Dr. Dre’s “grand finale” as a rapper likely hasn’t gone quite how he expected. Shortly before the release of the biopic Straight Outta Compton, detailing the rise of his influential hip-hop group, N.W.A., the music mogul and Apple consultant announced that he was dropping his first album in fifteen years, as a sort of final bow. But, while both projects have been extremely successful, they’ve also ignited controversy, dredging up assault allegations against Dre (real name Andre Young) that fit into the timeline of the movie, but were noticeably absent from the plot.
As the voices surrounding Dre’s past transgressions grew louder, the music mogul finally addressed the issue on Friday. In a New York Times statement, he issued an apology to “the women [he’s] hurt.”
“Twenty-five years ago I was a young man drinking too much and in over my head with no real structure in my life,” said Dr. Dre in his statement to the Times. “However, none of this is an excuse for what I did. … I’m doing everything I can so I never resemble that man again.”
The growing controversy, and subsequent apology also prompted the music consultant’s new employer, Apple, to make a statement addressing the issue. In a short release, Apple said “Dre has apologized for the mistakes he’s made in the past and he’s said that he’s not the same person that he was 25 years ago. We believe his sincerity and after working with him for a year and a half, we have every reason to believe that he has changed.”
The accusations that Dr. Dre is answering for are brutal and “too ugly for a general audience,” according to one of his accusers, Dee Barnes, in an essay on Gawker. She described an attack in which Dre allegedly smashed her head repeatedly against a wall. Ultimately, he pleaded no contest to charges of assault and battery.
Dr. Dre’s apology is certainly an improvement over previous comments about such allegations. In 1991, a Rolling Stone interview quoted Dre as saying, “it ain’t no big thing – I just threw her through a door,” about the incident involving Barnes. But different times require different measures. Now a billionaire businessman, as opposed to a gangster rapper, Dre and his multi-billion dollar employer are hoping this will put the issue to rest once and for all.
The controversy didn’t seem to affect the movie or the album, however. After a number one opening weekend that pulled in $60 million, Straight Outta Compton is expected to bring in at least $26 million in its second weekend, according to Variety. Meanwhile the album Compton: A Soundtrack, which is being streamed exclusively on Apple Music, has reportedly already garnered more than 25 million streams.
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