Snoop Dogg acquired the iconic Death Row Records label on February 10, followed by announcing plans to turn the legendary Death Row Records hip-hop outfit into an NFT label. Consequently, Snoop pulled Death Row records from streaming services to the angst of fans and the support of peers. It’s all part of the continued struggle for artists’ control over content.
“Death Row will be an NFT label. We will be putting our artists through the metaverse and through a whole other chain of music. Just like how we broke the industry when we was the first independent [label] to be major,” Snoop said via the Clubhouse audio app.
Consequently, The Death Row Records albums of Snoop Dogg and Tha Dogg Pound have been pulled from several streaming services. According to Billboard, Snoop appears to have removed his seven-times platinum 1993 debut, Doggystyle, and 1995’s Tha Dogg Pound project from Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and other platforms.
Though it was initially believed that Dr. Dre’s 1992 classic, The Chronic, would also be excised, Howard King, the producer-rapper’s lawyer, contradicted this report in a statement to Rolling Stone.
“There are false reports out regarding ownership by Death Row,” King said. “Dr. Dre owns 100% of The Chronic.”
In the same report, Snoop did confirm that he was working on collaborating with the estate of Death Row’s third major star, Tupac Shakur.
“2Pac’s masters came back to him last year,” Snoop said. “But I got a great relationship with his estate, and I’m pretty sure we’re going to be able to work something out … now that Snoop Dogg is in control of Death Row.”
Since they are no longer a part of the Death Row catalog, 2Pac‘s two 1996 Death Row albums, All Eyez On Me and The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, remain on streaming services.
Fans’ reactions to the removal varied from vehement and profane to mildly piqued at having to return to older tech to listen to Snoop’s catalog.
“Since DoggySyle is taken off Spotify it be looking like I need to use my CDs again,” wrote Fjerdingby on Twitter.
— Fjerdingby (@Filip58152146) March 13, 2022
Snoop’s peers, however, were more supportive, understanding the step to take ownership of his output.
“I’m proud Snoop is in a place to be able to acquire a company where he started from that he had so much adversity with,” Master P said in an interview with HipHopDX. “That just goes to show you it’s all about raising bosses. My thing is, I feel like No Limit is a university and Snoop is the highest student that come through that.”
Snoop signed with Master P’s No Limit label in 1999 and credited the rapper and producer with preserving his career in a 2020 interview with The Breakfast Club.
“Master P saved my life,” Snoop said. “I was gonna put an album out called F–k Death Row and Mack 10 was gonna give me a million dollars to put it out … [Master P] took me in his office … He said you gotta’ let that sh-t go man.”
Now, 20 years later, Snoop is looking to use three decades in the industry to build something of his own, something that’s never been done before, under the same brand that made Snoop a superstar.
“I want to be the first major (label) in the metaverse, so Death Row will be an NFT,” Snoop said.
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