The Defiant Ones is a 4 part documentary mini-series that takes an exhaustive and in-depth look into the lives of Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine and how they became such a prominent force in the music industry. Featuring an array of face to face interviews and archival footage from the 80s right through to the birth of streaming giants like iTunes and Spotify, The Defiant Ones is as visually pleasing as it is gripping and interesting. With a little more focus on the negative stigma around both men and a more in-depth look at some of the low points in both men’s lives The Defiant One could easily be the best documentary series to be released in quite some time but the biased approach does dampen what’s otherwise a very good series.
Beginning with Apple’s acquisition of Beatz headphones, The Defiant Ones begins with the modern-day success of Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine before jumping back in time to the early childhood of both men and how they got into the music industry. There’s some really interesting archival footage of Dr Dre DJing, accompanied by interviews with his Mum and various figureheads in the industry discussing his early roots of music and hustling at school. Contrasting this, Jimmy’s journey from catholic school and a chance encounter on Easter Sunday that sees his destiny geared toward producing, setting both men on a path into greatness. As the series progresses, the documentary takes an in-depth look into the formation and eventual collapse of the NWA, Dr Dre finding Eminem and the challenges facing the music industry today.
Although some of the negative moments in Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s careers are touched on, there’s never a period of time where these moments are explored with any great detail making this strictly a celebration of their lives rather than an impartial view of their careers. If you go into this knowing there’s going to be a lack of an objectionable view you’ll probably get more out of this but for those looking for a true account or an honest discussion around the pressure on Jimmy’s Interscope Records, Dr Dre’s numerous prison sentences, the feud between the West and East Coast and more you won’t find it here.
The staggering bias toward Apple in the final part, convincing us that Apple came up with the idea of streaming music and revolutionised the industry (they didn’t, the concept was formed back in 1996) is a little annoying too in an otherwise solid documentary series. The cinematography and sound design in this is outstanding too. From the cleverly worked sound effects to the slick editing right through to the music accompanying the four parts, there’s no denying that The Defiant Ones is a very well produced series.
Anyone looking for an in-depth look at Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s lives or a brief history of hip hop during this period of time will love this documentary. Boasting great cinematography and a fuse of rock and hip-hop tracks throughout, this four-part mini-series is as visually pleasing as it is informative. The lack of an objective viewpoint is a little disappointing and the lavish praise on Apple is a little jarring too but aside from these slight annoyances, The Defiant Ones is a solid documentary series and a great look at the history of hip hop and these two pioneers of the music industry.