Ten years ago this week, Dr. Dre's financial future appeared as bleak as his musical future looked bright.
The former N.W.A member faced multimillion-dollar lawsuits from former bandmate Eazy-E and his Ruthless Records (who accused Dre and his new label, Death Row, of racketeering) and rap TV show host Dee Barnes (who accused Dre of assaulting her). On top of that, a Los Angeles record producer was accusing Dre of breaking his jaw, and a separate assault charge stemming from a brawl in New Orleans could've landed the beat doctor in jail for 18 months.
"'92 just wasn't my year," Dre said. "'93 will be, though. You can believe that."
After two years of being the subject of lawsuits and arrests, after being shot at and having his house burn down, Dr. Dre displayed his frustration by posing for the cover of "The Source" with a gun held to his head. "That's how I felt at the time," he said. "It was perfect, too, you know? The whole '92 was talking about Dre. I just kept my head above water until my album came out."
A decade ago, Dre's debut solo album, The Chronic, was at #3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and the first single, "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang," was just starting to get national airplay. The world was also beginning to take notice of Dre's protégé, the up-and-coming Snoop Doggy Dogg.
"He grew up with my little brother, so he's been around," Dre said. "I never knew he could rap until maybe about two years ago. My little brother had a tape of him at a bachelor party. We popped the tape in, it was funky."
Meanwhile, in Germany, where neo-fascist violence was on the rise, U2's Bono and The Edge took part in an all-star concert in Hamburg condemning anew the rise of Adolf Hitler's National Socialist Party 60 years earlier. The two, who were recording in Berlin with the rest of U2, performed an acoustic version of "One." Three days after the show, German authorities launched a nationwide crackdown on hate rock, raiding the homes and offices of musicians and record labels and seizing guns, explosives and 30,000 records.
Back home another sort of operation was underway, as oddball rockers Ween began infiltrating popular culture. Their story of success, explained singer/guitarist Dean Ween, is purely accidental. "Everything, including this interview, it's all a big accident."
Whether accidental or accidentally on purpose, Ween's bizarre take on pop and rock earned them critical raves and a growing cult of devoted fans. "Push Th' Little Daisies," the first single from Ween's major-label debut, Pure Guava, emerged as a surprise hit. Still, the band was more than willing to take food handouts from fans at shows. In fact, they solicited hot meals in the liner notes of Pure Guava.
"It's just a joke," Dean insisted. "People bring us just really lousy food, whereas we were hoping to get glazed roast duck and things like that, big bowl of rice pudding, but no one has come through."
For more "This Week In ...", check out the This Week In Archive.