Former Interscope Records Chairman Jimmy Iovine has been named GQ Magazine’s “Icon Of The Year.”
Alongside presenting Jimmy Iovine with the award, the publication interviewed the co-founder of Beats Electronics who, among other things, detailed the origins of his relationship with longtime business partner Dr. Dre.
“Him and Suge [Knight, then CEO of Death Row Records] came in, and they brought The Chronic,” Jimmy Iovine explains. “I’d just come out of Rattle and Hum with U2. I knew Hip Hop was going around, but I had no idea what it was. And then Dre walked in, and I said, ‘I don’t know Hip Hop, but I know my speakers. Who engineered it?’ Dre said, ‘I did.’ When they told me the story of how they made the record, you might as well make a record falling out of a building. They were sneaking into studios. The government was after them. There were lawsuits, one RICO case, all on a bunch of guys who had no money and were making an album. I said, ‘Wow. If you can do it under those circumstances, let’s go.’”
Continuing on the theme of his relationship with Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine likened the pair’s bond as to being in a band.
“Just my relationship with Dre, I want to make sure that’s—’cause that’s really a special thing,” Jimmy Iovine continues. “We trust each other implicitly. It’s the closest to a band as I was ever in. We know what each other does, and we trust each other’s instincts so much, that when he’s moving somewhere and I go, ‘No,’ he goes, ‘Okay, let’s not do that.’ We’ve been through a lot. This is a guy—I always say, ‘You may know a lot of people who have gotten shot, but you don’t know a lot of people who have shot back.’”
Later in the story, Jimmy Iovine revealed how he first came across Eminem in 1998, thanks in part to his-then temporary assistant.
“In 1998, Death Row was exploding,” he says. “‘Pac got killed just before. Everything was fuckin’ upside-down. And my assistant got married, so they put in a temp. And the kid had balls. He said, ‘I went to this rap battle last night. I saw this kid who was incredible.’ I said, ‘Figure out how to get a CD from that kid, and I’ll play it for Dre.’ Next day, he comes back: ‘Here it is.’ I listen to it, and I go, ‘I have no idea what the fuck this is.’ This guy is screaming about his mother. He wants to kill his mother. I come from a place where you don’t kill your mother. Right? I saw Dre, and I gave it to him. The rest is a fabulous story. His name was Eminem.”
GQ’s December issue is currently available on newsstands nationwide.