We now continue with our regularly scheduled programming. The Defiant Ones, Part 2: Growing Pains.
I decided to name this Growing Pains because that is what I got immediately in the first 20 minutes. At this point in the story, Jimmy Iovine is now a fully fledged Producer and is working with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, trying to rocket Petty to the top. But even though Jimmy is doing all these great things for his career, he says multiple times and said in "The Genesis" that he's "In over his head". It's fascinating how much this guy had a natural talent to be a music producer but still felt like he was improvising. When we watch the archive footage of him talking to Petty or Stevie Nicks, he seems in his element. But he didn't make it easy for himself. The aforementioned Nicks and Jimmy were dating and we all know that it's not wise to dip pen in company ink.
Meanwhile, Dre, Cube, Eazy, Ren & Yella started NWA. Now, something that I genuinely learned from this is how Ruthless Records got off the ground. It wasn't NWA at all. It was JJ Fad. Never heard of them? Me neither! As it turns out. They were an all-female rap group that went Gold with their debut album "Supersonic". That Gold record funded what Ruthless came out with next and because it was a Radio hit, which was a big deal back in the day, it also got people wondering "What is Ruthless going to drop next?". And from there, we start to approach familiar territory. "Boyz N The Hood" was the next record.
So there you have it. There probably wouldn't have been NWA without Juana Burns, Dania Birks and the rest of JJ Fad. (Another fun fact. First Female Rap group to get a Grammy Nomination.)
Now, when I saw "The Genesis", Dre was talking about his family history and the mention of his late brother Tyree was something that he could only tiptoe on. He said that he didn't want to talk about it "right now". That really stuck in my head. Another thing that is great about this series is how it makes you remember small things because you instinctively know that it'll be important later on. Midway through this episode, the method of recounting Tyree's death and Dre's mindset in the aftermath wasn't not by talking to Dre, it was mainly through his mother, Yella, Ren & Dee Barnes. You can really see in Dre's face as he talks about mortality and how music can be a form of escapism to him. Tyree's death is a very large regret for him. We caught a glimpse of that in the film "Straight Outta Compton". "I should've taken him on tour with me". I wondered before watching how they were going to do this. Would Dre be able to do it. And I don't know if they went to his mother & Yella out of respect, but I think it's something that Dre really struggles to talk about.
And once again I have to big up Hughes on filming the small things that us as viewers don't properly recognise. The dramatic reconstruction of the D.O.C's car accident and him going into hospital was so well done. You barely clock onto when it's legitimate archive footage and when it's dramatic reconstruction. And can we just take a minute to realise that D.O.C wasn't fully into his 20's when the accident happened. Imagine having your voice taken away from you like that and having to fall back and be just a songwriter. That must be bittersweet. To be able to live but not do what you were born to do.
This episode is actually a very negative one. But what it teaches us about Jimmy & Dre is that when they felt like they weren't in the right situation, they bolt and went to create their own thing. Jimmy's relationship with Stevie Nicks coming and going. His father passing. Dre's civil suite for assaulting Dee Barnes. And even though NWA went No.1 for "Efil4zaggin", it really was the straw that broke their backs. It was a similar deal for Iovine. The constant work he was doing for U2 ended up breaking him.
I'll say this, I have a feeling that Part 3 will be a lot more positive. Dre is on to Death Row and Jimmy is venturing into the business side, which we now know was his true calling.