Former Interscope head Jimmy Iovine has been named GQ’s “Icon Of The Year.”
Along with the honor, the music industry veteran did an interview with the mag, where he discussed, among other things, 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,” Iovine explained. “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.’ ”
As the interview continued, Iovine referred to their bond as being in a band.
“Just my relationship with Dre, I want to make sure that’s — ’cause that’s really a special thing,” he said. “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 interview, Iovine detailed how he first came across Eminem back in 1998, crediting his-then temporary assistant.
“In 1998, Death Row was exploding,” he said. “Pac got killed just before. Everything was f*ckin’ 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 f*ck 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.