HBO’s ‘The Defiant Ones’ Offers an Engaging Look at Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine
The opening of HBO's The Defiant Ones reminds us all that even in success, there can be folly. The docuseries about the rise of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, producers-turned-moguls who co-founded Beats Electronics and produced dozens of hit records on their way to multi-billionaire success, begins with Dr. Dre awkwardly "announcing" their much-publicized sale of Beats to Apple in 2014 via drunken Facebook video.
"One of the top three most embarassing moments of my life," Dre admits.
And that is what makes The Defiant Ones such an engrossing project. Dre and Iovine's story is told with appropriate respect but also a degree of candor. From Iovine's firings in the 1970s to Dre's arrests and a lot in-between, this isn't fluff.
The two moguls rose from similar hardscrabble upbringings; Iovine as a kid in 50s Red Hook, Brooklyn; and Dre living in Compton, California through the turbulent 70s and 80s. Dr. Dre recounts his early days DJing with The World Class Wreckin' Cru, meeting Eazy-E and Ice Cube; and confesses his insecurity about being a rapper.
Iovine found himself suddenly engineering a 1973 session for John Lennon, before a successful stint producing for Bruce Springsteen, a falling out with Foghat and work with Patti Smith.
Dre and Iovine's relationship, with its complexities and commonalities, reveals the nuances of music industry partnerships. If nothing else, The Defiant Ones affirms that relationships are what push things forward, what makes things actually happen.
The Defiant Ones highlights how great artists can become great businessmen; and Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine epitomize this transition. It's great storytelling from director Allen Hughes and required watching for anyone interested in seeing how the underdogs become top dogs.
The Defiant Ones airs 7/9 thru 7/12 on HBO at 9 PM ET. All episodes are available on HBO GO and HBO NOW.