Dr. Walter Kimbrough’s audio interview post Dre-gate

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Dr. Walter Kimbrough comments on his LA Times Op-Ed about Dr. Dre’s donation to USC. I really enjoyed hearing Dr. Kimbrough’s perspective on the issue. In fact, it made a lot of sense after hearing some of the statistics and real life effect Dre’s donation could have had for an HBCU.

- Thanks to Dr. Boyce Watkins for snagging and recording this interview -

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Key Points:

  • – Dr. Kimbrough has 8.5 years experience as a University President.
  • – Educator/Mentor drenched every word spoke. I could feel his passion through the earbuds
  • – 2 months of interest off a $35 million dollar investment would pay for some HBCU’s expenses for the entire year. (WOW!)
  • – Dr. Dre, with this donation, is now the largest Black Higher Education philanthropist in history.
  • – Dr. Kimbrough considers Dr. Dre a peer, and fellow visionary. (I wonder who my peers/fellow visionaries will be 20 years from now…)
  • – USC is trying to fundraise 6 Billion dollars in a large capital campaign. In 1.5 years time, they have already raised more than the combined endowments of all HBCU’s.
  • – $35 million would double/triple/quadruple most HBCU’s endowments. This could easily transfer to more scholarship opportunities for students, resulting in less amounted debt.
  • – Dr. Kimbrough has discovered the Art of the Challenge. He views this experience ad an opportunity where he can challenge how he engages with potential donors. He also wants to challenge others to think about how they give to their community.
  • – [Everyone] should target their resources to help those that need it the most in their communities.
  • – Black entertainers [and everyday citizens] need to focus their giving to do the most good.

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Dr. Kimbrough really brought the message home for me here. I still commend Dre for doing something drastic and different, but I do see how this money could have been exponentially more impactful at an HBCU. What were some of the key points from your perspective? Share in the comments section.

Check out:

Dr Dre creates his own academic program at USC

Why didn’t Dr Dre give it to a black college?? – Walter Kimbrough

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Oladoyin Oladeru – Calls for black men to return as mentors

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Oladoyin Oladeru uses his platform to challenge other black men to return to their schools to mentor the young men. I love that Oladoyin started his own organization – Young Men at Peace to help spread his own message and set an example depicting what mentorship can look like. I’ve underlined a few key points about how Oladoyin went about creating his program. I wish he shared more details, but hopefully this wont be the last we hear from him and his push to get more black men to mentor. I can’t help but notice that at the age of 27, a lot of my distant and close peers are reaching a point in their lives where they see the need to help support and develop our younger generations. It’s empowering to know that there are people out there aware and willing to make a change in their communities as well.

Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/oladoyin-oladeru/memoirs-of-a-mentor-a-cal_b_3039856.html

Pdf: Oladoyin Oladeru: Memoirs of a Mentor: A Call for Black Men in College to Come Back to School

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Memoirs of a Mentor: A Call for Black Men in College to Come Back to School – Courtesy of the Huffington Post.

Clinton Global Initiative University 2013 Commitment-Maker; Epidemiology Major at University of Rochester. Growing up in the Bronx, violence was inescapable, with age offering no immunity. When I was in sixth grade, Gang members shot and killed two of my closest friends as we walked home from school one day. We were only 20 minutes from home.

It was the walk home that rocked my childhood, and in its wake, I could have easily succumbed to the fate of so many around me, who ended up in jail or in the grave.

But instead of getting derailed, I grew more determined to help end the senseless violence that plagues my community and many out there like mine. I am motivated by my backstory — and my current success as an epidemiologist-in-the-making at the University of Rochester, a participant at Clinton Global University 2013 (CGI U), and a Gates Millennium Scholar — to call other college-educated black men to action. I am walking proof that we can make a significant impact on the black youth in our communities. Through CGI U 2013, I am advancing the kind of mentorship that will ultimately save black men’s lives.

