Snoop Dogg buys Death Row Records, onetime label home and gangsta rap powerhouse

A rapper performing onstage in a T-shirt that says "Unity."
Snoop Dogg.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

L.A.’s most infamous gangsta rap brand is now in very familiar hands.

Snoop Dogg, the Long Beach rapper and business mogul whose 1993 album “Doggystyle” became one of the label’s preeminent releases, has acquired the label from the MNRK Music Group, an arm of the investment firm Blackstone. Terms of the deal, including ownership of the label’s music catalog, were not made public.

In a statement, Snoop Dogg, 50, said, “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. 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.”

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Death Row was founded in 1992 in the wake of rap group N.W.A’s groundbreaking but troubled success on Eazy-E and Jerry Heller’s Ruthless Records. A joint project from Dr. Dre, infamous manager Suge Knight, record executive Dick Griffey and rapper the D.O.C., Death Row became synonymous with ’90s gangsta rap, putting out some of the era’s best records (Dre’s “The Chronic” and 2Pac’s “All Eyez on Me” among them), but became fully embroiled in the gang violence and business disputes that ended one of the most influential eras of L.A. music.


The label spiraled out after Tupac Shakur‘s 1996 murder, and declared bankruptcy in 2006. Knight, who had a lengthy history of legal troubles, is currently serving a 28-year prison sentence for voluntary manslaughter.

On Sunday, Snoop will join Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar at SoFi Stadium for the Super Bowl halftime show. Snoop is expected to debut a new song with Nas, “Bacc on Death Row,” along with a new album, “B.O.D.R.,” on Friday.