It’s hard to imagine the inventor of gangsta rap having an office in the spotless halls of Apple’s Cupertino headquarters. Dr. Dre managed to rise above the streets of Compton to become the self-proclaimed “first hip-hop billionaire” thanks to Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats.
While Dre is actually valued between $700-$800 million following the Beats sale, he is still an amazing success story. Not only did his hometown of Compton celebrate “Dre Day” for the first time this summer, but his incredible career is inspiring inner-city kids to dream big.
The LA Times spoke with Louis Stewart, an economics teacher at Centennial High School in Compton, about why he teaches his students about Dre every fall. Along with the mayor of Compton, Stewart agreed that Dre has shown the city’s youth that it’s possible to succeed even in bleak circumstances.
Dre was a founding member of the pioneering hip-hop group N.W.A, but Compton Mayor Aja Brown said “the majority of people, especially young people, know Dr. Dre because of Beats by Dre, not necessarily from him being a rap artist.”
Beats has become a name synonymous with cool, especially in the younger demographic. It’s almost more common to see a bright pair of Beats headphones wrapped around someone’s neck than Apple’s white earbuds these days. While Apple hasn’t said what Dre will be doing specifically for the company, it’s assumed that he’ll continue to bring the same business and marketing savviness that made Beats a success.
In Compton, Dre has been offered the keys to the city. This past June 19th was called Dre Day. “That evening, about 30 people converged on an empty blacktop on Long Beach Boulevard for a party in his honor,” according to the La Times. “Dre’s tunes blasted from the speakers, and the smell of chili and barbecue filled the air.”
Dre himself didn’t show, and he hasn’t been returning anyone’s interview requests. That’s probably because he works at Apple now.