HBO’s newest miniseries The Defiant Ones treks the illustrious careers of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine and how they changed and influenced not only the music industry, but culture as well.
This four part series starts with the beginning of their music careers with Iovine in ROck, producing records for John Lennon, Tom Petty and Bruce. Dr. Dre starts off as a DJ for a dance hall making mashups that no one thought were possible. What makes this series special are the guests they got to talk about the two. The collective bank accounts of this list would be enough to fund america’s debt program alone. Bono, Gwen Stefani, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, Bruce, Diddy, Nas, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Trent Reznor etc. etc. etc. The list of guests goes on and on and on and only accentuates the power that these two had in music.
I never realized how many hands JImmy Iovine had in so many different pots. Between taking songs from other artists that he think would work for others, or basically bailing Tupac out of jail, to producing my favorite album of all time, Born to Run, he is a jack of all trades and a master at every single one of them. My favorite part of this series was finding out that Patti Smith’s breakout song, Because the Night was originally written by Bruce and was left off Born to Run was amazing. He has an ear unlink no other.
Dr. Dre’s story is a little more documented through multiple interviews and films (Straight Outta Compton, which wasn’t that great in my opinion), was interesting as it delved into his relationships past NWA. It should his tumultuous dealings with Suge Knight and the rest of Death Row Records. They had footage of Dre in the studio with the likes of Eazy E, Snoop Dogg, Tupac and so many more that was great to see if you are a music nerd like I am.
I love these docuseries about music because it goes behind the scenes of what you are listening to. It allows you to put yourself in the situation of what was happening when the artist was recording and allows you to make that music so much more than just notes on a page and noise in your ears. It adds a story to the songs and emotion that oyu wouldn’t get otherwise. Back in the mid-2000’s MTV and VH1 would have series like this all the time and I ate them up like a fat kid at a buffet. The DVR would be loaded with them and it would be all I would watch. Hands down the best is VH1’s Heavy: The Story of Metal. Seek that out if you liked The Defiant Ones. It is another four part series but is a little shorter. It goes from the origins of the term heavy metal, to glam metal, to grunge and nu metal. Very well done.
As for The Defiant Ones, I think HBO has another award winner on their hands. The editing on this was so amazing and clever. They were able to cut from song to real dialogue seamlessly and it made me giddy to see Eminem talk about My Name Is to them dubbing over the song as 2017 Em talks about it. The scouting was also wonderful because they were shooting at millionaire’s homes and it made for the perfect backdrop for a success story.