Snoop Dogg Looking To Right His Death Row Wrongs With New Def Jam Executive Role

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Snoop Dogg has evolved from a 19-year-old MC rapping alongside Dr. Dre on the 1992 classic “Deep Cover (187)” to a multi-million dollar brand.

From his cannabis company Leafs By Snoop to starring roles in commercials for Tostitos, Corona and General Insurance, it seems like the D-O-Double-G never stops working. Now, Snoop has added another entry to his ever-evolving résumé.

According to a press release, Snoop Dogg has been appointed Def Jam Recordings’ new Executive Creative and Strategic Consultant, a role allowing him to strategically work across the label’s executive team and artist roster.

With an immediate focus on A&R and creative development, Snoop Dogg is joining Def Jam as a senior strategic advisor. He’ll remain in his homebase of Los Angeles and report to Universal Music Group Chairman & CEO Sir Lucian Grainge as well as Def Jam interim Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Harleston.

 

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In a clip announcing Snoop Dogg’s latest endeavor, the West Coast rap pioneer talked about how much he idolized the Def Jam roster coming up but never got the chance to be on the iconic label because of his relationship with Death Row Records.

“They did all types of shit I wanted to be a part of — and then Death Row happened,” he said in the clip. “So, I didn’t get a chance to be on Def Jam, but I always had a dream to be on Def Jam and to be in the place where Hip Hop originated.

“So when I got the opportunity, my main focus on Def Jam Records was to go and help the artists, give them love, give them wisdom, guidance and understanding, and teach them some tricks I learned in the game; to diversify their portfolio, to not just be rappers, to not just be artists but to be superstars, superheroes, so to speak.”

 

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Founded in Rick Rubin’s New York University dorm room circa 1984, Def Jam Recordings launched the careers of LL COOL J, Beastie Boys, Slick Rick, Public Enemy and several other Hip Hop legends. With the invaluable help from co-founder Russell Simmons, the label became a Hip Hop staple.

Over the following two decades, Def Jam established its dominance with a star-studded roster including the likes of DMX, Ja Rule, Method Man, Redman, Ludacris, Rihanna, Jeezy and Kanye West.

Now in its fourth decade, Def Jam’s music and lifestyle has grown into a global brand and encompasses a diverse roster of talent such as Justin Bieber, Logic, Pusha T, Jadakiss, Vince Staples, Jeremih, Big Sean, YG, 2 Chainz, Dave East and Jhené Aiko, among others.

 

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In a September 2020 interview with HipHopDX, Redman talked about a period in time when Def Jam was fledging but was reinvigorated once they signed him.

“We were born and mostly lived as a hardcore label,” Simmons told DX. “We had lost our way and Redman brought us home.”

In 1991, former Def Jam CEO Lyor Cohen and Simmons trepidatiously agreed to sign Redman to Rush Associated Labels under the Def Jam umbrella, a move he said ultimately saved the label.

“There was a time where Def Jam was needing a little bit of savior as far as the artists, a little bit of money,” Redman said. “They were so caught up in what they were hearing on the radio. I came in with my album, Muddy Waters, and they loved it. They loved it, but they were skeptical. They were skeptical on the music. They were skeptical because I was too hardcore open with the weed talk and everything. They didn’t really have anything up at Def Jam like that.

“I sat down with Lyor and I said, ‘Listen, this is how I work. I go against the grain.’ I said, ‘Just trust me, just trust me. I’m going to work this vein. Let me do what I’m going to do. Just trust me.’ And he was like, ‘OK, let’s go.’ He released that bitch and that shit immediately went 5,000 and better. It brought money to the label and it brought a new light to the label. After that, it was something that I wanted to earn. That was the, I guess, the leniency of them being on top of me to put out a certain type of album that they thought would win.”

A year later, Redman’s debut effort Whut? Thee Album, his subsequent album Dare Iz A Darkside and the follow-up Muddy Waters were all certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).