The story of N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton, is the #1 film at the box office, and Dr. Dre has the #2 album in the country with Compton. When you combine that with the fact that the sale to Apple of Beats Electronics, of which Dre is CEO, made him the richest performer of 2015, he’s having a moment. And while his success shouldn’t be questioned, maybe the fact that he’s assaulted women on more than one occasion in the past should be. While his past violence towards women might not have made it into the movie, it’s well-known enough that some are taking Apple to task as to why they employ a known woman batterer.
There’s a metal connection to all of this. Tairrie B, singer of Tura Satana (formerly Manhole) and more recently, My Ruin, was on the receiving end of Dre’s violence 25 years ago. Before she ventured into metal, B was a rapper signed to Eazy E’s Ruthless Records. Her 1990 debut for the label, The Power of a Woman, was supposed to have a song called “I Ain’t Yo Bitch” to end the album. She instead decided to write her own version of the song, called “Ruthless Bitch,” which attacked Dre among, for other things, hitting women. As she tells the LA Weekly, he didn’t take the diss that well:
After hearing a studio version of it, a furious, drunken Dre confronted her at a post-Grammys party in 1990. They exchanged words, and then at one point, “He punched me in the eye. And when I didn’t go down, he punched me in the mouth.”
She declined to press charges, mainly because she wanted the record to still be released. Dre hasn’t commented on it, but the event was witnessed and confirmed by Tairrie’s former manager, and Dre was found guilty of assaulting TV host Dee Barnes later. Three years after the incident, Tairrie abandoned rap for the metal, with the rap-metal band Manhole, who changed their name to Tura Satana. After that band broke up, she formed My Ruin with her husband Mick Murphy. While she’s still in My Ruin, she just recently released her return to hip-hop, Vintage Curses, as a free download via her website. While Dre isn’t about to apologize for an event that happened a quarter of a century ago, Tairrie B. isn’t likely to forget.
[photo: Jodie Cunningham]