Many creative people direct their emotions and personal experiences into their work. So it has been for entrepreneur, producer, and rapper Dr. Dre. The tragic loss of this music powerhouse’s two brothers, Jerome and Tyree, has emerged in his art, sometimes in openly heartrending ways. It seems as if Dr. Dre has transformed sorrow into a constructive force in his life.
Dr. Dre’s Brother Jerome Died Of Pneumonia When Dre Was Only 1 Year Old
Jerome Crayon was Dr. Dre’s half-brother—the son of Dre’s mother, Verna Young, and Curtis Crayon. Verna was previously married to Dre’s biological father but the two separated in 1968. Tragically, Jerome passed away due to complications suffered during a bout of pneumonia in infancy. Dre was only one year old at the time of Jerome’s death, but it affected him greatly.
His Half-Brother, Tyree, Died After Being Attacked In 1989
Dr. Dre’s other half-brother was Tyree Crayon, whose mother was also Verna Young. When Tyree was 21 years old, he was attacked by an unknown assailant in Compton, California. The attack left Tyree with a broken neck, which tragically caused his death.
Tyree’s death is still cloaked in mystery all these years later. Tyree was speculated to have been affiliated with The Crips, but aside from a few sketchy facts, little has emerged about what led to Tyree’s fatal injury.
Crime website Savagewatch set out for long-awaited answers in 2021. They reached out to many agencies including the Los Angeles Sheriff Department, the Los Angeles Police Department Cold Case Unit, and the Compton Unit of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, plus state offices that deal with criminal matters. After all that digging, nothing of substance was unearthed that clarified Tyree’s fate or pointed to the identity of his attacker(s).
One can only guess at the feelings Dr. Dre must have if no one has ever or will ever be held accountable for Tyree’s death. He laid bare the magnitude of his love for Tyree in an interview with blackdoctor: “My brother was my best friend…He was my life.”
Dre Has Turned His Pain Into Art
In the lyrics of his song “The Message,” Dr. Dre expressed his deep, never-ending brotherly affection for Tyree yet again:
“Crying, pouring out my heart, pouring out liquor behind it
We fought like brothers, something we never should do
We coulda used time spent arguing telling the truth
He had talent too—I had plans on watching him grow
Don’t know what hurts more—seeing him leave, or watching him go”
He told The Times of London that he believes his loss has driven his creativity, and he has avoided therapy for fear it might undermine his rap.
“’There’s this certain pain that I feel—and I don’t know if it’s because of my brother’s death, or (other) deaths in the family—but it’s this thing,’” he told The Times [of London].”
“I’m not sure if I should get rid of it. I don’t know if that’s where my talent lies, or my passion lies for what I do,” he explained. “I’ve been actually asked to talk about it and go to therapy and what have you, but I’m not sure that’s something I wanna do. Because I don’t think I should change it.”