Why Dr. Dre Turned Down Collaborations with Michael Jackson, Prince, and Stevie Wonder

Dr. Dre Michael Jackson
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Dr. Dre Michael Jackson
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Photo Credit: Jason Persse / CC by 2.0

Dr. Dre reveals why he turned down the chance to work with his music heroes, such as Michael Jackson, Prince, and Stevie Wonder.

During a recent interview on Kevin Hart’s “Hart to Heart” talk show, Dr. Dre explained why he rejected the opportunity to work with late music icons Michael Jackson, Prince, and Stevie Wonder — the legendary producer didn’t know what he would do with them.

“They just asked me to work with them, and I just was like, ‘What the f*** am I going to do with them?’ Those are my f***ing heroes,” said Dre.

“I like the idea of what I grew up listening to, and I want to keep it like that. And I don’t want to f*** up that idea and that look,” Dre continues, explaining that he prefers working with new and upcoming artists as opposed to stars with already-established careers, gravitating toward artists like Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, and Eminem, all of whom he helped establish in their early days.

“My entire life and career has been dealing with and working with new artists. That’s what I like,” Dre said. “Nobody comes in with an agenda. It’s a ball of clay when they walk in the room. You can just form it and do what you want. That’s what I want.”

“Everybody else, especially my heroes, they’re coming in, and there’s a set plan as to how the sh*t should sound, you know? I can’t explore,” he added.

Dre expressed the same sentiment in a 2001 interview with MTV Radio about turning down the chance to produce Michael Jackson’s Invincible, at the time the artist’s first album in over a decade.

“Somebody approached me about working with Michael Jackson, and I did say no because I like working with new artists or people that I’ve worked with in the past,” he said. “I can develop them from the ground up. There’s no set standard that I have to live up to or anything like that.”

Dr. Dre is geared up to reunite with Snoop Dogg for a pair of shows at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in October, celebrating the 30th anniversary of Snoop’s debut album, Doggystyle. However, those shows are on hold while the WGA strike is on.