In a new interview with The Art Of Dialogue, the Dogg Pound rapper shared that, by the time he followed Dr. Dre‘s lead and requested to be let out of his contract, all of Death Row’s artists had become weary of how much life at the label mirrored street life.
“Everywhere we was going we had to keep our eyes open, 10 toes on the ground,” he recalled. “We had to stay heated and make sure that we protected ourselves. And then to go to Death Row and feel the same way as when we in the streets: we all kinda got burnt on that.”
He went on to explain that, while his group mates Snoop Dogg, Daz Dillinger and Soopafly were still signed to Death Row after Dre left, he simply couldn’t get past the fact that not even Suge Knight‘s presence could assure their safety.
“We all was a little tired of walking on egg shells,” Kurupt continued. “Because if we gon be here and it feels the same was as being on the streets, then whats the difference? If a n-gga gotta come to the studio heated, what’s the difference.
“Dr. Dre set up the woo-wop, like, ‘It can be done, you can leave,'” he added. “When I saw Dr. Dre do that, then 2Pac died, that was the final straw for me. N-ggas is getting shot even with Suge. Now THAT is it.”
Despite the criminal element that seemed to follow Death Row at its peak, Kurupt said in a separate clip from his appearance on The Art Of Dialogue that Snoop and Daz did their best to keep 2Pac away from the Los Angeles gang culture they had all grown up in.
“Crippin’ and Bloodin’ is real! This ain’t no joke,” he explained. “This shit ain’t to play with, this ain’t something you just kick around. Once you in, you in for life; you gotta ride it out homie. And 2Pac is militant! He’s not a gang member.”
Kurupt added: “He’s from a Black Panther background, a whole ‘nother background. It’s just not healthy for him. A lot of us gangbang ’cause we wanted to; and a lot of us gangbang ’cause we had to. We lived there; we had to protect our community, you know.”
Upon leaving Death Row, Kurupt went on to launch his own imprint, Antra Records, at A&M Records, through which he released two solo project. But he remained part of Suge Knight’s roster as one half of Tha Dogg Pound with Daz Dillinger.
Once Daz finally stepped away from the infamous label, the duo changed their name to Dogg Pound Gangstas (D.P.G.) after Knight claimed ownership of their original name and any music they had recorded prior to their departure.
Kurupt would rejoin Death Row in 2002 and eventually become its vice president. He released his fourth studio album, Against the Grain, on the label in 2005.