After watching HBO's The Defiant Ones, I got a better sense of just how iconic record producer Jimmy Iovine and hip-hop legend Dr. Dre — who came from vastly different areas of life — became such close friends that they appeared to be family. Beyond that, together they became a profitable machine. Their chemistry ruminated through the speakers — they worked so well off each other and knew what made each other tick in a way that they partnered up to build one of the most significant business deals in technology’s history: Beats by Dre; now Beats Electronics, under Apple, Inc.
When I sat down with fellow members of the press to chat with the film’s director Allen Hughes and Jimmy Iovine, I immediately felt the whiff of directness that I was sure to consume. From that infamous Tyrese leak to tying together the world of Marilyn Manson and Eminem, we chatted about the ins and outs that music and business heads salivate over. This wasn’t your typical interview roundtable, this was a conversation with your boisterous cousin or uncle or friend who just so happened to be immersed with the type of wisdom that was best saved in the securest cache of your memory.
Iovine touched on his relationship with Dr. Dre, in which he could view himself as a mentor based on his age — he is 14 years older than Dr. Dre — but, made a point to drive home that he is “more talented.”
“He knows what he knows and he knows what I know,” said Iovine, of he and Dre's unique bond. Iovine also confirmed that they had never had an argument in their entire relationship, which he named an “equal partnership."
Allen Hughes’ overall goal was to answer the ultimate question, “Who are these guys?” And with The Defiant Ones, he accomplished just that. The documentary itself was like being handed a key to their door and the interview dinner was like making ourselves at home on their couch.
Iovine certainly seems like a larger-than-life force given the many legendary artists that he has placed his stamp on. However, as much as he is iconic, he is approachable. One cool part of the night was when he touched on emails — which, of course, one could imagine that his inbox is filled to the brim. Negative! “There is never one pending email. I respond to every email whether I know them or not,” said Iovine.
Unraveling Iovine — and by extension, Dr. Dre — for the screen was quite the journey for Hughes. “I got a kick out of winding Jimmy up. That is part of being a great director… you have to be a great audience,” mused Hughes.
Through the eyes of Hughes, I got to know Iovine and Dr. Dre in a way that is priceless, but I’ll certainly always be in line for a ticket.
The Defiant Ones is now available on digital and will be available on DVD/Blu-ray on November 28th.
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