Get ready to revel in a zone of classic ’90s nostalgia. MTV and iHeartRadio created “MTV’s Behind the Music” to dig into MTV’s iconic TV show archive to revisit memorable interviews and moments from some of biggest artists in music history. Originally airing as a VH1 documentary series, the audio versions have been remastered and transformed into a podcast format.
We’ll hear about the artists’ pinnacles of success, turning points in careers, shocking revelations, and scandals that shook the music industry. So far, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Usher’s episodes have been uploaded.
Gangsta rap star Dr. Dre appeared on the second episode. This episode recounts his public persona in N.W.A. and the controversy surrounding him. Snippets of his interview appear throughout the episode. As his career took off, life soon imitated his art.
Dr. Dre grew up in gang-controlled Compton, California. His neighborhood was filled with violence, as it was in the era of the Watts riots. Music helped young Dr. Dre escape, and his mom introduced him and his brother to funk music. Dr. Dre took pride in DJing his mother’s parties. With music to pass the time, he and his brother became best friends. They avoided gang and drug culture for as long as possible. When Dr. Dre received a mixer at age 15, his life changed. He became proficient in its use and began DJing at a neighborhood club. He selected Dr. Dre as his stage name to spinoff the basketball star’s famed title, Dr. J. He loved putting on shows, seeing people hit the dance floor, and wanted to start his own project.
While he didn’t have enough money to support his musical endeavor, he knew people who did. Dr. Dre turned to his childhood friend, Eric Eazy E Wright, a drug dealer. They got together, recruited other members for their music group, and started N.W.A. “Boys in the Hood” was recorded and they sold the singles from their cars’ trunks. It became a local hit and drew the attention of manager Jerry Heller. They recorded Straight Outta Compton, which was successful, although MTV refused to play its music video due to its explicit, violent content. Some of the lyrics called out police officers. As a result, the lyrics were protested by law enforcement and the FBI reached out to their record company, claiming they were inspiring violence.
A series of drama unfolds for Dr. Dre. He was devastated after he lost his brother. Dr. Dre attempted to renegotiate his contract with Eazy E, as he was earning a smaller percentage of sales. There was a legal issue with how executive Suge Knight once confronted Eazy E at the record company’s office. He was accused of assault. They settled out of court and Dr. Dre was released from his contract. Suge and Dr. Dre went on to found Death Row Records. Dr. Dre partied non-stop. Dr. Dre also developed a violent persona after attacking Hip Hop journalist, Denise “Dee” Barnes at a party. He was arrested for battery and Dee also filed a civil suit against him, which settled out of court. This was the start of a series of other assault convictions. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Dre was shot, but this did not fully force him to change his behavior.
Upcoming featured artists on “MTV’s Behind the Music” include Madonna, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, Adam Lambert, 50 Cent, Bret Michaels, Courtney Love, Duran Duran, New Kids on the Block, DJ Khalid, Fat Joe, Bret Michaels, and Toni Braxton.
Most episodes are under an hour in length. Episodes are updated weekly.