Death Row Records has exchanged hands numerous times since its 1990s inception. But now, one of the OGs of the iconic gangsta rap label has returned to his roots and bought the brand. According to a press release, Snoop Dogg has acquired the Death Row brand from MNRK Music Group (formerly eOne Music), which is controlled by private equity funds managed by leading global investment firm Blackstone.
Although terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, Hasbro toy company purchased MNRK Music Group in 2019 for $4 billion and inadvertently became the new owners of Death Row. In April 2021, Hasbro announced it had sold MNRK Music Group to Blackstone for $385 million in cash. Needless to say, the legendary Hip Hop entity likely wasn’t cheap.
“I am thrilled and appreciative of the opportunity to acquire the iconic and culturally significant Death Row Records brand, which has immense untapped future value,” Snoop Dogg said in a statement. “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.
“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. I’m looking forward to building the next chapter of Death Row Records.”
Snoop Dogg, who currently serves as the Executive Creative and Strategic Consultant at Def Jam Recordings, has been vying for the label for some time. In a November 2021 interview with the Million Dollaz Worth of Game podcast, Snoop Dogg told hosts Gillie and Wallo it should be in his control.
“I think all of Death Row should be in my hands,” Snoop said at the 48 minute-mark. “I should be running that shit. Just like I’m [in] a position at Def Jam, Death Row means more to me because I helped create that. I think they should give me that and let me run that shit with the merchandise out, with the music all over the world. [Add] some new West Coast acts.”
Obviously, there were some signs Snoop Dogg had realigned with his debut label. His forthcoming album, B.O.T.R., is an acronym for Bacc On Death Row. In the same interview with Gillie and Wallo, he also suggested the purchase was a possibility, saying at the time, “It’s just a lot of heat over there and it’s not being handled right. But a little birdie told me it may fly my way and if it do, you’ll get everything that I told you … If I can get Def Jam poppin’, what could I do with Death Row? Just imagine that.”
Death Row Records launched its first-ever online merch store last March in honor of its 30th anniversary. In addition to clothing and music, Death Row fans are able to cop non-fungible tokens (NFTs) beginning with “Series 1: Nobody Does It Better,” named after the classic Nate Dogg track. The song also served as the audio bed for the limited edition NFTs in the first series.
Originally helmed by former CEO Suge Knight, Death Row was responsible for several multi-platinum rap albums, including Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, Tha Dogg Pound’s Dogg Food and Tupac Shakur’s All Eyez On Me.
Bacc On Death Row is expected to arrive on Friday (February 11), two days before Snoop Dogg joins Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige for what is sure to be an unforgettable performance at the Super Bowl LVI Pepsi halftime show on Sunday (February 13).