On the Beat

Apex producer D.R.U.G.S. Beats lands Dr. Dre production credit

Dorian Norman is D.R.U.G.S. Beats.
Dorian Norman is D.R.U.G.S. Beats.

“Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre” (iTunes/Apple Music) was released on Friday, featuring Raleigh native King Mez on three tracks -- but that ain’t all. One of those tracks, “Darkside/Gone,” has another North Carolina connection, co-production by local deejay D.R.U.G.S. Beats.

D.R.U.G.S. stands for Dope. Real. Underground. Sound. It’s the working handle of Dorian Norman, 38, who lives in Apex.

Norman produced the “Gone” portion of the track, which has vocal star turns from Kendrick Lamar and Floetry’s Marsha Ambrosius alongside Mez. The beat that would become part of “Gone” first made the rounds in Los Angeles on a mix tape, and it got onto Dr. Dre’s radar by happenstance.

“That beat had a life of its own out there and made it into the hands of another friend, a producer signed to Aftermath (Entertainment) named Focus,” Norman said. “He was playing it in the studio, Dre walked in and asked, ‘What’s that?’ And it went from there.”

Norman is originally from Atlanta and moved to North Carolina in 2011, drawn by the slower pace and better environment for raising his five kids. Thanks to studio technology and the internet, he’s been able to do pretty well working remotely from the main music-industry hubs of New York and Los Angeles.

Previously, Norman scored some credits in New York rapper 50 Cent’s G-Unit orbit, including beats for a Lloyd Banks track as well as 50 Cent’s 2012 single “I Just Wanna.” But “Compton” is his biggest yet, even if he didn’t get to be in the studio while his beat was being incorporated into the song.

“I wish I was, that definitely would have completed the dream,” he said with a laugh.

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