Snoop Dogg Acquires Death Row Records
The deal, announced Wednesday, comes in conjunction with the release of a new album, ‘B.O.D.R.,’ short for ‘Back on Death Row,’ and a wave of NFT offerings.
Snoop Dogg is back in business with the label that launched his career.
The hip-hop mogul has acquired the Death Row Records brand from MNRK Music Group. A firm that is controlled by private equity funds managed by Blackstone. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded in 1992 by Dr.Dre, Suge Knight, the D.O.C. and Dick Griffey, Death Row was among the music industry’s highest-profile labels. Responsible for culture-shifting releases from Dre, Snoop and Tupac Shakur, among others. However, controversy arrived adding waves of lawsuits and criminal activity, some of which involved co-founder Knight, who remains behind bars.
Death Row Records ultimately filed for bankruptcy in 2006. Was acquired at an auction three years later, for $18 million by WIDEawake Entertainment. It changed hands a bit over the years, ultimately landing at Blackstone and MNRK. In a statement, Snoop, says the brand has “immense” untapped value.
Founded by Dr. Dre, Suge Knight, The D.O.C., and Dick Griffey in 1991, Death Row has been home to some of the greatest West Coast rappers in hip-hop history. Snoop is one of those legendary artists who got his start at the label. So it’s only fitting that he will now take lead.
A source close to Variety also told the publication that this transaction might usher in the beginning of the rapper and entrepreneur acquiring the music rights from the label as well. That’s a big deal.
Snoop originally joined Death Row in 1993 where he dropped his critically acclaimed debut album, Doggystyle.
Snoop previously discussed his desire to own Death Row Records in an interview with GQ. He explains being turned down to purchase it led to a role with Def Jam.
“eOne Music [which owned Death Row Music until April 2021] didn’t want to give me action at it. So then I asked could I buy it? And they acted like they didn’t want to sell it. Then they sold it [to the Blackstone Group], and the man in me was hurt, but the businessman in me said, Okay, I got to find something else to do to take this energy of mine that I’m holding on to.”
Along with this new acquisition, Snoop Dogg will also be partnering with Gala Games to release B.O.D.R on blockchain as an exclusive stash box of NFTs ahead of its drop on streaming services. When talking about blockchain and music coming together, the rapper said he believes it to be the natural evolution of the industry.
“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. This is an extremely meaningful moment for me,” explained Snoop, who went on to sign with No Limit Records, Interscope, Capitol, Geffen, Priority Records and Def Jam. “I would like to personally thank the teams at Blackstone, MNRK and especially David Kestnbaum, who worked collaboratively with me over several months to make this exciting homecoming a reality.”
MNRK Music Group’s president and CEO Chris Taylor praised Snoop as the executive with long-term ambitions to “take Death Row into its next 30 years.” “We at Blackstone are strong supporters of the artist and creator community in our entertainment investments. We are excited to put the Death Row Records brand back in the hands of a legend like Snoop Dogg. We wish him success in the years ahead as the brand moves forward under his leadership and vision.”
The deal comes at a busy time for the artist formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg. He will perform alongside Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige as part of the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show from SoFi Stadium on Feb. 13.
He is also releasing a new album, B.O.D.R., an acronym that stands for “Back on Death Row.” In partnership with Gala Games, the blockchain gaming platform. That company announced today that its newly launched division, Gala Music, will be home to three bonus tracks from B.O.D.R. As part of the launch, Snoop is also dropping a “Stash Box” of NFTs on Feb. 9 at 4:20 p.m. PT on the new Gala Music store.
25,000 Snoop Stash Boxes will be offered for sale, priced at $5,000. Exclusively available to purchase in Gala. Each box is said to include one of 17 track NFTs from B.O.D.R., and there will be 1,470 NFTs of each song offered up. The sale ends Feb. 13 at midnight PT. NFT owners are promised access to future content, such as films, comics and more, from Snoop’s world.