These Are The Business Moves That Made Dr. Dre One Of The Wealthiest Men In Hip-Hop
Photo Credit: Paul Archuleta

These Are The Business Moves That Made Dr. Dre One Of The Wealthiest Men In Hip-Hop

Love him or hate him, Dr. Dre has made his way in life.

The Aftermath Records founder has certainly come a long way from his heyday in the seminal Hip-Hop group, NWA. According to Newsweek, Apple’s deal with Beats by Dre in 2014 made him one of the wealthiest men in hip-hop. The tech giant snapped up the headphones in a deal that, at that time, was worth close to $3 billion.

While it was said that he was one of Hip-Hop’s first billionaires, a subsequent investigation by Forbes refuted that claim.

“Forbes still doesn’t agree with the assessment made in the wake of Apple’s $3 billion 2014 purchase of his Beats By Dr. Dre headphone line,” reported the outlet. “The superproducer owned an estimated 20%-25% of the company at the time; of the $2.6 billion Apple paid upfront in cash, another $295 million was earmarked to cover debt payments, leaving Dre with a little over $500 million.”

Despite not reaching billionaire status, his $780 million net worth — per Celebrity Net Worth — makes him one of the wealthiest men in hip-hop.

Dre has made his money in real estate. In 2014 — the same year that the Beats/Apple deal closed — he purchased the former home of Giselle Bundchen & Tom Brady in Brentwood, CA. He plopped down $40 million for the property. Most recently, he made headlines when he donated $70 million to the University of Southern California, where his youngest daughter is currently attending undergraduate college.

The man born André Romell Young has proven that it’s not where you come from that matters — it’s where you’re going. And, without a doubt, he’s gone to the top thanks to his wise business investments and street-savvy smarts.

Let’s take a look at a brief overview of Dr. Dre’s business investments.

Editorial note: The net worth in this piece is a speculative estimate drawn from a variety of online sources. This piece was also updated on December 3, 2021, to reflect Forbes’s refutation of Dr. Dre’s claim of being a billionaire.

Aftermath Records

According to Rolling Stone, Dr. Dre launched Aftermath Records back in 1998. Aftermath launched the careers of Eminem, 50 Cent & G-Unit, and The Game. In 2001, Dre sold a stake in Aftermath to Interscope Records for $35 million, putting him on the list of Rolling Stone’s Top-Earning Artists for that year. Thanks to a series of mergers and acquisitions, Universal Records ended up owning Interscope and became the biggest record label in the world. To this day, Universal is known as “The House That Dre Built” because of that move.

Beats by Dre

In 2006, Interscope Records capo Jimmy Iovine teamed up with Dre to create the Beats by Dre headphones. By 2013, the company was generating $1.4 billion in revenue, according to Fast Company. When Apple bought Beats by Dre for $3 billion, the former NWA frontman became one of Hip-Hop’s first billionaires. Dre also obtained an executive role at Apple as part of the deal.

Beats Music

In 2014, Dre expanded the Beats brand to include the Beats Music streaming service. That service ultimately got sold as part of the package to Apple, and it’s still available today.

Real Estate

Dr. Dre’s real estate portfolio became public knowledge when word of his divorce from Nicole Young started making headlines. In the latest divorce ruling, the Youngs will have to split $60 million, plus their entire real estate portfolio, according to The Blast.

That real estate portfolio includes a $2.25 million mansion in the Pacific Palisades district of Los Angeles, which Dre purchased in 2019. It also includes the $50 million mega-mansion in Brentwood that Dre purchased from Tom Brady & Giselle Bundchen back in 2014, and a $4.9 million home in Calabasas, CA, that also has a recording studio.

In August 2019, before Nicole Young filed for divorce, she and Dre sold their Woodland Hills, CA mansion for $4.5 million. According to The Los Angeles Times, Dre originally purchased the home back in 1999 for $2.35 million.