Before he teamed up with Easy-E to form Ruthless Records — the seminal West Coast hip hop op — Dr. Dre found his groove with World Class Wreckin’ Cru. And that groove was a little shinier and poppier than anything Dre would do afterwards, including his legend-making time with N.W.A. But in HBO’s The Defiant Ones, about Dre’s and Jimmy Iovine’s partnership and dramatic rise to kingly status in both tech and music, World Class Wreckin’ Cru gets its propers as it should. The WCWC stint was early Dre — and like the early work of poets and painters, it’s significant less for what it is than for what it predicts. You can’t tell Dre’s story without World Class Wreckin’ Cru — and HBO doesn’t.
World Class Wreckin’ Cru was brewed in Compton in the mid 1980s and was also known as the World Cru Bangers. The Cru looked a lot more like Earth, Wind and Fire and Kool and the Gang (with some Michael Jackson and Prince thrown in) than what Compton music became famous for — the much tougher looking and sounding hip hop genre that permanently changed music’s landscape. Wasn’t till Dre lift the Cru behind that hip hop history was made. But all revolutions need beginnings. (Listen at link above.)