Inspired by Gandhi’s belief that “to reach real peace in the world we shall have to begin with the children,” I recently founded Young Men at Peace, an after-school nonviolence education and empowerment program for adolescent boys in the Rochester City School District, where black males graduate at the lowest rate in the country — a criminal 9 percent. Between 2009 and 2011, homicide was the leading cause of death among Rochester city youth, with African American males representing most of the victims.

I have seen firsthand that mentorship can play a transformative role in the development of young men who often get left behind. Therefore, I am charging minority college students all over the United States to reach out to the inner-city schools near their universities, and even their home states, to mentor underserved boys and girls. No matter how ordinary you think your achievements are (and I assure you they’re not), they allow you to offer youth a support system that is critical and unique. As a college student, you are capable of providing them with resources, connecting them to different opportunities, and offering them the inspiration to pursue a future beyond the options on their streets.

My relationship with a middle-school student I mentored through a local outreach program informed my decision as a college senior to launch Young Men at Peace. After doing research, I designed an intervention strategy with a focus on individualized mentoring, recruiting other undergrads to lead nonviolence education workshops based on the models for change I have developed.

My CGI U 2013 Commitment to Action will focus on implementing and growing this individualized mentorship for the boys at School No. 19 in Rochester. Every week, young undergraduate men from the University of Rochester lead workshops on topics such as the importance of education, what it means to be a man, tools for nonviolence, and the power of forgiveness. The workshops are fun and engaging, and through CGI University, I hope to not only expand them, but also make sure they live on long after I graduate.

The mentoring program has offered the kids something to looks forward to, but it has changed my life as well. I am no longer someone who watches and wonders why things happen; whether in my epidemiology or my mentorship, I directly participate in creating change.

But I can’t do it alone. I am calling on black men at colleges from coast to coast, in programs ranging from exercise science to engineering, to join me in mentoring youth in the world around them. As a black male who’s not only escaped the violence of the Bronx, but emerged as a leader through Young Men at Peace and CGI U, I urge others like me to engage in changing lives. Trust me, you won’t find a more rewarding endeavor after class.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the Clinton Global Initiative in recognition of the latter’s CGI University meeting (April 5-7 at Washington University in St. Louis). CGI University gathers top students and youth organizations to create innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. For more information, click here.

Why didn’t Dr Dre give it to a black college?? – Walter Kimbrough

Dr. Walter Kimbrough

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Dr. Walter Kimbrough, President of Dillard University and my fraternity brother, wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times in response to Dr Dre’s donation to the University of Southern California. Dr. Kimbrough loudly and clearly asks – why didn’t you donate your money to a black college? I do remember wondering for a second, why Dre chose USC  in particular for his donation as opposed to the many other schools he could choose from including an HBCU. As I read various articles about Dre and Jimmy’s venture to create their own college program, the ingenuity and inspiration to create overtook any other questions for me. With the Creative Dreamer Award for ISU, we were able to pinpoint how we wanted our award to be distributed even down to what we wanted the scholarship selection committee to look like. I find it difficult to criticize Dre’s motivation and/or donation without having a better understanding of the stipulations tied to the donation. I would be interested in getting a clearer look at how the money is expected to be used for.

Check out my original post about Dr Dre’s donation here

None the less, Dr. Kimbrough’s unique position as a college president for a HBCU amplifies and adds credence to his argument. This man, entrusted to develop the students at one of the nation’s premier black institutions for higher education, delivers a clear and unapologetic argument to Dre and other minorities in power. Surely, if anyone understands how $35 million dollars would impact a HBCU, Dr. Kimbrough would. His call to Dre ,and what I hope is not lost, call to Black people all over is to invest in ourselves and programs that we feel have helped make us who we are. Questioning Dre is not where your involvement in this should begin and end. Yes, we can question and challenge the motives of our celebrities and politicians, but that doesnt stop you from getting up and getting involved either. Let’s make sure we’re living up to the same high expectations we’re asking others to abide by.

