I GOT THE FLAVA
You’ve definitely seen the stickers and maybe been to the parties, but do you know about the history of Dre Day? On the occasion of the 13th annual Dre Day, we talk with Mike Davis of Burlesque of North America about turning Dr. Dre’s birthday into a national celebration.
What is Dre Day? When is Dre Day? and How did it begin?
Dre Day is an annual celebration of one of the most prolific and influential hip hop artists of all time: Dr. Dre. Like a lot of our best ideas, the idea for the party started with just some shit-talking and goofing off around the studio. Around late 2002, the crew from Life Sucks Die magazine was transitioning out of working on the magazine and into building a design studio known as Burlesque of North America. LSD alum Andrew Broder was in the office talking with Wes Winship and George Thompson about his upcoming single “What a Day Day” by his band Fog. I was living in St. Louis at the time. The three guys were just randomly blurting out other “Day’s” and Andrew said something about “What a Dre Day.” He left the office to go about the rest of his day. A light bulb went off in Wes’s head and he ran downstairs, stopped Andrew in the lobby and started brainstorming ideas for Dre Day. What and when would it be? How would we celebrate this icon of rap music and how could we turn his birthday into a national holiday?
The first party was February 18th (Dr. Dre’s birthday), 2003 at 7th Street Entry in downtown Minneapolis. Local DJs spun Dre-related classics from World Class Wrecking Cru to The Chronic to “Straight Outta Compton” to Get Rich Or Die Tryin. Twin cities punk icons Dillinger Four performed, we played the $20 Sack Pyramid live on stage, there was cake, fake Dre memorabilia, and the first ever Dr. Dre sticker pack featuring lyrics from The Chronic and faces of Dre / Snoop / Steven Tyler / etc all served up in a dimebag.
Life Sucks Die was a great mag. So how did the sticker packs come together? Was there a committee approach to selecting the best lyrics from ‘Chronic’? Also, can you talk about the experimental format years in 2004 & 2005?
The LSD crew had been doing packs of screenprinted stickers for years. The most recent packs leading up to the advent of Dre Day featured phrases like “I like the Whopper. Fuck the Big Mac,” “Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?” and “Honk if you eat dead babies,” so the jump to doing something text-based with rap lyrics was pretty logical. For the first year, the idea was to make the pack look like a dimebag and feature lyrics just from “The Chronic.” In 2004, we wanted to try something different, so we changed the shape to square and used lyrics just from “The Chronic 2001.” Same thing in 2005 – just try something different with larger sized stickers. In 2006 and beyond, we went back to the dimebag sized stickers – a tried and true format. We’re almost 300 different stickers deep into it, so Dre better drop “The Detox” or we’ll run out of lyrics to use!
As eaten by astronaut Terry Virts.
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La la la… la la la… looks like Pee-wee Herman has a new movie coming out directly to Netflix. For Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, Pee-wee will go on vacation for the first time ever after being inspired by “a fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger.” It’s pegged as an “epic story of friendship and destiny.” Production begins March 2015.
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