Death Row Records

Death Row Records (now known as Tha Row Records) is a record company that was founded by Suge Knight and Dr. Dre in 1991, under the parent label of Jimmy Iovine's Interscope Records.

The label was once home to top rappers such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Tupac Shakur, not to mention MC Hammer and Lil Bow Wow (although somewhat briefly). Death Row's roster also included The Lady of Rage ("Afro Puffs"), Michel'le, Danny Boy, and Gina Longo, distinguished for being the first and only white artist signed to the label.

Death Row was started on sinister terms, as the money used to start the label allegedly came from known drug dealer Harry-O. In 1995, Suge disavowed any relationship with the imprisoned gangster.

Despite the infamous feud between the East Coast and West Coast, Suge Knight had planned to open in New York a subsidiary of Death Row called Death Row East. Eric B. was slated to head that label. In an interview, Tupac named rappers they planned to sign, from Big Daddy Kane to The Wu-Tang Clan. The label was never formed. [1] (

After Tupac was murdered, Suge went to prison, and his rap label disintegrated almost completely after 1997. Artists like Snoop, Dre, RBX, Jewell, and Kurupt had all left; and Nate Dogg, Lady of Rage, and Daz soon followed. Suge's saving grace is the fact that he not only owns most of their names, but also their master tapes with Death Row, which is where most of the money comes from.

In 2001, upon his release from prison, Suge renamed his label "Tha Row" and announced his new roster, headed by a gifted New York rapper named Crooked I. Tha Row also signed Left Eye of TLC, under the name N.I.N.A. Several out-of-print releases from Tha Row were re-released like Tha Doggfather, and most importantly, Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, the concept album by Tupac as Makaveli. However, Death Row slowly looked like it would not be having a comeback, as their new releases were all compilations and they failed to release any solo records by "Tha Row Inmates"; with the exception of unreleased 2pac albums.

Suge was criticized for being a hypocrite when, after blasting people for exploiting 2pac's legacy, specifically Master P's use of his Pac copycat artist Krazy, he had his friend "Tha Realest" rap as a Row inmate, whose raps bore a strange, and tacky, resemblance to the voice of the late Tupac Shakur. Secondly, all of "Tha Rows" songs seemed to be obsessed with negativity against former inmates like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.

On the 2001 Too Gangsta For Radio compilation, several skits were aimed at enemies of Tha Row. The intro had a Snoop impersonator, fresh from a nightmare, using his wife to call up Suge Knight's prison to make sure he was still there. On "Fuck Dre", Tha Realist, Twista, and others recorded a skit where Dr. Dre rapes Eminem, and on K-9's "Gangsta'd Out", a disgustingly racist skit portrayed Eminem as a tool of the Ku Klux Klan.

At 2:30 am on May 27, 2003 several bullets were fired by unknown person or persons at the Beverly Hills offices of Death Row Records, they damaged the front door, windows and wall of the offices. Earlier that year, an LA S.W.A.T. team raided the Death Row offices for an unnamed reason, looking for evidence of random gang murders and drug dealing.

In 2004 Death Row signed Petey Pablo to the label, and in 2005 Crooked I left.


Roster (Past and Present)

  • A * indicates an artist no longer signed
  • A ? indicates an artist whose status is unknown

Associates of Death Row

Enemies of Death Row

Further reading

  • Have Gun Will Travel: The Spectacular Rise and Violent Fall of Death Row Records, Ronin Ro, Doubleday, 1998, 384 pages, ISBN 0385491344

See also

External links

nl:Death Row Records sv:Death Row Records


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