Now Reading: 6 Musical Takeaways from Dr. Dre’s James Corden Interview


6 Musical Takeaways from Dr. Dre’s James Corden Interview

As Dr. Dre’s celebrity status has soared to elite levels, his interviews have become increasingly rare. Fortunately, music aficionados were recently treated to a rare sit-down conversation with James Corden on his SiriusXM show This Life of Mine. The in-depth discussion explored the influence of various artists, Dr. Dre’s favorite songs, and fond memories of his first concert. Read on to delve into the musical takeaways from the interview.

  1. Dre feels these Michael Jackson and Sade tracks are the standard in mixing. 

“I love the clarity and the mix on ‘Human Nature’ Bruce Swedien is just amazing. That was one of my go-tos to get the clarity and understand how my mixes should sound,” he declared.

“‘Is It a Crime’ by Sade.’ That’s one of my favorite mixes,” he continued. 


Dre elaborated on how both tracks sharpened his ear for mixing. 

“I had this weird thing about listening to mixes and understanding what the engineer was doing to capture that clarity and that sound… Those songs are the ones that made me go like, ‘Oh, you know. Okay, that bass frequency, that mid, that high, the sizzle on that is just something really special,’ so I’m going to take that with me and use it and apply it to hip-hop because when I started out hip-hop, for me, listening to it, the clarity wasn’t all the way there.”


2. Speaking of MJ, Dre ranks Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall higher than Thriller.


Off the Wall, in my opinion, is a better album than Thriller, but Thriller sounds better. Off the Wall is one of my favorites ever,” he admitted. 


3. Grandmaster Flash made him want to become a DJ at 14.


“I was 14 when I decided I wanted to be a DJ,” he told Corden. 


“And that happened because of Grandmaster Flash, who I talked to today, actually. We Facetimed today. That’s one of my heroes and there was a song called ‘The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel’ and that song made me go, ‘I want to do that.’”


Dre also spoke about how his initial love of DJing led him to engineer and produce tracks.


“I started DJing and then DJing was kind of a stepping stone to engineering. Fortunately, I started engineering first, so I started studying engineering and mixing and all that s***. I had no idea I was going to become a record producer, and I thought I was going to be an engineer. I’m so happy that it went that way because it wouldn’t have happened the other way around. I’m engineering and all of a sudden I started touching the keyboards and the drum machines and that snowballed into becoming a producer.”  


4. Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly album had a huge influence on his production style. 


“One of my favorite albums, believe it or not, is Curtis Mayfield, the Superfly album,” he stated.


“That is one of my favorite albums ever. They caught such a moment in time with that record. Curtis Mayfield, his voice, his falsetto, and his playing and the fact that it was attached to this really popular movie at the time – even if it wasn’t attached to the movie, for me, that’s one of my go-tos to listen and get inspiration for what I’m about to do when I get in the studio.”  


Bonus: He also mentioned Slick Rick’s “Children’s Story” as one of his inspirations.


5. Dre named The Bomb Squad and Larry Smith as two of his favorite producers. 


Though most hip-hop heads are familiar with Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad, Dre also mentioned a lesser-known name, Larry Smith as one of his choice beat architects.


“Larry Smith was a fantastic producer,” he proclaimed. “Whodini, The Fat Boys, Run-DMC and all that. Nobody gives him his shine, and a lot of people don’t even know his name, but he’s a fantastic producer.” 



6. His first concert was Parliament Funkadelic and Bootsy Collins and motivated him to do music. 


“The first concert I ever went to was in 1977, and it was called the Funk Festival with Parliament Funkadelic and Bootsy Collins,” he told Corden. 


“That was the first concert I ever went to, and I was twelve years old at the time and it completely f***ed my head up, and that was one of the things that made me go, ‘Okay, that’s what I want to do.’ And I’m still friends today with Bootsy Collins. We talk all the time, and he tells me these stories and this and that. But yeah,1977, Los Angeles Coliseum, the Funk Festival with George Clinton, Parliament Funkadelic, and Bootsy Collins.” 

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