Dr. Dre was a hot commodity in the’90s, co-founding Death Row Records and being pivotal in the label releasing multiple multi-platinum albums, including his own debut The Chronic. While his story is well-documented, things could have played out very differently for the West Coast legend, as recently revealed by his lawyer Peter Paterno.
During a visit to Samson Shulman’s Connection Is Magic podcast, Paterno revealed that Disney was willing to throw him $4 million after The Chronic topped the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album chart and racked up two Hot 100 hits. Paterno, previously the president of Disney’s Hollywood Records from 1990 to 1993, said “We’d have these music meetings every week with Michael Eisner at Disney, and Michael Eisner came by and he sees the record’s at No. 1 and he goes, ‘I thought you had a relationship with this guy?’”
Upon digging further into Dre’s lyrical content — and the fact The Chronic‘s cover art featured a marijuana leaf — Eisner decided against pursuing the rapper-producer any further. In hindsight, Eisner likely regrets that move, as Dr. Dre went on to launch Aftermath Entertainment and release his successful solo album 2001 before earning space in the 2016 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction class alongside N.W.A.
Check out the clip of Peter Paterno telling the story on Connection Is Magic above.