Who is Signed to Death Row Records (2022)?

Four of the most iconic individuals in the US music industry came together in 1991 to launch one of the most famous record labels in the world, Death Row Records. Despite being inspired by a previous fallout with Ruthless Records, the four artists, Suge Knight, Dr. Dre, The D.O.C., and Richard Griffey, founded a music recording company that still exists three decades later.  

A lot has changed over the years; from the ownership and management of the record label to the list of signed artists. 

In this article, we expound on everything worth knowing about Death Row Records, including its history and the exclusive list of signed musicians and albums. Read on. 

Who is Signed to Death Row Records (2022)?

List of Current and Former Artists

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According to Wikipedia, the list of Death Row Records signees spans a range of genres, from rap to rock, electronic, and pop. They include the following:  

2nd II NoneAbove the LawBa AzzCPO Boss Hogg
Crooked IDanny BoyDaz DilingerJ. Valentine
Dr. DreJ. ValentineJ-FlexxJewell
K-SoloKuruptThe Lady of RageLBC Crew
Lil’ C-StyleLil’ Bow BowLisa “Left Eye” LopesMC Hammer
Michel’leMiilkboneMr. MalikMark Morrison
Nate DoggSnoop Doggy DoggOutlawzO.F.T.B. 
Prince Ital JoeRBXTha RealestSam Sneed
Slip CaponeSoopaflySpider LocYGD Tha Top Dogg
Young SoldierzKastroKen LawsonNapoleon
Peter PabloProofSuge KnightThe Alchemist
Big Tray DeeTupac ShakurWarren GYaki Kadafi
Young NobleTha Dogg PoundLil’ Half DeadJoss Stone
Jesse DangerouslyHussein FatalEric CollinsE.D.I. Amin
CJ MacButch CassidyBig SykeBig Pimpin’ DeLemond 

Is Death Row Records Also a Distribution Company?

Is Death Row Records Also a Distribution Company?

Ever since its foundation, Death Row releases have been distributed by AMPED Music Distribution company. They didn’t own any digital distribution rights until 18th April 2022, when Death Row Records announced it would launch its streaming service. 

While making the announcement, Snoop Dogg (current Death Row owner) cited the low royalty services paid by streaming sites like Spotify as the key reason they were launching a streaming platform. 

Do Death Row Artists Own Their Masters?

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Upon Snoop Dogg’s recent acquisition, Death Row announced that they now own the masters of all Death Row albums, including Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. 

However, two days after making the statement, Dr. Dre’s lawyers refuted the claims and added that their client remains the rightful owner of the masters to the album. Nonetheless, it is understood that Death Row artists do not own the copyright to their masters. 

Who is the Richest Death Row Artist? 

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According to Wealthy Gorilla, Snoop Dogg’s net worth stands at $150 million. He is among the top 30 richest rappers in the world, and no other Death Row artist comes any near. 

However, it’s worth noting that Death Row’s former artist and producer, Dr. Dre, is worth much more than him. Despite spending most of his time working for other musicians as a producer, Dr. Dre is the 4th richest rapper in the world, with a net worth of $500 million

The Biggest Challenges Facing Death Row Records

  • Crime-Ridden History

Death Row’s past is written not in ink but in blood, violence, and crime. In fact, it was Suge Knight’s violent approach to the way of running the record label that caused a split-out with Dr. Dre and many other artists. It’s no lie that Death Row’s foundation was built to implode. Now that Snoop Dogg has acquired it, we shall wait and see what the future holds for it. 

  • Expansion Woes

Although it grew to become one of the most famous record labels in the 1990s, Death Row has missed several opportunities to expand beyond its limits. There’s a notable difference when you compare Snoop Dogg’s time at Death Row and No Limit Records; the ownership mentality is significantly different. 

Whereas most labels groom raw, young talents on their rosters to their absolute best, Death Row has a history of failing at it. We can cite Tha Dogg Pound, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and others as examples of how Death Row was unable to capitalize on the potential of its artists.

Who Really Owns Death Row Records? A Brief History… 

Dr. Dre signed to Ruthless Records in 1986 to work as the head of the production. After leading the record label through a successful breakthrough, he left three years later because he felt he was underpaid. 

Ice Cube, Suge Knight, and the D.O.C followed suit. The three, together with Dick Griffey, started working on a new record label that was initially called Future Shock. The group decided to change the name of their label company to Death Row Records in 1992 and sought Godfather Entertainment as its parent company. 

