Document Don’t Create – The Defiant Ones

“I think documenting your journey on Medium, your personal blog, YouTube…of you going through this journey, it would be really cool to have content about when Vera Wang started learning how to create a dress.”

— Gary Vaynerchuck

There are two projects that recently came out that reminded of entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck and his motto of “Document Don’t Create”.

In these videos Gary Vee talks about not to be paralyzed by waiting until you have the perfect circumstances.

Puff Daddy’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop and HBO’s The Defiant Ones I felt mastered this principle.

In the shadow of the massive success of highest grossing musical biopic of all time, NWA’s Straight Outta Compton and the three billion dollar deal with Beats By Dre being purchased by Apple this documentary takes a look back.

The Defiant Ones is a parallel look at Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre’s journey in the music business and how they got to where they are today.

There’s so many things I love about this episodic odyssey.

As a music lover there are interviews with those who created the soundtrack to so many people’s lives.

Jimmy Iovine worked at a studio and progressed to engineer then producer of such acts as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and U2.

In my generation a lot has been made of Dr. Dre who has been proclaimed by many as the greatest hip hop producer of all time but Iovine’s work with Lennon and Stevie Nicks is very special.

20 years ago no one would’ve imagined after the deaths of both Biggie and Tupac Shakur that the East Coast, West Coast rivalry would’ve be extinguished but sure enough legends from both sides are speaking on what it was like to live through this era.

Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine both are masters at pivoting from Dre leaving Ruthless to join Death Row then starting over with Aftermath or Jimmy assailing from acclaimed producer to industry great with Interscope Records signing acts like Nine Inch Nails and having a period where the top four records on the chart were by his artists.

The editing in this film is phenomenal, the way it intercuts from an interview with someone like Jimmy Iovine and taking his words and making them fit along side a 50 Cent music video.

The style they chose especially the “Beautiful People” section really showed how volatile the climate was politically, socially and how honestly frightened those in position of power were of these creatives like a Marilyn Mason had an effect on the youth of that day.

Turning Tupac’s Troublesome95 from an anthem against Nas and Mobb Deep to him essentially singing his own lullaby as it intercuts with his last night conscious was powerful.

Directed by one half of the Hughes Brothers, Allen has the privilege to add to incredible unseen footage of Eazy E rapping for his debut album with raw shots of Tupac from their directed Brenda’s Got A Baby music video.

Since he’s an acclaimed creative it gives more levity with the artists and I feel he brings a comfort that is shown through the openness of these musicians.

The project is separated in sections from the early days of the docks with Iovine’s family and revelations about Dre’s family life all the way to success with their own independent labels.

I feel this helps go even deeper into subjects not normally discussed in even passion projects like this.

Dee Barnes from FOX’s Pump It Up, a hip hop show similar to Yo MTV Raps, was a surprise but necessary addition.

After criticism of such a huge part of Dre’s story being left out in the biopic the fact that she was able to be given the platform was special.

Dre has been accused by both Michel’le of being abusive to her and it’s only right for Dee to tell her story of Dre’s physical violence against her after NWA was offended of an Ice Cube interview she did.

He revealed that in fact he was raised in a household of abuse from his stepfather and mentioned how his brother was killed in an altercation while NWA was on tour.

The music business can be a hard one from long nights to threats of violence and Iovine’s ability to empower others was very special.

There could be a character study on the difference between Marion “Suge” Knight and Andre “Dr. Dre” Young.

Suge Knight of Death Row Records and Jimmy had a great relationship as they played football with the Kennedys on weekends and stood tall against opposition from outside forces.

An executive talked about how Jimmy had invested “hundreds of hours into the human being [Suge] to really help him” but while Iovine tried to discourage embracing the gangster lifestyle this went on deaf ears.

After the height of hip hop’s competitive atmosphere Jimmy began to try again with Dre, when he left the company he owned half of he started over with Aftermath having a 50/50 partnership with Iovine’s Interscope.

And of course pivoting again they teamed up to found Beats By Dre, a headphone company that became a lifestyle brand.

The project as a whole was phenomenal from start to finish and if you don’t have HBO you can purchase a season pass from iTunes to enjoy this beautiful look at icons in both music and business.

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