For the first time in 16 years, the world got to hear a new album from Dr. Dre. Compton: A Soundtrack By Dr. Dre reintroduced the legendary Los Angeles producer as an artist to a new generation of music fans. The project was also responsible for shining a light on the crop of up-and-coming performers Anderson .Paak, King Mez, and Justus.
Another young talent that has emerged from the creation of Compton is Andrew “Drewski” Corria. The 26-year-old Providence, Rhode Island native went from throwing parties in high school to serving as A&R Coordinator on Dre’s third studio LP.
In early 2014, Corria relocated to L.A. without a job or a place to live waiting for him. Fortunately, his prior close relationship with Mez eventually led to Drewski meeting Tyheim “Ty” Cannon – head of A&R at Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment. Cannon later took Corria under his wing and eventually assigned him the duty of helping to find production and artist placement for Compton.
AllHipHop.com spoke with Corria about his role in crafting the sound of Compton: A Soundtrack By Dr. Dre and the unexpected journey his life has taken over the last year.
At what point did you join the process in the creation of Compton?
There were probably two records on the album that were made before I was around the situation. Dre was inspired on the set of Straight Outta Compton. He would leave the movie set at night and go straight to the studio to work on music. He would show us dailies, then go in the lab and create some amazing music.
As an A&R, you were responsible for finding production and talent for the album.
Yeah, I was assisting Ty with that.
With this being Dre’s first album in 16 years, what was the process for deciding what sounds and artists you were going to present to Dre for possible placement on the album?
Before I got the official title from Ty, I’d just be in the studio hearing things they’re working on, beats that are getting shot down, and beats that were lifting their ears up. Being around that for months conditioned my ears to be able to find stuff they might have been interested in. That’s how I figured out how to hear something and say, “Dre might be interested in this.”
Do you remember a particular track that stood out to you that actually made the album?
“Animal” is actually a song that I heard and thought, “They have to hear this.” I kind of brought Anderson into the whole situation with Dre. Tay had talked about him to Dre, but he probably had not played him the right record.
I was a fan of his groupmate Knxwledge. They’re in the group Nxworries. I follow him on Soundcloud. They had one song out called “Suede,” and I’m a huge fan of the record.
Mez, Justus, Ty, The D.O.C, and Dre were all in the studio. I plugged up for my phone and played the song. They were all messing with the record. Ty had a relationship with Anderson’s manager Adrian, and he called him in. I think the first song they worked on was “All In A Days Work.”
Anderson went to Russia to do a show with DJ Premier. They worked on some records while out there. When they came back, Adrian was playing me stuff. Then he played “Animal” which had another title at the time. I said, “This song is amazing. We have to play this for Dre.”
Everyone piled in the studio, and I played it. It went from Dre thinking the song was dope to him saying, “I want to work on this song with you or whatever you’re doing with it.” Then it went to “Can I have this for the album?” They said of course. After that DJ Premier flew out to work on the record, and it’s now what you hear today.
You have a good relationship with Mez. He actually has the first verse on the album. Has he ever talked you about finding out he’d actually be the opening rapper on Compton?
He was really excited about it. Ty got the song from DJ Dahi. They had Mez do some yelling on it which he’s not really known for, but it sounded amazing. Then they said this is how the album has to start off – super aggressive with energy. I’m very happy for him. He’s a very good friend of mine.
The way it transitioned from “Intro” to “Talk About It” was dope. Especially because people probably were not as familiar with Mez. So for him to be the first voice you hear is impactful.
I think that’s one of the things Dre does best. He finds brand new talent, and they become huge artists. From Snoop all the way to Kendrick, his track record is pretty good. I think all the new people on the album – from Justus to Mez to Anderson – are all going to be really big acts in the future.
Is there any talk about Mez and Anderson officially joining Aftermath?
I’m not sure. That’s not my place to say. I know they have a really good relationship, and we’ll see what happens. I can’t confirm nor deny that’s going to happen.
Is Justus officially signed?
Not as of yet. The only person signed is Jon Connor who also did an amazing job on the album.
There’s been a few albums to come from Aftermath this year – Dre, Kendrick. The Southpaw soundtrack was through Shady Records/Interscope, but it was still an Eminem produced project. What about Jon? Can we expect a project from him in the near future?
I know he’s in the studio working on his album, so it should be out. I don’t know when, but you can expect music from Jon. Everything was focused on Dre, but now that that’s out, he’s resetting.
He even says after he puts out music he doesn’t listen to it anymore. He just starts working on the next thing. Even with the 16 year hiatus from putting out an album, he’s been working on music that whole time.
Were you able to listen to any of the songs that were going to be on Detox?
I might have heard one or two songs that they said possibly could have been on Detox. I thought they sounded phenomenal. Dre’s a genius, and he’s very particular about how things sound. I feel like he has that ear no one else has. He knows what he wants, and like he said on The Pharmacy, he didn’t think [Detox] was good enough to come out.
You seem to have a good ear too. You connected with Anderson and Mez. Are there any other up-and-coming artists that are on your radar?
I appreciate you bigging up my ear. I’m just trying to learn from Dre and Ty. In the 11 months that I’ve been there, I’ve been trying to soak everything up and learn as much as I can.
As far as other artists on my radar, there’s two acts from back home that I really dig. One is a group called Code Green. They have a song called “Too Silly.” There’s another artist from back home named Zumo Kollie. He’s a dope lyricist.
That dude Roy Woods who signed with OVO, I dig his music. Post Malone is super dope. There’s this other dude from my region – Cousin Stizz. He’s out of Boston. He has a record called “No Bells” that I like a lot.
You said it’s been eleven months since you joined with Aftermath. As you sit back and reflect on how much your life has changed in a year, what do you think about?
I don’t know if I’m lucky or super blessed, but it’s amazing to see everything go so fast. I was very confident I’d be successful. I knew I was going to come to L.A. and do some really cool stuff. I didn’t know what it would be, but I knew – no matter what – I was going to be successful.
I never thought in a million years I’d have A&R credit on Dr. Dre’s third and final album. I’m just taking it day-by-day. I’m very thankful for everything. I’m thankful to Ty who gave me a chance. I didn’t have too much experience as a music executive on that level. But I guess he saw something in me to give me a chance, and I really appreciate it.
Same thing with Mez. He didn’t have to bring me to the studio. He was super supportive. Big shout out to those dudes. And obviously my friends and family. I moved out here with no job, no place to stay. I had to figure it out. Honestly, I’m still figuring it out. I want to keep moving forward.
[ALSO READ: Dr. Dre To Donate Royalties From “Compton: A Soundtrack” To Fund Children’s Art Facility]
Purchase Dr. Dre’s Compton on iTunes.