It’s been weeks since Financial Times and Wall Street Journal announced that a deal for Apple to acquire Beats headphones was imminent. One day after the report, on May 9, Dr. Dre appeared in a video alongside actor Tyrese Gibson and confirmed the deal, bragging that it would make him the first billionaire in rap.
“The first billionaire from hip-hop, right motherfucking here from the West Coast. Believe it,” Dre said. He and Gibson are also self-proclaimed “drunk off of Heinekens” in the video, sipping from Solo cups and swearing like sailors.
It’s not exactly the kind of PR rollout Apple probably had in mind, and now as the delays roll on speculation is starting to circulate that Apple was so turned off by the video that they’ve backed away, possibly killing the deal.
Not only was it inconsistent with Apple’s famously secretive product launches and buttoned-up corporate image, but Dr. Dre was almost certainly subject to a non-disclosure agreement which he blasted to hell with video, disclosing the deal to the entire internet and dropping a few “motherfuckers” to boot.
Gibson pulled the video from his Facebook page quickly, but not before someone ripped it, posted it to YouTube, and it quickly went viral. The deal, which had drawn plenty of head-scratches already, was branded instantly with a boozy curse-filled image.
There has also been speculation including from Steve Jobs’s biographer Walter Isaacson that Apple had intended to make Dr. Dre and Beats partner Jimmy Iovine Apple executives in charge of content. The video wasn’t exactly prime corporate branding inspiring confidence in a newly-minted executive.
If the $3.2 billion deal does die and if the video helped kill it, it’ll likely be one of the costliest social media indiscretions ever. Unlike, say, Anthony Weiner, however, Dr. Dre will still have a hell of a career. If you missed it, watch the video above.