With the help of other prominent faces in the music industry, such as David Kenner and Van Winkle, Suge Knight began signing young, California-based artists. When the label released Dr. Dre’s “Deep Cover” single, which featured Snoop Doggy Dog as his rap protégé, Dre’s popularity as a young solo artist exploded, and so did Death Row Records. 

Around the same time, Death Row released The Chronic album, which sold up to 6 million copies in the US alone. Snoop Dogg’s debut album, Doggystyle, was released in 1993, and surprisingly, it outperformed The Chronic by achieving quadruple platinum sales. 

Between 1995 and 2000, Death Row had become so popular that it frequently tussled up with Big Boy Entertainment over the competition. While the beef often resulted in violence, it was until Suge Knight’s entourage was attacked in a gunfight that things intensified. 

2Pac Shakur landed in prison alongside other BBE members, but Knight visited him in prison, paid his bail, and signed him to Death Row. 

All along, Dr. Dre was frustrated by Knight’s violent approach to business. He left in 1996 after contributing to a couple of tracks in 2Pac’s All Eyez On Me album. 

Soon after, the record label split into two, with Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg on either side of the rift. The death of Death Row became more imminent in 1997 when Suge Knight was convicted of parole violation and sentenced to 9 years.  The record company ran bankrupt in 2006, meaning Knight wouldn’t be in control anymore. 

WIDEawake acquired the company for $18 million and later sold it to Entertainment One (eOne). On August 23rd, 2019, an American toy company, Hasbro, purchased eOne for $4 billion and sold off eOne Music to the BlackStone Group in April 2021, meaning the label would be under its fifth different owner. 

Death Row’s Acquisition by Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg rejoined the label after 26 years when he released his third studio album on February 11, 2022, just two days after acquiring the rights to Death Row trademarks. He then proceeded to acquire the rights to all previous albums, including Doggystyle and The Chronic, while also announcing that Death Row Records would be an NFT Label

Below is a list of all the discographies released by Death Row Records since 1992. 

Discography

1992

The Chronic – Dre Dre

1993

Doggystyle – Snoop Doggy Dogg

1994

Above the Rim (soundtrack) – Various Artists

Murder Was the Case – Various Artists

1995

Dogg Food – Tha Dogg Pound

1996

All Eyez on Me – 2Pac

The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory – Makaveli 

Death Row Greatest Hits – Various Artists

Christmas on Death Row – Various Artists

1997

Gridlock’d (soundtrack) – Various Artists, 

Necessary Roughness – The Lady of Rage

Gang Related (soundtrack) – Various Artists

1998

Retaliation, Revenge, and Get Back – Daz Dilinger

Hung Jury – Michel’le

Greatest Hits – 2Pac

1999

Suge Knight Represents: Chronic 2000 – Various Artists

2000

Too Gangsta for Radio – Various Artists

Dead Man Walkin’ – Snoop Dogg

2001

2002 – Tha Dogg Pound

Death Row’s Snoop Doggy Dogg Greatest Hits – Snoop Doggy Dogg

Until the End of Time – 2Pac

2002

Better Dayz – 2Pac

2004

Son Rize Vol. 1 – Yaki Kadafi 

2006

15 Years on Death Row – Various Artists

2007 

Death Row: The Singles Collection – Various Artists

2009

Death Row: The Lost Session – Snoop Doggy Dogg

The Ultimate Death Row Compilation – Various Artists

2010

Dawn and Dirty – Kurupt

Hood Star – Crooked I 

2011

Street Scholars – Sam Seed 

Damn Near Death – O.F.T.B

Haven’t You Heard – L.B.C Crew

Black Diamond – Jewell

2012

20 to Life: Rare and Dangerous Vol. 1 – Various Artists

20 to Life: Rare and Dangerous Vol. 2 – Various Artists

Doggy Bag – Tha Dogg Pound

2022

BODR – Snoop Dogg

Final Thoughts

For a long time within the 26-year lapse, Snoop Dogg was interested in purchasing Death Row and acquiring the rights to the album masters. Upon obtaining it, he noted that Death Row has a lot of untapped future value that he wanted to bring out. 

It’s no secret that Death Row Records was on the row of death. Now that it’s breathing again, will we witness the great label that once was the bedrock of good rap? Only time will tell. 

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