s mined new talent like Eminem and 50 Cent into legends. He delivered his second classic solo album (1999’s 2001) in the same decade as his first and has somehow kept the anticipation for his third album, Detox alive for 10-plus years. Cap off the icon’s rap sheet with him using his über successful Beats By Dre line to upgrade the way fans hear music and you’ll understand how he catapulted to the top of the Forbes “Cash Kings” list. Who knew that selling chronic could be so lucrative?
Kendrick Lamar, rapper and Aftermath artist, says:
“I watched Dre start on a beat with nothing, just drums, maybe a snare hitting and just vibe out to it, come back an hour later and sonically, it feels like it’s 3-D; you’re actually seeing the music. That’s how sonically clear it is. I’ve been in the booth with him and he heard zones that I wasn’t even aware I was capable of doing. But when we found that and went in to explore that, he pulled those things out of me—certain cadences, deliveries. And for him to hear that, that’s genius. I’ve never worked with anybody to this day that can match that ear.”