Personally, I don’t feel I can question where Dre donates his money. The Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation still sounds like an amazing opportunity to influence young adults and create stimulating learning experiences for all those involved. Would $35 million  have been useful at an HBCU? Of course! But your $200 will be equally as useful at your high school, college, church, etc… Think of a program that has truly influenced who you are today. Think of a way you can give back to the people who currently use the program. Better yet persuade your family and friends to give back to the organization as well.

LA Times: Op-ed ArticlePDF: Why USC and not a black college, Dr. Dre

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By Walter M. Kimbrough

May 21, 2013

I was in Detroit preparing to give a speech last week when the news came across my Twitter feed: “Dr. Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine donate $70 million to USC to create new degree.” As one of the first university presidents from the hip-hop generation, I had to stop and read the story immediately.

The two music moguls and co-founders of Beats Electronics — recognizing that they needed a new type of creative talent for their growing music technology business — are funding a four-year program that blends liberal arts, graphic and product design, business and technology.

I understood their need to build a pool of skilled talent. But why at USC? Iovine’s daughter is an alum, sure. And he just gave its commencement address. Andre Young — before he was Dr. Dre — grew up in nearby Compton, where he rose to fame as part of the rap group N.W.A. The Beats headquarters are on L.A.’s Westside.

Still, what if Dre had given $35 million — his half of the USC gift and about 10% of his wealth, according to a Forbes estimate — to an institution that enrolls the very people who supported his career from the beginning? An institution where the majority of students are low-income? A place where $35 million would represent a truly transformational gift?

Why didn’t Dr. Dre give it to a black college?

Make no mistake: This donation is historic. It appears to be the largest gift by a black man to any college or university, comparable to the gift Bill Cosby and his wife, Camille, gave toSpelman College in 1988. Some 25 years later, their $20-million gift (about $39 million in inflation-adjusted dollars) is still the largest-ever private gift to a historically black college. Dre gave USC almost triple the amount Oprah Winfrey has given Morehouse College over the years. Sean “Diddy” Combs gave $500,000 to Howard University in 1999, which he attended before launching a successful career.

A hip-hop icon is now the new black higher-ed philanthropy king. We’ve never seen a donation to rival this from any black celebrity — musician, athlete or actor — and that fact must be celebrated.

But as the president of a black college, it pains me as well. I can’t help but wish that Dre’s wealth, generated as it was by his largely black hip-hop fans, was coming back to support that community.

USC is a great institution, no question. But it has a $3.5-billion endowment, the 21st largest in the nation and much more than every black college — combined. Less than 20% of USC’s student body qualifies for federal Pell Grants, given to students from low-income families, compared with two-thirds of those enrolled at black colleges. USC has also seen a steady decrease in black student enrollment, which is now below 5%.

A new report on black male athletes and racial inequities shows that only 2.2% of USC undergrads are black men, compared with 56% of its football and basketball teams, one of the largest disparities in the nation. And given USC’s $45,602 tuition next year, I’m confident Dre could have sponsored multiple full-ride scholarships to private black colleges for the cost of one at USC.

Maybe some suspect that a historically black college or university would not have the breadth or depth of expertise on its faculty to spearhead an innovative academy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This future Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation is to be multidisciplinary, with a technology focus. In 2011, the National Science Foundation noted that black colleges are a major source of scientists and engineers. In fact, the top five producers of blacks who go on to earn science, technology, engineering and math graduate degrees are black colleges, as are 20 of the top 50. Once you add in the musical legacy of black colleges’ choirs and marching bands, they are the perfect locations for an academy like this.

In the end, though, this is his money, and endowing a program geographically nearby, where he can have ongoing input and contact, makes sense. I do hope it will recruit and enroll a diverse class of students and not become some enclave for the already privileged student body there.

But more important, I hope this groundbreaking gift inspires other celebrities and musical artists to make similar donations to higher education. And that they will consider doing it in a manner that will be truly transformative. This gift is gravy for USC; for a black college, it would transform not just individuals but whole institutions and communities.

In the Detroit airport on my way home, I counted seven people sporting the stylish Beats by Dre headphones on the way to my gate. All seven were black men, like me. My own Dre earbuds were in my briefcase. I’m sure we all bought them not only to support Dr. Dre but because of the quality of the product.

