Because I’m concerned with Dr. Dre’s image, especially with the holiday shopping season about to kick into full gear, the article I wrote the other day on his career included minimal discussion of numerous incidents in which he’s alleged to have put his shoe on a woman.
As is the case with Facebook, some Medium posts take off and some don’t. The difference being, I’m pretty sure Medium has a team of human editors who decide which posts are heavily promoted on the site and which ones aren’t.
While I’d be willing to bet a steak dinner that I can guess their demographic characteristics to within 99.7% accuracy, I’m at a loss for what criteria they’re using, if any. Why is it that a similar article I wrote, on Dame Dash, received 5x as much traffic? What could be the difference?
Since there’s little risk of anyone actually seeing this post, I figured I’d discuss the domestic violence allegations against Dr. Dre in further depth. Below is a list of girls Dr. Dre beat up.
With all due respect, past and present, and without further . . . to do.
1. Tairrie B
Before Iggy Azalea was even born, let alone had such a nice ass, there was Tairrie B.
Tairrie B’s real name is Theresa Beth. She got her start as a part of a female dance group called Bardeux. After the release of their debut single, “Three-Time Lover,” in 1987, she decided to leave the group and become a white female rapper.
Eazy-E signed Tairrie B to a new label he started called Comptown Records, which was distributed by MCA. You’ve probably never heard of it, because Tairrie B’s 1990 debut, Power of a Woman, was the only album it ever released.
In this era, it was customary for all of the members of N.W.A. to appear on the last song of an album by an artist affiliated with the group. “The Grand Finale” by The D.O.C., for example, was the last song Ice Cube appeared on with the rest of the members of N.W.A.
The last song on Power of a Woman was supposed to be called “I Ain’t Your Bitch.” Ice Cube was going to write the lyrics. It would have been something along the lines of “It’s a Man’s World” from Amerikkka’s Most Wanted, in which the members of N.W.A. would take turns calling Tairrie B a bitch, and then she’d go off on them in the very last verse.
For some reason, she didn’t like this idea. Instead, she recorded a song called “Ruthless Bitch” dissing N.W.A. and even other Ruthless artists like JJ Fad. She said Dre looked like a faggot when he was in World Class Wreckin Cru and accused him of lifting a lot of the samples on Straight Outta Compton from Ultimate Breaks and Beats, both of which are true.
Dr. Dre heard the song, and needless to say, was none too pleased. He confronted Tairrie B and her manager at a party for the 1990 Grammys. Thinking there was no way Dr. Dre would beat up a woman, in front of Dick Clark, New Kids on the Block and Janet Jackson no less, Tairrie B refused to back down.
This ended up being a tragic miscalculation.
Here’s how Tairrie B describes what happened next in an interview with Record Mirror (me neither), as cited in the wiki:
When Dr. Dre heard the track, he turned up at the awards ceremony party, where he punched Tairrie “twice — once in the mouth and once in the eye. He hit me like Tyson, but I took it — I don’t know how.”
LAPD broke up the fight and took a statement from Tairrie B. She told them the guy who did it was the same guy who did that song “Fuck the Police.” It’s a wonder Dre didn’t somehow get shot reaching for his wallet that same evening. Later, she was paid to drop the charges. She was told her album wouldn’t come out if she didn’t.
At that point, she went back in the studio and re-recorded “Ruthless Bitch” to include a reference to Dr. Dre putting a shoe on her at the Grammys. Somehow, this version was included on Power of a Woman.
2. Dee Barnes
If you’re at all familiar with Dee Barnes, it might be from the line in Eminem’s great “Guilty Conscience” about how you shouldn’t take advice from someone who slapped Dee Barnes.
I realized this when I was trying to find the video of Dee Barnes and Ice Cube dissing N.W.A. on her show Pump It Up, on YouTube. I typed in Dee Barnes, and it auto-suggested “Dee Barnes slapped by Dr. Dre,” or something to that effect. Kids who heard “Guilty Conscience,” who probably hadn’t yet been born during the Dee Barnes incident, must be trying to find video of Dre slapping Dee Barnes on YouTube—for gender studies research purposes, I’m sure.
Meanwhile, that’s one of the few thing Dr. Dre didn’t do to Dee Barnes.
Dee Barnes has her own YouTube channel, to which she’s uploaded 50 some-odd videos of herself interviewing rappers back when I was in grade school. The video of her and Ice Cube dissing N.W.A. is nowhere to be found and is literally the only one anyone would want to see, which would lead me to believe that—like my article on Dre—it’s being suppressed on purpose.
I remember seeing it on VH1 or somewhere back in the ‘90s. It’s not the most egregious thing in the world, but it’s the kind of shit you hate to see from interviewers. If Dee Barnes didn’t agree with Ice Cube dissing N.W.A., it raises the question: Is there anyone he could have dissed that she wouldn’t have just grinned and chuckled along with?
If so, I can kinda see why N.W.A. was upset. There was an element of disrespect to the way N.W.A. were treated on her show and the way she appeared to go along with it, and apparently she’s yet to come to grips with it to this day. Not that I blame her. If I got my assed kicked like that. I can’t tell you I wouldn’t continue to shirk responsibility for any part I played in it.
Shit, I’ve been out of college for over 10 years now, and I’m still blaming white people for my employment status. Cracka-ass crackas!
Dr. Dre confronted Dee Barnes at a record release party in LA, where he proceeded to beat the living shit out of her. Here’s how Rolling Stone reporter Alan Light described it in an article called “Beating Up the Charts.”
