The Defiant Ones is a Netflix original documentary series which explores the professional relationship which formed between Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine and the impact both of these innovators had in the world of music. With guest appearances including Eminem, Nas, Nicole Young, Bono, Stevie Nicks, Kendrick Lamar and more.
The Defiant Ones immediately starts looking into the worlds that both Dr. Dre and Jimmy have sculptured, starting with the 3.2 billion dollar deal they had for selling their Beats brand to Apple, and the controversy surrounding Tyrese Gibson and Dr. Dre flaunting this deal on a Facebook video. The documentary then jumps back to where both of these men stemmed from. This can leave you a little confused and may feel like they’re trying to cram too much into the first episode of the series. However, it pays off. The stories of their lives run parallel to each other, learning how each person came to be driven by their passions. A benefit of this is that even if you have little to no interest in Dr. Dre or Jimmy, you have that opportunity to become invested. With interviews from Dr. Dre’s mother and wife and the many artists he works with, and Jimmy’s sister, ex-partners and the artists that helped build his career, you get a really good holistic view of both of them.
Dr. Dre is an artist I’ve been listening to since I was in the womb and was a permanent fixture in my home since day one, so I have to admit, I do have a biased view. Regardless of this, I think its something that anyone could invest in. Accounts are given from U2, looking at the signing of Marylin Manson and the whole genre of Punk Rock altogether. This gives the documentary another dimension; not only are we looking at the success of gangster rap, but also a genre which grew in popularity right alongside it. Another huge plus for this documentary is the way it is edited; a prime example of this is when Jimmy is explaining how they might add effects on to the voices of artists, for example adding echo, and whilst he’s saying this they cleverly add an echo onto Jimmy’s voice. Little things like this within the documentary make it that much better.
Some of the topics in The Defiant Ones are hard to listen too, mainly coming from Dr. Dre. We explore Tyree’s death (Dr. Dre’s younger brother), the deaths of Eazy E and Tupak Shakur, and you realize how all of this has impacted Dr. Dre and the choices he made in his career. Each step seems so much more crucial as The Defiant Ones highlights how close we were to losing Dr. Dre from the public eye due to personal and financial issues. We see Jimmy lose partners, a sacrifice which was made for his career, losing jobs, getting divorced, and again you can see how close and easy it could have been for Jimmy to stop producing and signing acts, which would have had a huge impact on music even today.
Serious attention must be awarded to the benefits these icons had on pop culture. Not only did they break the mould that society tried to cast them in, they also lead so many others to achieve greatness.
A drawback of this documentary is that it takes time to understand where it is taking you. There is a lot of information to take in, especially if you are not familiar with Dr. Dre or Jimmy Iovine, although if you are patient it is completely worth it.
The main thing you can take from this documentary series is the chances which were taken that could have easily ended both of Dr. Dre’s and Jimmys careers. Both were risk takers, but both were brilliant in a way that would shape the world of music for decades to come. Regardless of whether you’re a hip-hop lover or a rocker, you will be able to appreciate what both have been through to get to where they are today.