Death Row Records, made famous by such acts as Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg, has been sold at an auction. Founded in 1991, it was one of rap’s best-known labels, which sold tens of millions of albums in the early 90s when Tupac, Dr. Dre, and Snoop were just getting their start in the music industry.
However, owner Marion “Suge” Knight had gotten in trouble with debt and mismanagement of the label, which forced the auction. By the late 90s, his most famous acts had left the label. However, as owner of the original master recordings, Death Row Records still had revenue coming in.
In 2006, Lydia and Michael Harris sued Knight, saying they had helped form the label. They won their claim, which amounted to a staggering $107 million. Nevertheless, Knight was unable to pay and had to file for bankruptcy.
A federal judge ordered a bankruptcy trustee takeover of the label in 2006, stating that it had undergone “gross mismanagement.” In addition to label problems, Knight had his own personal issues to deal with, including an assault conviction in 1992, five years in jail in 1996 for violating that parole, more jail time in 2003 for violating parole again, and speculation from creditors that he had pocketed money in foreign accounts to avoid debt collection. Not to mention that some people still think he may have been somehow involved in the deaths of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie Smalls).
Death Row was purchased by Global Music Group, Inc., a New York based company that now will gain possession of such rap groundbreaking recordings as Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic,” Tupac Shakur’s “All Eyez on Me,” and Snoop Dogg’s “Doggystyle.”
In the statement released by Global Music, CEO Anthony Davi, Jr. said the label intended to get “the best economic results of the catalog and provide long term stewardship of the artists’ work.”