The Defiant Ones is a docu-series that recently premiered on HBO. It chronicles not just the individual ascensions of Interscope Records founder Jimmy Iovine and hip-hop legend Dr. Dre, but also how their unlikely partnership brought them both to new heights. Together the two put out countless hits, but also went on to create the ubiquitous Beats by Dre, which was famously acquired by Apple, and more famously made them billionaires.
If you haven’t seen the series yet – do so. It’s can’t miss television for music lovers as it provides an inside look on how their careers evolved and the unlikely partnership transpired, peppered with testimonies and anecdotes from the likes of Bono, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty to Snoop Dog, Diddy and Gwen Stefani. Yet, one subliminal bonus of this series is the career/life advice provided by all of the aforementioned. In his most recent release “The Story of O.J.”, Jay-Z rhymes “I’m trying to give you a million dollars of game for 9.99”. Here are the ways the The Defiant Ones does just that.
1. Hard Work
In part one of the series, in an interview with Jimmy Iovine he chronicles the endless hours he logged in the studio working with Bruce Springsteen. Almost to a point of insanity – three weeks alone were spent simply trying to perfect a drum beat. But, he also notes: “Bruce taught me a work ethic. I had to work harder than the next guy, just to do as well as the next guy. And to do better than the next guy I had to kill.”
It’s now clear to all that the work paid off, yet the series shows the unknowing and short term positive effects. First, after seeing his work ethic Iovine now had an ally in Bruce Springsteen for life. Being able to pick up a phone and call Springsteen is quite an ace to have in your deck. Second, at the time, and unbeknownst to Iovine a certain punk artist was watching from afar. That artist was Patti Smith. She noticed Iovine’s grind and when she needed a producer, she called on him. Their collab would spawn his and her very first top 10 hit “Because the Night”. BTW, that drum beat Iovine spent three weeks perfecting just happened to be for a little song called “Born to Run.”
The Lesson: Grind it out, even when you think no one is watching.
Throughout the series various colleagues Iovine and Dre, – Diddy, Bono, Ice Cube and Gwen Stefani comment on what is perhaps common trait both men share. Their relentless pursuit of their passions. For Dre it’s the never-ending pursuit of perfectionism in his music and for Iovine its the relentless pursuit of whatever business deal he has going at the moment.
The Lesson: Best summed up by Bruce Springsteen “If you want to accomplish something that hasn’t been accomplished you have to be relentlessly and unapologetically determined.”