Death Row Records is a record company founded in 1991 by Marion “Suge” Knight, Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, Tracy “The D.O.C.” Curry, and Richard “Dick” Griffey following Dr. Dre’s departure from Ruthless Records. Death Row’s first album was Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, which was released on December 15, 1992, and featured the “Death Row Inmates”: Snoop Doggy Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound and The Lady of Rage. That release made way for the release of Snoop’s Doggystyle in 1993, the Above the Rim and Murder Was the Case soundtracks in 1994, and Tha Dogg Pound’s Dogg Food in 1995 among other releases. The label then signed 2Pac at the end of 1995, releasing his diamond double album All Eyez On Me in February 1996 and his multi-platinum Makaveli album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory in November 1996.
1996 also began the decline of Death Row after the departure of Dr. Dre in March due to disagreements with Suge Knight, and the murder of 2Pac in September. Snoop released his highly anticipated sophomore album Tha Doggfather one week after the Makaveli album before he also left the label for No Limit Records. Suge Knight was arrested in October on a probation violation stemming from the September 7th fight in Las Vegas that led to the 2Pac shooting. After releasing several compilations, Suge Knight filed for bankruptcy in 2006 and lost control of Death Row before it was auctioned to entertainment development company WIDEawake Entertainment Group, Inc. for $18 million in 2009.
On February 9, 2022, Snoop Dogg announced that he would acquire the rights to the Death Row Records trademarks from MNRK Music Group (the renamed eOne Music). The sale did not immediately include rights to the label’s catalog, but it was reported that he was nearing a deal to acquire the catalogs of himself and other Death Row artists from MNRK. On February 11, 2022, Snoop Dogg would release his album, BODR, his third official studio album under Death Row Records, marking a 26-year lapse between albums.
Death Row has sold nearly 150 million albums worldwide, and generated close to $750 million in revenue.