The Defiant Ones: Part 1 – Summary/ Review (with Spoilers)

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After the still fairly recent NWA movie, Straight Outta Compton, you might think the world was done putting the spotlight on Dr. Dre. However, there is always more to a story than even a two and a half hour biopic can cover. Especially one you are sharing with 4 other men. For it was missing the man who helped Dr. Dre go from a seriously talented producer to the billionaire he is today: Jimmy Iovine.

This is the story of how two men with wavering similarities, became a powerhouse friendship.

The Introduction

How does one go from Red Hook Brooklyn or the streets of Compton, California to signing a reported multi-billion dollar deal with Apple? Hard work, mentorship, and opportunity. That is what connects two men who were born more than a decade apart, who came into the music business through different means and yet found each other. Something you see crafted a brilliant friendship.

Now, in part 1 the focus is that Apple deal and the early lives and careers of both men. We see them parallel each other music-wise while we also get presented how different their personal lives were. Jimmy Iovine grew up in an Italian family where he had both parents, a sister, and a cousin named Ellie Greenwich who was able to help him get his foot in the door. For Dre? He had his 16-year-old mom, a baby brother that followed, and no dad there helping to raise him. Him getting his foot in the door basically was learning about how to DJ and his mom putting an investment in her child.

And the documentary’s first part blooms from there. We watch as Jimmy works with Roy Cicala who taught him everything he knew and we see Dr. Dre learn from DJ Yella and the members of the Wrecking Crew. We see both of their first big artists they have worked with ranging from Bruce Springsteen on “Born to Run” and Patti Smith’s “Because the Night.” Then, with Dre, we got him working with the late Eazy-E on “Boys in the Hood” alongside Ice Cube.

Together, you’d think these two would have grown to peers who competed with each other indirectly. Yet, the way you see Jimmy interact with Dre, it is almost like a big brother/ little brother relationship. The kind which surely provided Dre something healthy and stable and maybe, what he needed back in the day to grow up.

Collected Quote(s)

“You had two kinds of guys we ran into at that time. There were the kinds of guys that wanted to go home at five o’clock, and their interest in what you were doing didn’t exceed the normal demands of the day for them. And those guys never lasted. Because when you’re trying to push the boundaries on things and when you’re moving into different types of frontiers, you need to be surrounded by people who really believe in what you’re doing.”

“What are we here for? […] We’re not here to make you happy. We’re not here to make me happy. We’re here to contribute to the project. “

“The way I operate is completely on how I feel. How do you make me feel? […] How does this environment make me feel? If it makes me feel fucked up, I’m outta here.”

“You know, people become successful and they get locked into the behaviors that led them to be a success. Jimmy was very good at letting go of the things that might have made him a success to this point. He’s willing to shed that and go for something completely else, and not afraid to partner with other visionary people. So Jimmy’s career is based on a tremendous lack of fear of moving forward.”

Highlights

You Really Get To See A Well Meshed Story

The Defiant Ones Poster

You have to applaud the editing done here. Jimmy and Dre’s story is almost integrated like they were bound by fate. As if they were separated at birth, by a good 10 plus years, and even though their environments were different, their attitudes were just the same. Hence why when it is spoken on how both learned how to use a control board, while the method was different you can see the same passion about it. When there is talk about how they hustled, or pushed, for the best out of artists, you can see that attitude Bruce Springsteen’s manager spoke to Jimmy about. The one in which you don’t make it about you or your happiness, but how you can contribute to the project.

And that is where you can see these two men connect the most. Not that hustler spirit, not the upbringing, but how much they both seem to love being part of a project they can believe in. One which isn’t part of them clocking in and making some money, but potentially making history.

It’s Very Detailed and The Archival Footage Helps Make a Documentary Seem Like a Movie

Roy Cicala, Jimmy's mentor.
Jimmy’s mentor Roy Cicala who taught him to work the boards.

One of the major reasons some shy from documentaries is because a lot of them can feel dry, if not preachy. This is especially true when the person is still alive, involved, and on camera. For who really puts out any work that may put them in a bad light? Much less digs into topics they don’t want to talk about? We saw that in Straight Outta Compton with how Michel’le was handled and in this documentary when it comes to Dre’s little brother Tyree.

Yet, if your focus is on their career and successes, not either man’s personal life that much, you see the building blocks. On top of that, you meet some of the construction crew and people who admired the work when all was said and done. For Dre, we get footage of Ice Cube, hear a gentleman named Alonzo talk about Dre, alongside DJ Yella. For Jimmy, he has friggin Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith talking about him. Alongside his sister.

All the while, there is a slightly humble vibe from it all. Slightly mostly because you can see both men are rich, but with how much they talk about the work, the money seems more like a byproduct than their goal.

Overall: Positive (Watch It) – Recommended

I can’t claim to be a hip-hop head or someone heavily into the music industry. However, you have to give respect and props to the titans. Especially the ones who act as the pillar to the American Dream fantasy. The ones who prove through hard work, perseverance, and frankly opportunity, you can go from poor or even some form of middle class to rich.

But what we see and hear here is how it is done. It isn’t through necessarily going to college or finding some nine to five you hate. It is about finding what you are passionate about and getting a healthy work ethic. One which can carry you through when your passion seems more like your pain in the ass. Much less, has you working with people who test your patience to the point of quitting. And there is also something Jimmy mentions about the concept of not being ready. In general, are you ever really ready? All that matters is you are prepared to learn.

So I definitely recommend to check this out. There are three more parts, which will be reviewed, and knowledge shared arguably can be used no matter your industry. So don’t see Dre, the music involved, or the industry and think you can’t get anything out of this. You will as long as you pay attention.

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