My challenge is to figure out how to get Dr. Dre and others to listen as well, because when they support black colleges, they are also supporting a quality product.

Walter M. Kimbrough is the president of Dillard University, a liberal arts black college in New Orleans.

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Check out a spotlight featured on The Grio about Dr. Walter Kimbrough for more information about his background and role as an educator.

http://thegrio.com/2013/02/12/thegrios-100-walter-kimbrough-the-hip-hop-college-president/

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Art of War Art Battle Wrap Up

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The Art of War Art Battle was a success! My frat brother (right) and I (left) are the bookends in the photo. We teamed up with the two lovely ladies from CORE to hold a joint fundraiser. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was starting an organization – Creative Dreamers with my boy.

The art battle was a great way for us to introduce ourselves to New York City. I still don’t really know what to say about the event that hasn’t been added in previous posts. I’ll say that it turned out far better than anyone could have imagined. The visual artists were amazing and their original pieces were unique and great quality, the music acts showed up and showed out, the DJ was playing great music, the crowd was live and engaged, overall everything came together in a great showing of creativity and passion. I’m super proud of my group. Here are just a few pictures from the night. I have a tendency to fall behind the scenes and work work work – which is why you’ll only see me in a handful of pictures in the album. But I promise you I was there mingling and trying to keep things running smoothly for the guests and volunteers. Check out the rest of the pictures here: http://tinyurl.com/ArtofWarArtBattleSpring2013

Thank you to everyone that came out and supported the event! It was a labor of love that took 4 months to plan and implement from day one. My team met once a week to plan out each step of the event from the venue, the artists, the music, the photographer, the videographer, the graphics, personal investments, supplies, themes, etc…

Why did I do this event – I’m not a fan of being in the public eye, or the center of attention. But as I grow this platform or Skool Haze and Creative Dreamers I think its important to get comfortable putting myself out there and facing challenges and my weaknesses head on. Hosting my own event has never really been something I’ve wanted to do, which is exactly why I felt I needed to put my modesty aside and see what I could do when I pushed myself. I challenge my students all the time to do something they never thought they could do, and this was my version of that challenge for myself.

What was hard about the event – The hardest thing about the Art of War Art Battle was planning for the event every week. The planning itself wasn’t hard, and doing the work of finding and communicating with artists and volunteers wasn’t hard. But the event took a lot of effort to plan each week. At times I questioned whether I added too much to my plate, especially as the event drew closer. I would say the last week in preparation for the event was the most stressed I have felt throughout my entire time here in NYC.

How did I cope with the added pressure – Honestly, I just dealt with it. I don’t know if it’s the athlete in me, or the frat boy in me, or the determination within me. But I hate feeling like I don’t want to do something. I always feel like I’m missing out on something better and greater, which is a no-no for me right now. Once I realize I don’t want to do something because it’s challenging I usually am able to take that energy and direct it specifically at the challenge itself. I think it helped that I had a team of 3 people I was working with. It seemed like it was a challenge for all of us, but we were in it together to see it through.

Why I’m sharing this , Why would anyone care – Well I don’t know if anyone cares. There’s a good chance that some don’t. But, I think its important that people see that this is something I actually thought played to a few areas that I’m actually self conscious about. This event was a support for the scholarship which is something that I’ve wanted to do forever. I wanted to make sure that the scholarship became a reality and not just another thing on my own bucket list that I let sit dormant for decades without even attempting to make it happen. My hope is that you will see this, think about something you’ve always wanted to do in your life, and get energized to start making it actually happen. Whether its going back to school, finding a new job, starting your own organization, talking to someone you’ve been avoiding for a while, saving money, whatever that thing is that you’ve been holding off on doing……. DO THAT SHIT!

