The 57-year-old rapper and producer said he was “extremely moved” to receive the prize – which has been named in his honour – during what is regarded as the 50th anniversary of hip-hop as he reflected on his 40-year career “doing something [he] really loves”.
Dre was introduced to the stage at Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena by LL Cool J, who said: “The recipient of this inaugural award is none other than an icon who helped define West Coast hip-hop and has become one of the most impactful success stories of our time.”
The ‘Still Dre’ hitmaker – whose real name is Andre Young – said: “Never compromise your vision at all. Pursue quality over quantity and remember that everything is important.”
The Dr. Dre Global Impact Award was established by the Recording Academy and the Black Music Collective and Dre explained the purpose of the accolade.
He said: “[This award] uses my name to inspire the next generation of producers, artists and entrepreneurs to reach for their greatness and demand that from everyone around you.”
Hip-hop was then celebrated with an energising segment put together by The Roots’ Questlove.
LL Cool J served as MC as 33 artists from different generations – including Run DMC, Salt n Pepa, Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash, Ice-T, Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes with Spliff Star, Missy Elliott, Nelly and Lil Baby – took to the stage for the 13-minute performance.
Questlove had revealed earlier in the evening that Will Smith was also due to be part of the segment but had withdrawn due to filming commitments.
He told Variety: “I’ll give the spoiler alert away. Will Smith was apart of the festivities tonight, but they started shooting ‘Bad Boys 4’ this week. There were a lot of preliminary shots that he had to do, so we had to lose Will.”
He admitted he knew trying to get the ‘King Richard’ star was a “shot in the dark,” because the actor is “always shooting movies.”