By David Rolland
By David Von Bader
By Rebecca Bulnes
By Laurie Charles
By Chuck Strouse
By Lee Zimmerman
By Laurie Charles
The public has heard Dr. Dre's records and seen him on television, but few really know how he got there. That is, except for one man: Bruce Williams, Dre's personal assistant/go-to guy for almost 15 years. As Williams says of himself in his new unauthorized look into the world of his former boss — Rollin' with Dre: The Unauthorized Account (One World/Ballantine) — he was "the man behind the man."
Williams begins the book autobiographically, recounting his experience growing up between Bunkie, Louisiana, and Palm Springs, California. As a young man, he completed a stint in the Army before moving back to Southern California, where he met and started working for Dre.
It was the early Nineties, the beginning of Death Row Records, and Williams was in a privileged position to witness firsthand the creative juices that flowed through the label and its roster of artists. He was there for the making of classic albums such as Snoop Dogg's 1993 debut, Doggystyle, and Tupac's All Eyez on Me two years later. Fans will particularly enjoy Williams's narration of the recording session for Tupac's legendary "California Love," down to Dre's process for making the song's unforgettable beat.
But that year, Dre left Death Row, and Williams stuck by him as he went on to found Aftermath Records in 1996. Again, Williams was by his side as Dre discovered and developed the careers of Eminem, 50 Cent, and The Game. But the book isn't just a dry history. Williams reveals he was often a sort of emotional shield for Dre, protecting him from personal and industry drama so he could focus on making music. He also expounds on the ups and downs of both his relationship with Dre and the music industry in general as the years passed. Dealing with all of it, Williams concludes, gave him the fortitude to eventually get his own business endeavors off the ground. In the end, Rolling with Dre is a must-read for fans who want insight into both the book's subject and the mysterious heyday of the Nineties rap game.