He picked her up by her hair and “began slamming her head and the right side of her body repeatedly against a brick wall near the stairway” as his bodyguard held off the crowd with a gun. After Dre tried to throw her down the stairs and failed, he began kicking her in the ribs and hands. She escaped and ran into the women’s rest room. Dre followed her and “grabbed her from behind by the hair again and proceeded to punch her in the back of the head.”
Members of N.W.A. discussed the attack in subsequent interviews. And I quote.
MC Ren: “She deserved it—bitch deserved it.”
Eazy-E: “Yeah, bitch had it coming.”
Dr. Dre himself: “People talk all this shit, but you know, somebody fucks with me, I’m gonna fuck with them. I just did it, you know. Ain’t nothing you can do now by talking about it. Besides, it ain’t no big thing—I just threw her through a door.”
Believe it or not, those quotes aren’t fabricated! Check the following MTV News segment, which I found on Dee Barnes’ YouTube channel.
Dee Barnes tried to sue Dr. Dre for $22.75 million. It ended up being settled out of court. The wiki doesn’t say for how much. According to an article in Newsweek, she only sued him in the first place after she offered to not press charges if he agreed to produce a rap album she was working on and he refused.
Not that any of this excuses what he did. I’m just laying out the facts.
Michel’le was all of 16 years old when she recorded vocals for the song “Turn Off the Lights” by World Class Wreckin Cru—which was later ripped off by Master P on the hilariously awful “Ice Cream Man.” Because people might get the wrong idea about me if I suggested otherwise, I’m gonna have to insist that this was inappropriate.
It wouldn’t be the only inappropriate thing to happen to Michel’le.
Michel’le eventually became an adult, but she still has the speaking voice of an eight-year-old, which, again . . . I will refrain from discussing any potential implications. You might remember her from songs like “Nicety” and “No More Lies,” both produced by Dr. Dre, with whom she was in a relationship at the time.
Like Beyoncé, Michel’le comes from a Creole background; she’s even got a stupid apostrophe in her name. Dr. Dre and Michel’le were the original Jay-Z and Beyoncé, except, if Michel’le’s little sister (I don’t know that she has a little sister) swung on Dr. Dre in an elevator, he would have ended up dragging both of them out by their hair, Ray Rice-style.
Broke ‘90s-era R&B singers and rappers’ ex-girlfriends are both known to appear on hoodrat reality series. In that sense, it was inevitable that Michel’le would appear on a show called R&B Divas LA, apparently TV One’s knockoff version of a VH1 reality series. She met every single qualification.
On an R&B Divas LA reunion special, Michel’le revealed to host Wendy Williams that Dr. Dre beat her to the point where she had to have plastic surgery on her face.
And I quote:
Michel’le: “One of my boyfriends hit me and [made it] crooked it until I had to straighten it and change it and it cost a lot of money” Michel’le explained.
WW: “One of your babies’ fathers? You’re speaking of, that broke your nose?”
M: “Absolutely…and I stayed [in the relationship]”
She went on to say she had to “figure out” that domestic violence isn’t an expression of love because her father never told her he loved her.
M: “Getting beat was love to me. When I got with Suge- believe it or not—he didn’t really beat me. I asked him ‘why aren’t you beating me? Don’t you love me?”
WW: By saying Suge didn’t beat you, the finger is pointing at you Dr. Dre. (via)
Michel’le then confirmed that it was Dr. Dre who fucked her face up and discussed having to use makeup to hide her black eyes when performing.
These were the only three incidents that I stumbled upon in the course of researching my article on Dre. A cursory Internets search for the string “Dr. Dre beating woman,” which was auto-suggested by Google, btw, didn’t turn up anything else.
Therefore, I think it’s only fair to Dr. Dre that we assume that these were the only three times in his life that he raised a hand to a woman—though in the case of Michel’le it may have been multiple incidents over the course of several years. But if they’re all the same woman, and probably a certain pattern of behavior prompting the attacks, counting each attack as its own separate incident would only serve to make Dre seem like a worse person than he is.
We already saw what happens when people automatically assume the worst about a male entertainer earlier this year, with Conor Oberst. Turns out, I was the only person on the Internets who was right about that. And if the coverage of the allegations against alt lit author Tao Lin is any indication, the Internets have yet to see the error of their ways. They may be uncorrectable. They’ve already been told twice.
The Michel’le incident(s) were the most recent, based on the rough chronology I put together, and they took place in the 1990s. While the ‘90s still seems like it’s the previous decade, it’s actually two decades ago. We’re just blocking it out of our minds like memories of a childhood sexual assault. They’re being suppressed like my Dre article.
Dr. Dre hasn’t put a shoe on a woman in two decades, as far as I know, and it’s quite possible that he’s a changed man. He certainly looks different! Maybe working out helped him shed the insecurity that drove him to constantly beat the shit out of women—that and the billion dollars. It’s hard to be too upset with women when you can quite literally buy a whole family of women and have them living deep within the recesses of Tom Brady and Gisele’s old house, where he lives now.
At any rate, I can’t condone condemning a man for what Ordell Robbie would call an “old crime” any more than I condone beating up women. The important thing is that we learn from our mistakes.
Byron Crawford is the founder and editor of ByronCrawford.com: The Mindset of a Champion, a former columnist for XXL (no longer a magazine), the author of five books, most recently Kanye West Superstar, and the sender of the free weekly email newsletter Life in a Shanty Town.