Dr Dre: What I've Learned

The hip-hop artist, record producer and headphone magnate shares some words of wisdom.

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My mother got pregnant with me at the age of 15. This was 1964, and unheard of at that time. She was told, "You're fucking your life up. You won't be shit – and your kid won't be shit." Everyone was trying to convince her to get an abortion. She wouldn't. So it was always embedded in my head as a child that I have to be a success, because those people cannot be right.

My father is the oldest of seven boys. And they're in the street shit, period. Drug dealing and the whole nine. My father's family steered me away from that life. They were really graphic with me. I saw people doing drugs when I was 11 years old. Back then, the popular drug was PCP. For some reason, when people did this drug, they'd want to take their clothes off and run down the middle of the street. I was watching that at a really young age, seeing first-hand what effect drugs and gangbanging had on people. It was never a happy ending, and my father and my uncles pushed me to leave the street shit alone.

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In school, because of my mother; in street smarts, through my father. And to be perfectly honest with you, I don't know which one was more valuable.

I've been listening to music for as long as I can remember. I was bred for this life from birth. My mother has a picture of me wearing a onesie and putting a needle to a turntable.

You can learn it. But in order to be good at it, to be really great at it, it has to be in you.

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I've gone 79 hours without sleep before, creating. When that flow is going inside you, it's almost like a high. You don't want it to stop. You don't want to go to sleep for fear of missing something.

I don't even listen to the records after they come out. It's outlawed in my house. My wife and my kids can't play any of my music around me. Once it comes out, for me, it's just business. Numbers.

It's entertaining to watch somebody break my music down, or explain what he thinks I was thinking during the process of making these records. Because… that person has no idea.

The good keeps you going. The bad motivates you, too.

It's always weird when people approach me to make an investment. I tell them, "I don't need any more money. I'm good." Then I wait for their expression. That part is entertaining, because people look at you like you're crazy when you say you don't need any more money. Who says that?

My kids soak in most of what I'm saying. Sometimes they don't get it right away, but it's always good to hear, "Yeah, you were right."

I love that we have a president who plays basketball.

Clear communication. Respect. A lot of laughter. And a lot of orgasms. That's what makes a marriage work.

Kids are the ultimate form of motivation. They're watching. They're mimicking. They're an extension of you. So you have to win.

If it's not edited right, it's shit.

The race factor was just a minuscule part of what I was doing with Eminem. It was really about the music and how well we worked together. When me and Marshall got in the studio, it instantly clicked. I put the track on, we had a little bit of idle chit-chat, I put on the beat, and maybe five seconds in – I swear to God – he goes, "Hi, my name is…" That was it. And it's still clicking. There's something about our thing that's just magical.

I love the new technology. New things give you a reason to want to go to the studio. New challenges mean you have to keep up, you know?

I believe in reincarnation, and I believe I've lived quite a few different lives in the past. Once, I was at this party and there was this psychic; this little old lady with a flower in her hair. I don't believe in that stuff. I'm the biggest sceptic. But, hey, it was a party, and I decided to sit down with her. She looked right through me, kind of freaked me out. She did past-life regression. She started telling me things that I really believe. She's telling me that I've been back several times before. She says, "This is the last time you have to come back. You don't have to come back anymore if you don't want to." I was taking it as entertainment at the time. But something inside me was saying, "Hmmm."

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