The Amazing Way Dr. Dre is Helping New Artists

August 7th 2015

Laura Donovan

Dr. Dre, who released his new album, "Compton," on Apple Music Thursday night, will be using all royalties from the album to fund a new performing arts and entertainment center in Compton, the city just south of Los Angeles where he and his fellow N.W.A. members grew up.

Compton provided N.W.A. with lots of material for their debut album, "Straight Outta Compton," which was released 27 years ago. Compton is known for being a poor part of the Los Angeles area, with more than a quarter of residents living below the poverty level, according to Census data from 2009-2013. The city also struggles with gang violence and crime, which N.W.A. and another Compton native, musician Kendrick Lamar, have addressed in their music. Dr. Dre's decision to give album proceeds to a new arts facility in his hometown could help those in the area who lack the resources to pursue their creative talents.

"I feel it's the right thing to do and I hope everybody appreciates the work I put into this album," Dre said in an interview with Rolling Stone, adding that he'll be working with Compton Mayor Aja Brown on the project. "We've reached out to Aja Brown quite a few times in the last month or two. I've been really trying to do something special for Compton and just couldn't quite figure out what it was. She actually had this idea and she was already in the process of working on it. I said, 'Boom, this is what we should do.'"


My grand finale. #Comptonapple.co/compton

Posted by Dr Dre on Saturday, August 1, 2015


This comes a week before the release of the film "Straight Outta Compton," a biopic on N.W.A.'s wild success as a rap group in the late 1980s and early 1990s. When N.W.A. released their song "Fuck Tha Police" nearly three decades ago, the F.B.I. sent the group a letter of warning for promoting "violence and disrespect for authorities," but as one of the characters mentions in the trailer for "Straight Outta Compton," their art was a reflection of their reality as Black individuals living in America.

In late June, N.W.A. rappers Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella performed "Fuck Tha Police" at the BET Experience alongside footage of Black Lives Matter protests, the McKinney pool party incident that involved a white officer aggressively interacting with Black teenagers, the police shooting of unarmed, Black man Walter Scott, Michael Brown, and other recent images depicting police brutality.

In a recent promotional interview for "Straight Outta Compton," Dr. Dre explained why the rap group's music about police brutality remains relevant today.

"It's crazy how we were getting criticized for this years ago," Dr. Dre told the publication. "And now, it's just like, 'OK, we understand.' This movie will keep shining a light on the problem, especially because of all the situations that are happening in Ferguson and here in Los Angeles. It’s definitely going to keep this situation in people’s minds and make sure that everyone out there knows that this is a problem that keeps happening still today."

In the Red Band trailer for the film, Dr. Dre compared race relations today to when N.W.A. first entered the American music scene.

"We kicked the door down for a lot of artists," Dr. Dre says in the trailer. "The same thing that we was going through in the 80s with the police, people going through right now."

Ice Cube adds, "We put it all in the music, all our frustration and anger, our music was like our weapon."