Death Row Records took the industry by storm when Snoop Doggy Dogg was only a teenager. Now, 30 years after signing with the illustrious label, Snoop owns it.
Over the course of his 30-plus year career, Snoop Doggy Dogg has hipped the world to new slang.
In 2022, he may be redefining the industry term of “360 deal.” 30 years after first signing to Death Row Records in 1992, Snoop has brought his music career full-circle by buying the Death Row brand from the Blackstone-controlled MNRK Music Group.
The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. But given Snoop’s incredible staying power and ability to reintroduce himself across generations, it’s a safe bet that his plans for the legendary Death Row name are ambitious.
Because he’s been thinking about this move for a while, and he wanted the whole world to know it.
At the height of Death Row’s run, the illustrious label co-founded by Suge Night, Dr. Dre, the DOC, and Dick Griffey put out multi-platinum classics like Dre’s The Chronic, Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, 2Pac’s All Eyez on Me, the Above the Rim soundtrack, and more. In fact, Death Row was so hot in the ’90s they even pressed a Christmas compilation that charted.
Infamously, Snoop left Death Row in 1998 to join Master P’s booming No Limit label. Eventually, the aughts would see Snoop sell albums distributed by labels like Priority and Geffen, making hits with Pharrell’s Star Track subsidiary and even rebranding as Snoop Lion for reggae work in 2012.
And while the Doggfather continued his creative journey, his former label found some ways to cash in on its cult status, but struggled to find a home — or a clear identity.
Since the 2010s, Death Row Records has changed hands a number of times. In 2013, Entertainment One purchased the rights to the Death Row catalog after the former holder had gone bankrupt. Years later in 2019, toy company Hasbro bought Entertainment One for $4 billion, making the catalog their property. Shortly after, in 2021, The Blackstone Group supervised the acquisition of the rights to Death Row.
Now, it’s in the able hands of the man born Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr.
Notably, recent reporting maintains that Snoop’s acquisition refers to the Death Row brand and does not currently include the rights to its music catalog — a booming business sector that’s gotten even bigger early on in 2022 — but that step is expected to be taken soon. By owning both the brand and the back catalog, Snoop would have the power to repurpose classic material in music, movies, the metaverse, and beyond.
“It feels good to have ownership of the label I was part of at the beginning of my career and as one of the founding members,” Snoop said in an official statement. “This is an extremely meaningful moment for me.”
This Sunday at the Super Bowl in Los Angeles, a place deeply connected to Death Row folklore, Snoop will take the stage at the halftime show with former founder, Dr. Dre.
Like his producing protege, Snoop’s ascent from the booth to the boardroom is one even Hollywood couldn’t right.