Between 1996 and 2000, there was a longstanding feud between the label Dr. Dre co-founded in the early 1990s, and the label he left to launch five years later. Between artists on Death Row Records including Tupac, J. Flexx and Tha Realest taking verbal swipes at Dr. Dre, the Compton, California superstar’s former business partner, Marion “Suge” Knight went as far as publicly releasing Dre’s residential address on the Too Gangsta For TV documentary, and snatching his anticipated-album’s title, Chronic 2000. Quite plausibly, bad blood existed for years between Death Row Records and Aftermath Entertainment.
In a new interview with VladTV, Crooked I reveals that Dr. Dre also attempted to counter with his former label. Recalling the 1999 contract Crooked I signed with Death Row, by way of Daz Dillinger and Big C-Style’s short-lived Dogg Pound Records subsidiary, the Long Beach, California emcee revealed, “[Daz Dillinger and Big C-Style] were like, ‘Yo, you wanna go fuck with Suge [Knight]?” Crooked I had recently left a deal with Virgin/Noo Trybe Records after several years on the major imprint. “There was nobody there from the old Death Row,” Crooked added. “Suge was incarcerated and Daz was like the last man standing over there…everybody was gone.” Hours later, Crooked says that he went to a Los Angeles radio station, and during an appearance, announced that he would be joining the notorious label, famed for its releases by Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Tupac.
“As soon as I said that], I was signing with Death Row], somebody from Aftermath [Entertainment] called my homie Big C-Style, and said, ‘Come over here. Let’s talk.’ So we went over there and saw [Dr.] Dre. It was my first time really, really, being around Dre—not just a ‘Hey, what’s up. How you doin’?,’ but being inside the studio. We were at Record One, where he records at. [The] D.O.C.’s walkin’ around.” Crooked adds that Xzibit and King T were also prominent artists affiliated with Aftermath at that time, when Dr. Dre was reportedly wrapping 2001.
“Dre was like, ‘I wanna fuck with you, on some level,'” Crooked recalls. “It was a time thing. He was finishing up some albums, and he wanted me to kick back and just wait.” The Slaughterhouse emcee adds, “I was actually on the King T [Thy Kingdom Come] album. They put me on the King T album, which was never released.”
After leaving his Aftermath meeting, Crooked I went to meet with then-incarcerated Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight in northern California. “I went to go see Suge, so I could weigh out my options. And Suge just offered me a gigantic check.”
In turn, Crooked I would sign with Death Row, where he would remain as an artist nearly seven years. While appearing on remixes and soundtracks, the label never released a Crooked I album while he was signed to the label. In 2006, Crooked released a documentary, Life After Death Row. Under new ownership, the label would release recordings from his label tenure in 2010, as Hood Star.
Today, Crooked I’s group Slaughterhouse, is signed to Shady/Interscope Records, which shares a lot of business staff with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment.
The full interview is below: