Hey…Remember The 90’s? Remember when the East Coast & West Coast were fundamentally at odds? Remember when N.W.A. (especially Ice Cube, Eazy E, & Dr. Dre) were the biggest rap stars on the planet? So does the rest of the world. Cube, Dre, and Eazy’s families are still living the high life off of 20-year-old hits such as ‘Straight Outta Compton’, ”Dopeman’, & ‘Fuck Tha Police’.
Judge Dre (aka Andre Young) is doing so well that he decided a few weeks ago to donate $35 million dollars to USC as part of a massive $70 million dollar gift from The Good Doctor & Interscope Point Mogul Jimmy Iovine. This super infusion of game money is being used to establish The Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. The Academy opens in 2014 and will offer undergraduate courses in entrepreneurship; technology, art, design and marketing. As expected Dre and Iovine received high praise from USC president C.L. Max Nikias.
“The vision and generosity of Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young will profoundly influence the way all of us perceive and experience artistic media. USC provides an extraordinarily rich academic, research and artistic environment. We are committed to encouraging our students to use their intellectual and creative resources to effect change in all segments of society. Our goal is to ensure that the academy is the most collaborative educational program in the world.”
Seeing as how I’ve never slung crack, smacked hoes, or gotten in shoot outs with cops it would be safe to say that I don’t know honky spit about what makes Dre tick. I naively assumed someone of Dre’s rough neck gangster background would be more concerned with the young black kids from his native South Central L.A. neighborhood than the predominately rich, white student body at USC. Jimmy Iovine’s daughter is an alumnus of SC so his desire to donate makes sense. Dre’s son died in 2009 due to an overdose of Heroin & Morphine at age 20.
Far be it from me to brow beat someone of Dr. Dre’s stature….I’ll gladly leave that to the Afro-centric spin doctors out in cyberspace. Plenty of African-American proponents have already taken to the internet to rant about Dre’s perceived slight of L.A.’s poor black youth in favor of an overwhelmingly white/asian student body at USC. Here is a pointed op-ed piece by Dr. Boyce Watkins on yourblackworld.net
According to FORBES Magazine and www.celebritynetworth.com Dre currently is the 3rd richest rapper on Planet Earth with a colossal net worth of $360 million (much of it off of his Beats By Dr. Dre headphones). Jay-Z/Beyonce sit at #2 with $495 mil combined & P Diddy tops the net worth depth chart with over $570 million. Rhetorically speaking I guess when you’re worth $360 million clams 35 of them are probably as superfluous as 35 bucks would be to me. That said I would still flinch donating 35 bucks of my hard-earned bucket change to the USC Gleeker kids. However giving 35 dollars to a struggling family from Watts or Harbor City would seem far nobler. Not to say I would dole out the dough. But nobler.
Many Dre defenders invoke the old ‘He-Can-Do-Whatever-He-Wants-With-His-Obscene-Amount-Of-Gangster-Rap-Earnings’ argument….and they’re basically right. No one but the most hardened blowhards will sniff at someone massively funding higher education. My musician friend John Maxfield sums it up to Dre this way:
“You could forego SOME, just SOME of your precious profit from your overpriced, bogus-ass, fashion-statement headphones by creating jobs in the U.S.A., where they’re sorely needed, and sell the Beats headphones for $200-$300, with a sticker on the box that reads, “Made in the USA: Straight Outta Compton.”
Someone say Hammer? Proper.
But, what about Dr. Dre’s nemeses? How are they holding up in the wake of Dre’s generosity? In 1991 Bronx based rapper Tim Dog put the airwaves on blast that he was getting pretty fed up with America’s growing passion for all things Dre & N.W.A. with his gold record ‘Fuck Compton’:
What we didn’t know then was that even though Tim Dog had no qualms trashing Dre’s physical toughness & ‘wack ass beats’ he did have issues maintaining his relative fame and fortune. Face it….you didn’t remember who Tim Dog (aka Timothy Blair) was when you read the headline to this blog. Don’t lie. Tim Dog didn’t remember to invest his rap earnings wisely and stereotypically blew all of it before turning to a side career as a swindler of idiots.
Recently in 2011 a Mississippi judge ordered Blair to repay Esther Pilgrim $19,000 in restitution for promising to turn her alleged $32,000 in investments into Mo’ Money. Pilgrim also alleged that Tim Dog had more than likely bilked other innocents out of unaccounted millions.
For whatever reason instead of calling a debt consolidation counselor Tim Dog chose the road less traveled by and faked his own death. Last Valentine’s Day Rolling Stone reported that Tim Dog had passed on from complications involving Diabetes.
Within a few months of his ‘death’ Esther Pilgrim started poking around and asking questions….even going so far as to hire a private investigator. Soon thereafter she realized that Blair was not only alive but still making deposits/withdrawals from an active back account. While Tim Dog has not been spotted publicly since his so-called departure he is now being held in contempt of court until he begins repaying his debt to Pilgrim again.
I wonder what $19,000 goes for in Dr. Dre’s world….floor mats for the Bentley? Dry cleaning? A lifetime supply of Ed Hardy breath mints? Maybe if Tim Dog hadn’t burned so many bridges back in ’91 The Good Doctor would prescribe the requisite financial salve to soothe Mr. Fuck Compton’s wounds. Also guessing that T.D. could have benefited from Jimmy and Dre’s new entrepreneurial school back in the day. Until then the best either rapper can hope is for the peanut gallery to give them a break and quit eyeballing their tax returns. Wild guess: Dre’s getting a juicier one than Tim Dog.
~ Tucker Booth
Tucker Booth writes for Locash Magazine , Hip-Hop Club and is a recording artist for Tantrum Niche Records. Tucker also hosts the Internet Radio Podcast ‘Tucker Booth Needs A Job’ Mondays 2-4 PM PST on www.killradio.org. Check out past podcasts/interviews at www.radio4all.net under ‘Tucker Booth’ in the podcast directory.