What I learned in the process – Well, I learned that with the proper planning and energy I can put together a super nice event. I learned that I need to be willing to drop the shy/modest card when trying to have a successful event/program. I learned that details are important when trying to put together an event with other people. I learned that my teaching/nonprofit/and pr skills come in handy when thinking of recognition, presentation, communication between event staff and volunteers/participants/guests/sponsors. I learned that it feels good to push myself and come out with something better than I could have even imagined. I learned that people LOVE to watch art be created live, LoL. I learned…. that me and my group work very well together, regardless of the behind the scenes disagreements we faced. I learned that facing a challenge could reap amazing results.

What are our next steps – Well, right now we’re continuing to build up Creative Dreamers Organization. We’re also thinking about our next steps in regards to programming and events. Overall, more challenges and more activities geared toward empowerment. And of course we’re still fundraising for our Creative Dreamer Award.

Dr Dre creates his own academic program at USC

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This is another article I stumbled across this week. It was inspiring seeing Dr. Dre and his business partner create an opportunity to inspire people out of nowhere. I don’t have $70 million, but I do think I should be just as creative when it comes to thinking of new ways to connect with people and empower them with knowledge and stimulate them into action. I showed this article to my students and had them try to create community programs they would like to invest money into. The assignment went over most of their heads, but a few did give  thoughtful responses about community programs they would like to see come to life.

I’ve heard varying reports about how much money Dre donated to the endowment, anywhere from $1 million – $35 million have been suggested. Never-the-less I like that he’s out there creating opportunity for others, and not just himself. I also like that this came out of left field in a way. Prior to this I wouldn’t have guessed Dre would be the type to give in such an academic way.

It’s been really interesting seeing how black celebrities and public figures have gone about their own service projects. I’ve been on a hunt lately for innovative and creative examples of cost effective and advantageous  community projects. As my partner and I think about what our next steps our for Creative Dreamers its helpful reading articles like this to help me see where we need to steer ourselves. My only wish is that I could see what some of the behind the scenes meetings and brainstorm sessions looked like. I’ld love to see what it looks like while they’re out there getting the real work done behind closed doors. I know that right now Creative Dreamers Award isn’t going to completely change the landscape of Indiana State University, and its student body. However, its a start. Its going to be great trying to build up to a point where I am able to have a beneficial and impactful (made-up) and exceptionally positive effect on people and institutions like Dre.

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I’ve attached a more detailed New York Times article about the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation below. A pdf version is also available for those of you on a mobile device.

Two Musical Minds Seek a Different Kind of Mogul

NY Times Article By 

LOS ANGELES — The record producer Jimmy Iovine and his business partner Dr. Dre have a keen eye for talent. After all, Mr. Iovine discovered Dr. Dre when he was just Andre Young, and between them, the two have jump-started the careers of stars ranging from Lady Gaga to 50 Cent to the Black Eyed Peas.

Now they think they can help create the next Steve Jobs.

The music moguls, who founded the wildly popular Beats headphone business, are giving $70 million to the University of Southern California to create a degree that blends business, marketing, product development, design and liberal arts. The gift is relatively modest, as donations to universities go. But the founders’ ambitions are lofty, as they explained in an interview Monday in the elaborate presidential dining room on the lush U.S.C. campus.

“If the next start-up that becomes Facebook happens to be one of our kids, that’s what we are looking for,” said Mr. Iovine, an energetic 60-year-old dressed in his trademark uniform of T-shirt and fitted jeans, faded baseball hat and blue-tinted eyeglasses.

Like many celebrities, Mr. Iovine and Dr. Dre have been seduced by the siren call of the tech world, which has lured celebrities likeJustin BieberTyra Banks and Leonardo DiCaprio to finance a start-up or develop their own idea. They have had more success than most with Beats, a private company that they say makes $1 billion in sales annually.

Still, the world of academia is far from familiar to Mr. Iovine and Dr. Dre. Neither went to college. And during the interview, Mr. Iovine confessed more than once that he was “out of my depth” when it came to discussing details of the program. He referred those questions to Erica Muhl, dean of the university’s fine arts school, who will be the inaugural director of the program and in charge of devising the curriculum, selecting professors and reviewing applications.

