Exclusive – The D.O.C. co-founded Death Row Records in 1991 alongside Marion “Suge” Knight, Dr. Dre and SOLAR Records founder Dick Griffey. The iconic West Coast imprint went on to release several multi-platinum albums, including Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, Tha Dogg Pound’s Dogg Food and 2Pac’s All Eyez on Me, solidifying its legacy in the process.
But over the years, Death Row has endured a tumultuous path, one that includes murders, financial hardships and Knight’s imprisonment. In 2006, Death Row filed for bankruptcy and was sold to WIDEawake Entertainment for $18 million three years later. WIDEawake filed for bankruptcy in 2012, leaving Death Row’s future uncertain. Eventually, the label was sold to Entertainment One (eOne Music), which became a division of the Hasbro toy company until 2021 when it was sold to The Blackstone Group.
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Meanwhile, Snoop Dogg had been making his case for becoming the proper owner of Death Row, which he made a reality in February when he acquired the Death Row brand from MNRK Music Group. Speaking to HipHopDX in a recent phone interview, The D.O.C. co-signed the move and had nothing but positive things to say about Snoop Dogg’s latest business endeavor.
“I’m proud of Snoop and everything he’s accomplished and all the things that he’s going to do,” he says. “And every moment of his adult life, he is still showing me what it means to be a great guy and great human being. The guy is fucking everywhere [laughs]. I mean, he’s in the grocery store, he’s on the billboards, on my freeways — he’s everywhere.”
Snoop Dogg broke down several barriers to get to where he is today. Historically, big business wanted nothing to do with rappers due to their reputations as “thugs” and “criminals.” But as the population ages, fans of West Coast gangsta rap are now in the executive roles, making the decision to pluck some of their favorite ’90s rappers for gigs. Rap/Hip Hop is also the biggest genre in the world and, in many ways, has become the face of pop culture.
“You said it right there — being integrated into the system in a meaningful way helps us to sort of reprogram or de program some of the things that may be not so positive with [Hip Hop], because it’s really all about the money,” he says. “So, you can show these kids that there are multiple ways to get out here in this business and make a great living through this means.”
The D.O.C. is getting ready to debut his new documentary, The DOC, in June as part of the Tribeca Film Festival. Directed by David Caplan, the film chronicles the life and career of The D.O.C., including the near-fatal car accident that changed his life forever.
“It’s really a great story, and that’s all it is,” he tells DX. “I mean, it’s a lot of really amazing people that I’ve had the blessing to be able to cross paths in this journey. And they all affected me in amazing ways throughout this journey as I found out how to love myself for who I am.
“The blessing is life. When you wake up, it’s a blessing. This whole journey was a spiritual one. It started with sort of a revelation where God kind of spoke to me through someone and said that this whole accident, the accident itself was for a purpose. And I could stop blaming me for it, because it wasn’t me, it was him.”