Rap artist, producer, songwriter, and entrepreneur extraordinaire Dr. Dre (pictured) co-founder of the Beats audio devices, reportedly just purchased the Brentwood, Calif., estate belonging to NFL’s Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bündchen for a mere $40 million. The mega-18,298-square-foot mansion, which had an original list price of $50 million, was built from scratch by the power couple who purchased the property for $11.75 million back in 2009, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Damn. $40 million mansion. Dre has some a long way since the days of N.W.A. I still distinctly remember being in 6th grade and getting a call from one of my friends who told he just got back from a swap meet where he heard some new song playing and he loved it, so he asked the record seller what it was, and he bought the 12″. He played it for me one the phone. It was “Boyz N The Hood” by Eazy E. I was blown away by the sound, and soon bought it myself. This was months before it was ever played on the radio. If you’d told me back then that the guy who produced that song would one day be the richest man in hip-hop, close to billionaire status, I wouldn’t have believed you. But Dre turned out to be a smart businessman, no denying that. I don’t personally use those Beats By Dre headphones, or any headphones, because of my tinnitus, but I know several folks who do and rave about them. And now Dre’s made more money from that sale than he ever did from making music. No wonder he’s in no hurry to get that DETOX album finished. It’s not like he needs the royalties.

What’s interesting, and funny, to me is that I remember when this sort of thing used to be considered bad in the hip-hop world. When M.C. Hammer built his big $30 mansion with a waterfall, I remember him getting criticized for “materialism,” and for “abandoning his community.” And when he did his endorsement deals, commercials for Pepsi and Taco Bell and others, he was labeled a “sell-out.” Now all the top rappers have endorsement deals, and businesses, and when they get successful they leave the hood and buy mansions. Oh how things have changed…

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