HBO’s latest documentary event ‘The Defiant Ones’ will give viewers a look at the careers of producer and executive Jimmy Iovine and hip-hop mogul, Dr. Dre. HollywoodLife.com spoke exclusively to Jimmy ahead of the July 9 premiere.
Jimmy Iovine, 64, has one of the most successful careers in the music industry; he co-founded Interscope Records and is the chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M. He signed the first hip-hop artist to Interscope in 1991 — Tupac Shakur. He worked with Bruce Springsteen on Born to Run and Meat Loaf on Bat Out of Hell. Long story short: he knows what he’s doing. However, he also knows that he has many people to thank along the way, including Dr. Dre, who met in the early 1992. You can read our full Q&A with Jimmy below.
What was it particularly about Dr. Dre that drew you towards him as a person and as an artist?
It’s very simple. They came in with The Chronic, and I didn’t know a lot about hip-hop. I met him and Suge [Knight], they played me The Chronic, I asked who produced it. He said he did. I asked who engineered it, and he said he did. The next sentence out of my mouth was, ‘This guy is going to define Interscope,’ and he did. And, he’s defined a lot ever since. Who I am today is a product of many different people. John Lennon, Springsteen, Dre, etc. I had no culture or idea what different structures were before these guys.
When you met Dre, he was completely independent at the time. So, when you see artists now that are trying to be independent from a label, do you think that takes away from the record industry in terms of labels?
I think that artists should do what they feel they want to do. I think the labels have to keep up and stay with it, and if an artist like Chance The Rapper finds his own lane, why not? Herb Alpert of A&M Records was a trumpet player, and he started his own record company, so why can’t Chance The Rapper be his own record company? There’s no reason in the world. I think it’s good energy that these guys can get going on their own so they get better deals.
You see a lot of artists today marketing themselves and promoting themselves, they’re really developing themselves. Do you think the role of an A&R is going by the wayside, or do you think there is still a need in the industry for a position like that?
There will always be talented people like LA Reid and Clive Davis that just have a special gift, and that will always be around — people that don’t perform themselves, but are mentors and arrangers and producers.
What are your thoughts on the All Eyez On Me film and its reception?
I haven’t seen it, so I can’t say. Tupac was the most interesting and charismatic as the world has ever seen, and he was a glorious human-being. We all miss him terribly and that was a big loss.
The Defiant Ones, a four-part event on HBO is set to air on consecutive nights at 9PM ET from July 9 to July 12; however, all four episodes will be available on July 9 to stream exclusively on HBO NOW, HBO GO and affiliate portals as well as on HBO On Demand.