Producer Dre To Release Debut CD, "The Trunk"
Now with their feet firmly planted in the game, it's time to embark on new goals for the duo. One half of the team, Dre, has finally listened to the urging from his friends like Timbaland, Diddy, Scott Storch, Kanye West and Busta Rhymes and recorded his solo LP.
"I been working on the project for a little bit," Dre said of his debut, The Trunk, which is slated for release in September. "A lot of my peers influenced me to do the album. They all pushed me to do this album. They said 'you've been given the talent to sing, you can rap and write and make beats. You need to take advantage of that God given talent. My mom told me to never limit myself. So I was like 'cool.'"
Dre says he named his album The Trunk, as an ode to practices in his hometown of the M.I.A. "The name of the album is called The Trunk because it symbolizes what we do in Miami," the 6'7" music man describes. "We move everything out the back of the trunk. Cool and I sold beats out the back of the trunk before we hooked up with Fat Joe, we sold a bunch of beats out the back of the car.
"What we would do was play the music and pop the trunk--ause Cool's Infinity had big speakers in the back--and we would push the music," he continued. "Juvenile and J.T. Money were one of the first people to buy beats from us. We would make $3,000 dollars cash, $5,000 cash. It was a good living back then for us. You could have a great week and make like $12,500 or something."
At the top of the year, Dre put out the first offering from his LP, a classic club banger named "Naomi," which in addition was an undeniable party anthem, paid homage to fiery super model Naomi Campbell. Now it's time to take it back to the streets with The Trunk's second single, "Chevy's Ridin High" featuring Rick Ross. Dre's follow-up single has a considerably harder edge, and literally takes the listener on ride through a Miami sub-culture.
"Chevys is a big deal, a way of life as far as our culture," Dre, who's first Chevy was remolded 1974 convertible complete with candy blue paint and a all digital dashboard, explained. "The way a New York guy wearing a New York Yankee fitted is a way of life for them riding Chevys is our lifestyle. In Miami, you'll have a box Chevy, or a dunk. Buying it and hooking it up is a way of life. It's what we do. Now it's become so popular that other parts of the country are starting to do it as well. I wanted to highlight that and show Miami started it. It's a status thing when you pushing a Chevy and sitting on big rims, that's status."
Other timeless gems on The Trunk, include "Rock Bottom," where Dre showcases his unimpeachable singing talent, crooning about the inner turmoil we've all struggled with at the end of a romance. Meanwhile R&B superstar Keyshia Cole brings her unearthing vocals to the Khaled produced inspirational, "Be Somebody."
"The Keyshia Cole record is amazing," Dre tells. "It's crazy. The hook it says ‘in do time./ One day just wait./ I'mma be somebody…I'mma make it happen./ You'll see. I'mma make it happen.'"
Christina Milian and Anthony Hamilton also appear on the LP. Storch, Timbaland, DJ Toomp and newcomer LV are among the crop of top flank producers who contributed tracks.
Dre was born his parents only child in New York City and moved to Miami with his family when he was five.
"I grew up with both my parents," he adds. "We didn't make enough to be rich. We made a little too much to be poor. We had some months we was good, some months we was dead broke. My mother used to make me wear my sneakers not only till the bottom of my sneakers wore out and I had holes in them, but when I had holes in my socks too. Then she would buy me another pair of socks."
As a kid, he became enamored with MTV and was heavy influenced by the channel's heavily rotated darling in the mid 80s such as Michael Jackson, Prince, INXS, George Michael and Cyndi Lauper. In 1994, as a teen, Dre attended tk High School in Miami where he would link up with his longtime partner Cool.
Cool was the DJ who pushed mixtapes and Dre was excelling in basketball. As a side hobby, both were in the school choir.
"Music was my first love and I came to a crossroads in my life as to whether I was going to keep up with basketball or do the chorus. I loved basketball and I honestly believe if I put as much into hoops as I did music, I would be a star athlete right now. But music won out.
Soon after his decision, Cool and Dre formed a group called Basic Unity with some other classmates, but that venture was short lived. While in the group however, Cool and Dre taught themselves to produce and when Basic Unity disbanded, they followed the route of becoming track masters. In 2001, a mutual friend introduced them to Grammy nominated Fat Joe, who has since become very close with the duo.
Instead of selling tracks out of their cars, Cool and Dre began fielding calls from everyone from Diddy to Irv Gotti to the G-Unit for tracks. They haven't looked back since.
Among Cool and Dre's latest projects are executive producing Christina Milian's LP, So Amazin and making sure their Jive imprint, Epidemic blossoms. Acclaimed Miami MC, Dirtbag, is slated to be their first act.
"Me personally, I always thought I was gonna be somebody," Dre says. "I have not had an easy road to success. I've always considered myself an underdog and I've always put myself around underdogs. But me and my team, we're ready to fight. It's been a long time coming and everything is starting to pay off."
Listen to Dre's "Be Somebody" (featuring Keyshia Cole):
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