There was a time when former Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight and Snoop Dogg’s relationship was nearly fractured beyond repair. When Knight was sentenced to nine years in prison at the height of Death Row’s success, Snoop seized the opportunity and signed with No Limit. As Snoop Dogg explained in an old interview, “I was working against the devil, and through the grace of God Master P and Priority Records put a deal together that was suitable for me.”
But the two Hip Hop figures were ultimately able to bury the hatchet. In a 2019 interview with KXNG Crooked, Snoop said he had nothing but “big love” for Knight.
“I ain’t never hated him,” he said at the time. “You know, that they really tried to do whatever they tried to do to me … [but], I don’t have that in me, that ain’t in my system.”
But for some reason, people have seemed to gloss over their mended friendship and assume the incarcerated Knight is angry Snoop Dogg now owns the Death Row Records brand. Speaking to TMZ, Knight’s son made sure to set the record straight, calling the acquisition a “victory for the West Coast.”
“I’m happy just like everyone else,” he says in the clip. “I kind of knew beforehand that this was going to happen. This, to me, is like a silent victory because I spoke to all of these executives myself and pitched the ideas for merchandising for rebranding. Now to see it fall in the hands of Snoop, I’m happy it’s coming back to the West Coast. Hopefully now we can start winning. We lost Nipsey [Hussle], we lost Kobe [Bryant], we lost a lot of things.
“Even after my dad went to jail, we started losing. Hopefully we start winning with the Rams and start winning now. I’ve seen the comments that think, ‘Suge Knight’s punching the air,’ but nah we cool. We just gotta do business right and start winning. Hip Hop is like the WWE, it’s the fans that create narratives, it’s what it is. Eazy-E and my pops were cool, Snoop and my pops were cool, a lot of people are cool in the industry. People just don’t understand that. I hope people understand we’re not punching the air, we’re working. Hopefully we’re all on the same page.”
According to a press release, Snoop Dogg recently 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, suggesting the label 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 is getting ready to take the Super Bowl LVI Pepsi Halftime Show stage alongside Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar on Sunday (February 13). Meanwhile, Suge Knight pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in a fatal 2015 hit-and-run and was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
Judging by one of Snoop’s more recent Instagram posts, Knight and Tupac Shakur have both been on his mind since the Death Row deal. Check it out below.