With a rumored Beats acquisition by Apple, Dr. Dre may be the first billionaire in hip-hop, but he’s no overnight success. When hip-hop first burst onto the scene–or rather when it crossed over (many mark the moment of this culture convergence with the debut of the Aerosmith/Run-DMC’s Walk This Way collaboration )–mainstreamers thought hip-hop was destined to be another disco, a movement locked in a moment and then discarded. But hip-hop did more than endure–it prevailed. And nobody has ridden the wave (indeed, caused the wave) better or more profitably than Dr. Dre. (Even before the alleged Apple deal, Forbes listed Dre’s net worth at about $550 million– though no telling how they calculated his Beats shares in the estimate.) Dre has been around–he produced and/or discovered Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent and The Game, to name just a few. He’s a West Coast mainstay, straight out of Compton, a veteran of the infamous and wildly successful Death Row Records, an original gangsta with N.W.A. and a solo artist since back in 1992, with the release of The Chronic.
According the The Financial Times, Beats by Dr. Dre, a superior headphones system with heavy bass that he marketed with music mogul Jimmy Iovine, is now the apple of Apple’s eye. If the $3.2 billion price that’s floating around is accurate, Dre may well take his place at the top of hip-hop’s richest list, though Beats is maybe more of a technology play than a music play–the company is, after all, called Beats Electronics. So maybe Dre should be shouting out about being a tech mogul instead. Either way, as Dave Chappelle might say, he’s rich biatch.