This is the episode that we know a lot about already. It's the "Jimmy creates Interscope" episode. It's the Dr Dre creating "The Chronic" episode. So I really wanted to see how this was going to come about. For some, this is the filler episode. Because we know most of the surface. But that's the thing. I enjoy these kind of episodes more. Because I anticipate depth. That is what a great Documentary should do.
Why did we watch "OJ: Made In America" when the OJ story has been rinsed over and over for years and years? Because we always think there's something new to learn. And if you remember my words about "The Genesis", I am pretty much uneducated about Iovine's story, and I know what I consider a good amount of Dre's story. So I have the best of both worlds. I'm getting something new, but I'm also getting presented with a new lens.
You can really see this series really ramping up. As you watch this episode, you can see in your head the paths of these two are about to cross. It is easy to see the legacy of "The Chronic" now. But the way Jimmy recounts his first listen of the album is something of destiny. That album really was the catalyst for these two. Jimmy was the first person as a record executive to look at Gangsta Rap and take the apparent risk and sign these guys. It paid off. It paid off in the most lucrative way. They glossed over this but CD's became the wave just as "Doggystyle" dropped. That was a big deal and couldn't be quantified how lucky they got with that major change in the music industry.
And not to stick solely with Hip-Hop, it is also kind of crazy that Jimmy had practically no leash for someone like Suge Knight and let Nine Inch Nails take on Marilyn Manson. 2Pac, Snoop's Murder Case! Interscope PR must've been a hell of a department back then! They had three of the most polarising artists in 90's America.
Damn. 90's America really was a roller-coaster...
And if you think the media was going off, look inside at the powers that be in Interscope & Time Warner. In some way, I was watching the Time Warner/Interscope beef thinking "Well, yea, what did you expect?!" Of course they were going to try and reign in Interscope! Wouldn't you ask them to chill a little?! And then came the damn Source awards. Oh boy. In the scope of the episode, I loved how they recorded Dre & Snoop in MSG in 2015 and Dre says "I haven't been here since The Source Awards". That just made this part so much better. And then to add Nas as the bystander-like person, narrating how it went down, then Sean Combs comes in. I loved this part of the episode. It really encapsulated the tension.
And then Allen Hughes, putting in Combs' face after Suge says "COME TO DEATH ROW". Sometimes the art just comes to you! Seeing the archive footage of that Award show, watching Snoop recount his fanning of the flames. It genuinely was a taste of how raw (and in hindsight, how stupid) the East/West Coast beef was. I don't think we can ever feel how raucous that arena was that night, but having Snoop, Nas and Combs talk about it all was an obvious choice.
And then the final break-up for Dre, watching Death Row become a raging fire. One thing I really admire about Dre is how everytime he left something, he did it with 0 regrets and didn't try to take the benefits of his current situation. He left NWA with none of the benefits & he left Death Row with nothing. Not even "The Chronic". I'll say this. I would want my baby above all else. But he bolted and as we know, it was another great decision.
And on Jimmy's side, against the advice of everybody around him, he kept Death Row. Even though it was another high reward from a money standpoint. It was the highest of risks. Jimmy had to go to a movie premiere with a bulletproof vest on. Everything unravelled. Meanwhile, it seems that Dre bolted at the perfect time.
It's just a shame that the chapter had to end on one of the greatest to die because of it.
Part. 4. Next.