I just finished binge-watching “The Defiant Ones”, HBO’s four-part docu-series that covers the stories of Beats co-founders and now Apple executives Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine.
It chronicles their rise through the music industry and into the tech world, exploring not only their personal lives but also the trials and tribulations of their career culminating with the sale of Beats Electronics LLC to Apple, Inc. for $3 billion, Apple’s biggest acquisition to date.
On May 9, 2014, R&B singer and former Coca Cola pin-up Tyrese Gibson posted a video on Facebook, shot in a music studio, in which Dre seemingly confirms the transaction that was reported by the Financial Times the day before.
“The first billionaire in hip-hop, right here from the motherf***ing West Coast, believe it,” Dre exulted in the now deleted video, which you can watch embedded below (explicit language):
Clearly, this is not the kind of thing Apple is used to.
The Apple family “nearly imploded with outrage” when that clip went up on Facebook, Billboard wrote. If you know anything about Apple, you would think Dre would be out of the multi-billion dollar deal between his Beats Electronics and Apple.
In “The Defiant Ones”, Dre and Iovine say they were afraid the controversial video, which was filmed after a night of drinking and partying, might cause Apple to pull out of the Beats deal.
I was in the studio, excitement was in the room, you mix excitement with a f***ing fifth of alcohol, man, something terrible is bound to happen. That is in the top three most embarrassing moments in my life.
“I don’t know what he was doing,” said Iovine in the documentary, adding:
We had gone for like six weeks without it leaking. This thing has leaked, this thing is loud. I had wanted to work with Apple, at that point, probably 10 years, maybe more than 10 years. I’m like, ‘how could this be possibly happening?’
So sure I thought the deal could blow.
Thankfully, Apple kept its word and acquired Beats for $3 billion.
“So what happened was, Apple stays true to who I always knew who they were, ignored all the noise, and made the deal,” Iovine said in the documentary.
Dre’s controversial and storied past became an issue for Apple following the release of his biopic “Straight Outta Compton” which failed to mention old allegations of Dre abusing women, including hip-hop journalist Dee Barnes, R&B singer and his former girlfriend Michel’le and onetime labelmate Tairrie B.
Dre apologized for his actions 25 years ago, saying in a 2015 New York Times article:
25 years ago I was a young man drinking too much and in over my head with no real structure in my life. However, none of this is an excuse for what I did. I’ve been married for 19 years and every day I’m working to be a better man for my family, seeking guidance along the way. I’m doing everything I can so I never resemble that man again.
I apologize to the women I’ve hurt. I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives.
Apple addressed the controversy with a statement of its own:
Dre has apologized for the mistakes he’s made in the past and he’s said that he’s not the same person that he was 25 years ago. We believe his sincerity and after working with him for a year and a half, we have every reason to believe that he has changed.
Dre is now fifty years old and works for Apple as a top consultant. “The Defiant Ones” is airing on HBO, with all four episodes available for streaming via HBO GO and HBO NOW.