How Dr. Dre Came to Debut 6 New Songs in ‘Grand Theft Auto Online: The Contract,’ Including Snoop Dogg Collaboration

Dr. Dre isn’t normally associated with video games such as Grand Theft Auto. But the iconic rapper and producer is now a part of the world of GTA — and even unveiled new music as a result.

Dr. Dre smiling
Dr. Dre | Mike Coppola/FilmMagic

‘Grand Theft Auto Online: The Contract’ is a new ‘GTA’ game

The Grand Theft Auto series has been around for over two decades. Throughout that time, games have been released on consoles including PlayStation and Xbox. Grand Theft Auto Online, launched in 2013, is an online multiplayer entry in the GTA catalog.

GTA Online has had various updates over the years. In late 2021, developers released “The Contract,” a new story in the game for players to explore. 

In this portion of the game, players get to meet digital versions of Dr. Dre as well as hip-hop veteran DJ Pooh. Both artists had a part in their inclusion in the game. 

RELATED: Dr. Dre’s Estranged Wife Alleges She Experienced Domestic Violence During Their Marriage

Dr. Dre released 6 songs on ‘Grand Theft Auto Online: The Contract’

In a 2021 interview with Rolling Stone, DJ Pooh opened up about when he first got Dr. Dre into video games. Dre was skeptical about gaming and preferred to focus on other ventures, and Pooh, an avid gamer, wanted to show him what he loved to do in his free time. 

“Dre is the person that says no to everything, we all know that,” Pooh said. But he brought over a PlayStation and a copy of Grand Theft Auto to his house and was determined to show Dre “just how freaking cool” GTA was. He “had no idea what [Grand Theft Auto] was about because he’s not a gamer at all,” Pooh recalled. “He never played them. But he was blown away [by] how deep you can get into the whole thing. He’s like, ‘Oh s***!’”

In January 2022, Rockstar Games introduced Dre as a non-playable character in GTA Online: The Contract. Not only will players get to interact with the “Still D.R.E.” rapper in the game, but they’ll also get to hear six new, never-before-heard Dr. Dre songs throughout the course of the game. 

Given the fact that Dre hasn’t released much new music over the past two decades, it’s a welcome gift for hip-hop fans. Among the songs are “Diamond Mind” with Ty Dolla $ign and the late Nipsey Hussle, “Gospel” with Eminem, and “ETA” with Snoop Dogg and Anderson .Paak. The releases come just weeks before Dre, Eminem, and Snoop Dogg are set to take the stage together at the Super Bowl LVI halftime show in Inglewood, California. 

RELATED: Dr. Dre Could Lose Millions if Super Bowl Halftime Show Is Canceled Due to COVID

Dr. Dre’s involvement in ‘GTA’ was highly anticipated

Rob Nelson, the co-studio head of Rockstar North, was excited about Dre’s involvement in the GTA universe. 

“We’ve wanted to do something with Dre for a while,” he said. “When he’s not releasing music that regularly, it’s a pretty special thing to be able to get music from him, nevermind exclusive music. Once we started talking, he started firing demos over — ‘Check this out, check this out, I did this with so-and-so.’ That was a pretty surreal experience.”

In the game, the legendary producer misplaces some of his music, and it’s up to the player to find the lost songs. “This is his treasure that you need to go and retrieve for him,” Nelson explained. “We’re using quite a classic video game objective but using songs [as the missing item] instead of cash or goods.”