Who Wrote “Still D.R.E.” for Dr. Dre in 1999

By the late 1990s, rapper, and producer Dr. Dre was back, following nearly a decade out of the scene as a performer since his groundbreaking 1992 debut, The Chronic. Within those years, Dre was mostly behind the scenes, producing Snoop Dogg‘s 1993 debut, Doggystyle, and Eminem’s The Slim Shady, released in 1999, while co-writing, producing, and appearing in the late rapper Tupac Shakur’s 1995 hit “California Love,” along with Blackstreet’s “No Diggity,” among other collaborations.

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For his return, and second album 2001, Dre needed a song that made it clear that he was back and still one of the most prominent rappers out there, and Jay-Z had just lyrics for him.

Since the last time you heard from me, I lost some friends
Well, hell, me and Snoop, we dippin’ again
Kept my ear to the streets, signed Eminem
He’s triple platinum, doing 50 a week
Still, I stay close to the heat
And even when I was close to defeat, I rose to my feet
My life’s like a soundtrack I wrote to the beat
Treat rap like Cali’ weed, I smoke ’til I sleep
Wake up in the a.m., compose a beat

[RELATED: 10 Songs You Didn’t know Jay-Z Wrote for Other Artists]

Though the song is often also credited to producer Melvin Bradford (Mel-Man), Scott Storch, and Andre Young (Dr. Dre), since Jay-Z was a ghostwriter, Snoop Dogg, who is also featured on the track, insists the track wasn’t a collaborative effort.

“He [Jay-Z] wrote Dre’s shit and my shit, and it was flawless,” said Snoop Dogg in a 2020 interview. “It was ‘Still D.R.E’ and it was Jay-Z, and he wrote the whole fucking song.”

Storch also backed Snoop’s claim that Jay-Z wrote the entire song. “If my memory serves me, we sent the beat off to him,” said Storch. “We sent the beat off to him and it came back immediately like fire if I remember right.”

The song came in a natural flow for Jay-Z, so much so that he wrote it within a half hour. The lead single of 2001, “Still D.R.E.” sent the message out that Dre was back, and further down his 2001 tracklist, Eminem also co-wrote a follow-up, “Forgot About Dre,” as a message to all the haters who may have forgotten about Dre and his contribution to hip hop in the ’90s.

In the video, directed by Hype Williams, Dre and Snoop Dogg are cruising Los Angeles in lowrider cars with cameos from Eminem, Shaquille O’Neal, Pharrell Williams, and D.O.C.

“Jay-Z is a great writer to begin with for himself, so imagine him striking it for someone he truly loves and appreciates,” said Snoop Dogg. “He loves Dr. Dre and that’s what his pen showed you, that I can’t write for you if I don’t love you.”

Born Shawn Corey Carter in Brooklyn, New York on December 4, 1969, over the years Carter has also picked up the monikers Mr. Carter, and Hova, the latter a play on Jay-Hova, or Jehovah in the Bible, and most notably Jay-Z.

Breaking away from his earlier drug-dealing days, Jay-Z released his debut Reasonable Doubt in 1996 —along with the groundbreaking The Blueprint (2001) and The Black Album in 2003—through his 13th album, 4:44, in 2017.

Jay-Z founded Roc Nation in 2008 and was later CEO of Def Jam Recordings, where he helped develop the careers of Kanye West, Rihanna, and J. Cole, among others. He has earned 24 Grammys throughout his career, and in 2021, Jay Z also became the first solo living rapper to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

[RELATED: Jay-Z Responds to Criticism of His Wealth – “We Killed Ourselves to Get to This Space”]

An entrepreneur and businessman, Jay-Z was named one of the wealthiest hip-hop artists with a net worth of $1 billion. His wealth is a result of Roc Nation entertainment and sport management agency, which was worth an estimated $75 million in 2019, alone.

Along with music and sports, the hip-hop mogul also has investments in real estate, Uber, liquor, fashion, and beauty, including his stakes in the champagne company Armand de Brignac and cognac producer D’Usse, along with Rihanna‘s Savage x Fenty brand.

In 2022, “Still D.R.E.” came full circle as Jay-Z and his wife Beyoncé watched Dre close out the LVI Super Bowl Halftime Show with a performance of the hit, along with Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar.

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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