Death Row Records was established in 1992 by Dr. Dre, Suge Knight, The D.O.C. and Dick Griffey. The iconic label soon became the most prolific Hip Hop label on the West Coast with multi-platinum albums such as Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, Tha Dogg Pound’s Dogg Food and Tupac Shakur’s All Eyez On Me.
But the label started to dismantle in the late ’90s after Knight’s incarceration, 2Pac’s 1996 murder and the departure of Dre and Snoop. Now in the hands of The Blackstone Group, Death Row Records is attempting to breathe new life into as the 30th anniversary approaches in February 2022.
During a recent interview with the Million Dollaz Worth of Game podcast, Snoop Dogg told hosts Gillie and Wallo the label would be better off with him.
“I think all of Death Row should be in my hands,” Snoop said at the 48 minute-mark. “I should be running that shit. Just like I’m [in] a position at Def Jam, Death Row means more to me because I helped create that. I think they should give me that and let me run that shit with the merchandise out, with the music all over the world. [Add] some new West Coast acts.”
Snoop, who serves as Def Jam Recordings’ new Executive Creative and Strategic Consultant, thinks if he was able to command the label even just five years ago, he’d have Roddy Ricch, Ty Dolla Sign, YG and “anything coming out the west” on the roster.
And by the sound of it, Snoop — who’s expected to drop his next album The Algorithm on November 12 — could possibly make that dream a reality. He suggested if he has success with Def Jam, it could lead to a role at Death Row.
“It’s just a lot of heat over there and it’s not being handled right,” he said. “But a little birdie told me it may fly my way and if it do, you’ll get everything that I told you … If I can get Def Jam poppin’, what could I do with Death Row? Just imagine that.”
Snoop Dogg announced his Def Jam role in June by explaining how much he and his West Coast rap peers all idolized the Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons-founded imprint.
“They did all types of shit I wanted to be a part of — and then Death Row happened,” he said at the time. “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.”
Speaking to HipHopDX in August, Death Row Senior Vice President John Payne dismissed the “negative, one-dimensional view” of the label.
“There would be a level of people that would be envious that wasn’t part of the sect or anything like that,” he said. “But at the same time, when you look at all of the stuff that was allegedly going on that was negative, the music was still coming out, people were still writing. And a lot of times, if you really look at the focus, it was not the artist and it was not the producers.
“For that image to be tarnished, the Death Row legacy — I tend to not to agree with that because they were still able to do all that.”
Death Row turns 30 in February 2022. Find out more information here.