Snoop Dogg, the rapper-entrepreneur who rose to fame during the 1990s on Death Row Records, has acquired his former label’s brand from MNRK Music Group, which announced the deal on Wednesday this week. MNRK Music Group is controlled by private equity funds managed by Blackstone, an investment firm.
Reports have been made that Snoop Dogg’s acquisition of Death Row’s brand is the first step of a series of transactions that are expected to see him also acquire some of the label’s music rights — including his own and unspecified other artists. The terms of the transaction itself were not disclosed. However, chatter around the boardrooms say the deal is expected to conclude in the coming weeks.
Snoop Dogg New Ablum: “Bacc On Death Row”
This news comes very close to Snoop’s upcoming appearance with Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J. Blige at the Super Bowl LVI Halftime show this Sunday. Perhaps, the announcement was foreshadowed earlier this week with the announcement that Snoop Dogg and Nas will be featured on a new song called “Bacc on Death Row .” Snoop is also releasing a new album titled “B.O.D.R.” this Friday.
Death Row Records was initially founded in 1991 by Dick Griffey and the infamous Suge Knight, along with rappers Dr. Dre and the D.O.C. Death Row Records went on to become one of the most influential, successful, and controversial record labels in music history.
The label’s roster included Dre, Snoop, the D.O.C., Tupac Shakur, Nate Dogg, Warren G, Michel’le and many others. The label released several legacy, culture-defining albums, including Snoop’s “Doggystyle,” Dre’s “The Chronic,” and Tupac’s “All Eyez on Me.”
But Death Row’s history was also marred by violence, some of which were instigated by Knight, who has a sordid list of assault convictions. He is currently serving a 28-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter.
In the wake of Tupac Shakur’s murder in 1996, the business began to fall apart. Suge’s legal difficulties were quickly becoming overwhelming, and the fact that Shakur’s murder took place in a car Knight was driving didn’t help the situation.
Knight managed to keep the label going for several years before finally declaring bankruptcy in 2006. Since the bankruptcy, it has changed hands several times, with some of its catalog moving to other labels like Interscope, its primary distributor in the 1990’s. No word yet which titles Snoop Dogg might be interested in acquiring.
Now the owner of Death Row Records, Snoop said in a statement that he was “thrilled and appreciative of the opportunity” to acquire Death Row Records brand. He said that the “iconic and culturally significant” brand had “immense untapped future value.”
Snoop Dogg On How Good It Feels
Snoop expressed how good it felt to “have ownership of the label I was part of at the beginning” and as one of its founding members. He said he found the moment extremely meaningful. He also extended a personal thank you to the teams at Blackstone and MNRK, especially David Kestnbaum, who he said worked collaboratively with him over several months to make this “exciting homecoming a reality.”
Snoop Dog concluded his statement by saying he was “looking forward to building the next chapter of Death Row Records.”
David Kestnbaum, the Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, added that they were strong supporters of “the artist and creator community in our entertainment investments.” He also expressed how excited they felt to be able to place the legendary brand “back in the hands of a legend.” Kestnbaum wished him success in the years ahead as the Death Row brand moves forward under his vision and leadership.