After her 1990 interview with Ice Cube in which the rapper discusses his leaving N.W.A. at the height of their feud, the group, feeling they had been negatively portrayed, sought retaliation. On January 27, 1991 Dr. Dre would encounter Barnes at a record release party in Hollywood. According to Rolling Stone reporter Alan Light:
He picked her up and "began slamming her leg and the right side of her body repeatedly against a wall near the stairway" as his bodyguard held off the crowd. After Dre tried to throw her down the stairs and failed, he began kicking her in the ribs and hands. She escaped and ran into the women's rest room. Dre followed her and "grabbed her from behind by the hair and proceeded to punch her in the back of the head."
N.W.A.'s MC Ren later said "bitch deserved it", and Eazy-E "yeah, bitch had it coming, and I'm 'bout to rib you." As Dr. Dre explained the incident, "People talk all this shit, but you know, somebody fuck with me, I'm gonna fuck with them. I just did it, you know. Ain't nothing you can do now by talking about it. Besides, it ain't no big thing-- I just threw her through a door." Barnes sued in February 1991, telling reporter Alan Light: "They've grown up with the mentality that it's okay to hit women, especially black women. Now there's a lot of kids listening and thinking it's okay to hit women who get out of line." In February, Barnes would file assault charges and bring a $22.75 million lawsuit against Dr. Dre, who pleaded no contest to the assault. He was fined $2500, placed on two years' probation, and ordered to perform 240 hours of community service and produce an anti-violence public service announcement. The lawsuit was settled out of court.
The assault was yet another reason Bronx rapper Tim Dog went after N.W.A. on his 1991 diss song "Fuck Compton" - "Dre, beatin' on Dee from Pump It Up!?/Step to the Dog and get FUCKED UP!" - and Eazy-E would later refer to the incident on his various disses of Dr. Dre and Death Row Records, including "Real Muthaphuckkin G's," "It's On," and "Wut Would U Do." It was again notably referenced in the 1999 Eminem duet with Dr. Dre, "Guilty Conscience." The song is an interplay between Slim Shady and Dre as the two sides of peoples' consciences - Dre being the "good" conscience - with Slim Shady rapping "are you gonna take advice from somebody who slapped Dee Barnes?" . The incident was also mentioned on Game's 'Doctor's Advocate' album on the title track.
The incident was #37 on Spin magazine's "100 Sleaziest Moments in Rock".[6