Chasing the Hood Surgeon: On finding a son of Dr. Dre

In 2006, after reading online that Dr. Dre had a son recording tracks under the name Hood Surgeon, I got the hair brain idea I would find him and write about it for the L.A. Times.

It was an experience that gave me some good practice as a reporter. I tracked him down all the way to a home-built recording studio in Corona, CA. I also got a hold of his sister, Manaj, who was also trying to become a recording artist, charging that her bloodline to Dr. Dre gave her the right. Both were telling me that dad wouldn´t help them get on. Worst of all, after I did all the interviews and running around and writing, nobody wanted to touch my work, either.

A couple reporters at the paper tried to help me out. Zilch, nada.  Nobody cared about Dre´s offspring. All they cared about was, ¨When is Detox coming out?¨

So, here I present to you gentle reader, in all of its unedited, 2006 glory my never-ran story on Dr. Dre´s two kids. Enjoy

¶    Inside the tiny recording booth, above a custom detail shop in the Inland Empire, a young man, at least 6’2, raps into a microphone. His back to the Plexiglas partition, he rhymes fiercely. Starting and stopping…assuring clarity in ever phrase.
“Stop. Go Back,” says the recording engineer, Rik Brown. “Hear the kick?”
It’s a process that takes longer to complete than one would imagine. How hard is it to rhyme into a microphone?
Using the moniker, “Hood Surgeon,” the rapper, born Curtis McClemore (he likes to tell people it´s young, but CA business records show otherwise), needs a deft hand to continue a legacy that has defined rap music in the West.

A fan of 90’s rap music, McClemore says he always was a fan of N.W.A’s music, but he also held admiration for East Coast rap. “I ain’t gonna lie, I grew up on Wu-Tang. I used to like how they put their lyrics together.”

“I thought the East Coast was the ones. Then when I found out,” he says referring to when his mother told him who his famous father was, “I was like, ‘the West,’ this is where it is.”

He said as he delved into the music characterized by the G-Funk sound made so famous by his father.

It was a zeitgeist for him, at 12, finding out he was Dr Dre’s first-born, “It pushed me harder. I said I was going to meet him one day.”

Long Road to meet his father

To the left of a flat panel computer screen showing Pro Tools rests a picture with a thin black frame. In it, Dr Dre stands next to a slightly taller version of himself, Curtis. It was at the “8-Mile” premier.
The picture shows a strange mix of nervous familiarity, and in some way resembles the kind of unfamiliarity a fan might share with his idol. It also exists on his myspace page. Further proof that he is who he claims to be.

Unlike his half-sister Latoya Young, who says that she’s always known who her father was, “Since I was 3.”
McClemore, who likes to say his last name is Young, didn’t meet Dr Dre until he hit legal drinking age.
“It’s like crazy growing up, not knowing who your real dad is, ” he says.

From his early 20’s, Dr Dre has documented his gritty upbringing on the streets of Compton. A founding member of seminal gangster-rap collective, N.W.A, Dre is often credited with creating the ever popular West Coast ‘G-Funk,’ a synth-heavy sound with a deep bass line that recalls the beauty and danger of California life.

McClemore, born in 1981, would have been born when Dre was 16.

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