A celebrated hip-hop-oriented entertainer and educator, Andre "Doctor Dre" Brown long ago established himself as a savvy creator of popular culture. He has made his mark on radio and television, in the movies and print, working successively as a DJ, composer, talent scout, program host, actor, author, and critic. Dre is likely best known as the co-host with Ed Lover of "Yo! MTV Raps" (1989 -1995), the tv show that did more than any other to make rap music and hip-hop culture global phenomena.
A child of the New York City's Long Island suburbs, Andre Brown adopted the name Doctor Dre when he began hosting "The Operating Room," a pioneering rap radio show for Adelphi University's WBAU in 1983. In July of that year, he conducted the first-ever radio interview with a new group by the name of Run-DMC. Soon enough, Dre's rap group, Original Concept, was signed to Def Jam, the record label co-founded by Run's older brother, Russell Simmons. Original Concept released two influential singles and an album between 1986 and 1987. It was during this same period that Dre wrote "Proud to Be Black," for Run-DMC's triple-platinum Raising Hell album, traveled the world as the DJ for the Beastie Boys on the "Raising Hell" and "Licensed to Ill" tours, and introduced Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons to the talents of Chuck D, an ambitious fellow DJ at WBAU who would go on to establish Public Enemy.
Dre has always possessed both a deep knowledge of music and a sparkling personality. It was this combination that led producers Peter Dougherty and Ted Demme to cast Dre alongside Ed Lover on "Yo! MTV Raps." "Yo!" quickly became the highest-rated show on
MTV. Indeed, the final measure of "Yo!'s" success is that it put itself out of business. By 1995, MTV's programming -- which in its early years largely restricted itself to music videos featuring white rock musicians -- was so integrated that there was no longer any need for
a specialty show devoted to rap.
By then Dre and Ed had long since cemented their working relationship. Roger Ebert praised them for their "chemistry" in his review of "Who's the Man," the 1993 comedy in which the pair co-starred. After "Yo!," the duo funneled that chemistry into major market radio.
They held down the morning show on New York's Hot 97 (1993-1998), then on L.A.'s The Beat (2000-2001), and finally on New York's Power 105 (2003-2006). They also co-authored, "Naked Under Our Clothes: Unzipped, Uncut, and Totally Unplugged" (Fireside 1996).
Eventually, Dre and Ed went their separate ways. On his own, Dre
hosted "Doctor Dre's After Hours Spot" on Power 105 between 2005
and 2006, the most highly-rated radio show in that time slot. Dre then
expanded his portfolio as a reviewer of movies and DVDs for ESPN's "Cold Pizza" (2006-2007), a gig that took advantage of his lifelong study of tv and the movies. The following year he teamed up with his old pal Chuck D as co-host of "On the Real" for the Air America radio
network. Dre is now in the midst of plans for a new tv series, a fast-moving talk-show centered around the national epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes, a disease with which Dre himself has been struggling for the last half-dozen years.