Dr. Dre, 48, svelte and relaxed in black jeans and a black sweater that just barely concealed a faded forearm tattoo, has an easy rapport with Mr. Iovine, and was content to let him do most of the talking. The rapper nodded often, ate chocolate chip cookies with evident pleasure, and chimed in occasionally. When he did, he chose his words carefully.

As a rapper, Dr. Dre was lauded for his blend of agile West Coast lyrics and rich, blunt beats; asked if he ever expected as a young performer that he would help start a university program, he leaned forward and laughed long and hard.

“Never in a million years,” he said.

But he and Mr. Iovine are betting that their instinct and keen ears — which helped Mr. Iovine find and sign Dr. Dre who, in turn, ferreted out Snoop Dogg and Eminem when they were budding musicians — will help them find future chief executives.

It doesn’t matter whether it is the next Gwen Stefani, Mr. Iovine said, whom he signed at 19, or recruiting and nurturing the next Marissa Mayer.

“Talent is talent,” he said.

The details of the four-year program, officially the U.S.C. Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, are still being completed. The first class of 25 students will enter in fall 2014, selected for their academic achievement, the university said, as well as their ability for “original thought.”

At the core of the curriculum is something called “the Garage,” which will require seniors to essentially set up a business prototype. It appears to be inspired by technology incubators like Y-Combinator and universities like Stanford that encourage students to develop and pitch start-up ideas as class assignments.

“I feel like this is the biggest, most exciting and probably the most important thing that I’ve done in my career,” Dr. Dre said.

Part of the endowment includes several full scholarships, he said, to help a financially disadvantaged students to “go on to do something that could potentially change the world.”

Still, the $70 million endowment, to which Mr. Iovine and Dr. Dre contributed equally, does not rank high among gifts to universities; for example, in 2012, Stanford raised over $1 billion from donors, $304.3 million of which was designated for research and programs.

U.S.C. has received larger gifts from other donors in recent years. But Rae Goldsmith, the vice president for resources of the Council of Advancement and Support of Education, which tracks donations above $100 million to colleges and universities, said that regardless of the size the donation was meaningful because it was rare for donors to establish new departments and courses of study.

“This kind of gift can be helpful in achieving one overall goal of the institution,” she said. “It’s certainly noteworthy.”

In the rarefied tech world, $70 million is a drop in the bucket. Last May, Evernote, a note-taking app, raised the same amount in a round of venture capital.

But C. L. Max Nikias, the university’s president, said the size of the gift would fully support the new program, and would leave a legacy that would “make a difference in society.”

The idea for the program came to Mr. Iovine and Dr. Dre not long after creating the Beats company, when they found themselves with a problem familiar to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs: the rapidly depleting reservoir of potential employees, including software engineers and marketing savants.

“It came out of us trying to find people to work for us,” Mr. Iovine said.

They hope that the program will supply not only future employees for Beats’ current business, but also for a new venture, a streaming music service, Beats Music, that is expected to make its debut later this year.

Mr. Iovine compared their thinking to the approach to a typical business problem of “how do we make the best product?”

“In this case,” he said, “the kids are the product.”

Mr. Iovine said that over the course of their partnership, he has run many other ideas by Dr. Dre.

“Usually Dre is like ennhhhhhh,” he said, mimicking the sound of a bleating buzzer used to signify halftime or a wrong answer during a game show. But when it came to this idea, Dr. Dre’s curiosity was piqued.

“The last time he reacted like that was Beats,” Mr. Iovine said.

The university has played an important role in both Mr. Iovine’s and Dr. Dre’s lives. Mr. Iovine’s daughter completed her undergraduate studies there; on Friday, he is delivering the class of 2013 commencement speech. Perhaps more important, the school is fewer than a dozen miles from where Dr. Dre grew up in Compton.

Mr. Iovine acknowledged that their plan was ambitious but said the pair were not afraid to take risks.

“We have no idea where this is going,” he said.

Dr. Dre said, “It’s definitely a steppingstone to something.” And Mr. Iovine jumped in, finishing the thought, “We’re not quite sure what it is.”