Rapper, entertainer and entrepreneur Snoop Dogg has acquired the Death Row Records label from MNRK Music Group, controlling investment firm Blackstone said on Wednesday. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The news arrives days before the release of his 19th studio album, “B.O.D.R.,” and his performance at Sunday’s Super Bowl Halftime Show alongside Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar.
“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,” said Snoop Dogg in a statement. “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.”
In 1993, Snoop Dogg released his first album “Doggystyle” under the label, co-founded the year before by Dr. Dre and Suge Knight. Initial artists on the label included Snoop Dogg, The D.O.C. and Dick Griffey. Among other albums, the label ushered Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” and Tupac Shakur’s “All Eyez On Me” to multiplatinum success.
Following a number of controversies and legal disputes between its founders, Death Row Records was auctioned off for $18 million in 2009. Purchased by WIDEawake Entertainment Group, ownership of the label changed hands a few times before finding its way back to Snoop Dogg.
After struggling for years to keep the label, Knight was later sent to prison over the 2015 death of actor Terry Carter on the Los Angeles set of “Straight Outta Compton” and remains incarcerated after a 28-year sentence levied in 2018.
Said David Kestnbaum, a senior managing director at Blackstone: “We at Blackstone are strong supporters of the artist and creator community in our entertainment investments. We are excited to put the Death Row Records brand back in the hands of a legend like Snoop Dogg. We wish him success in the years ahead as the brand moves forward under his leadership and vision.”
Chris Taylor, MNRK Music Group’s, President & CEO added: “Snoop is clearly the executive to take Death Row into its next 30 years. MNRK has been honored to oversee this legendary brand over the last decade and enjoyed introducing it to millions of new fans in 2021 through our award-winning 30th anniversary marketing campaign.”