The Defiant Ones Explores How Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine Changed America

The Defiant Ones HBO

Last week we were invited to attend a press screening of the premiere episode of The Defiant Ones, HBO’s documentary series on musical odd couple Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. Directed by Menace II Society’s Allen HughesThe Defiant Ones takes a unique approach to the behind the scenes music documentary format by focusing on the business decisions and personalities of its twin tycoons rather than running down their biographical milestones. We recommend catching its premiere tomorrow, July 9th, but in the interim, we wanted to share some thoughts on the film from Austin hip hop vet and lifelong Dre fanatic Colton Ferguson, who performs in Space Camp Death Squad and fronts the group Secret Levels, and came to the premiere with us.

The four part documentary The Defiant Ones, premiering on HBO tomorrow night, is described as “The story of the improbable relationship between Jimmy Iovine, and Dr. Dre.” Well thank Zeus it wasn’t that improbable because they changed pop culture forever, then they changed it again, and again, and again, and then they changed the way you make billions from it. Why is that relationship improbable? Do you think it’s just a fuckin’ coincidence that every rapper has a Scarface poster on their wall? Rappers and Scarface posters are pretty much a package deal in my opinion.

Anyway, Dr. Dre is a black man from Compton, and Jimmy is an Italian man from Brooklyn. East Coast, West Coast, it totally works, and right now that coastal unity is one of the only things that America is good for. When you get down to it, America is fuckin’ cool. We export cool all over the world. It’s our realest export and Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine have been masters of exporting it for the past few decades.

Dr. Dre makes me proud as an American B-boy, turned DJ, turned MC. He’s like a hip hop cultural ambassador to the rest of the world. He’s one of the reasons why young hip parents of today let their kids buy some god dang expensive turntables. Irvine’s Interscope Records is one of the chief reasons why you can say all the stupid shit you say in your shitty raps and people still respect your shitty art. Do remember, there was a time when parents wouldn’t let their kids listen to the new Marilyn Manson CD, or even let their children so much as cast their gaze upon the album cover for The Chronic. I was there, I remember. My Trump supporting mother used to not let me watch Ren and Stimpy. I guess because Ren didn’t grab Stimpy’s pussy enough?

My point is that sometimes like a dumbass teenager, America doesn’t even know what it wants. But somehow, Dre and Jimmy knew. The Defiant Ones makes the case that they almost guided us through the maze that was race relations in America in the ‘90s, and navigated the changing landscape of popular culture as it raced towards the 21st cnetury. Maybe their relationship seems improbable to some people because Jimmy Iovine was a producer for rock and roll legends like Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith, and that’s white people music. Whereas Dr. Dre produced the greatest hip hop albums of all time, and that’s black people music. What idiot cares about that now as those divisions, in music at least, are less present than they’ve ever been?

Defiant Ones Jimmy Iovine Dr Dre

Jimmy Iovine saw rock and roll evolving into something more interactive, and inclusive. And he could see the vision behind Dre’s work and it was a no brainer for him to form a partnership with him. When the premiere episode ends and shows what’s coming up next, I think about all the dickhead record execs that Dre shopped The Chronic to, who turned him down, then I giggle to myself. Because what’s improbable to me is they couldn’t see the future even when it was looking them right in the eyes.