Author Topic: Huge Death Row Records History: Part 2 is HERE!  (Read 2319 times)

TobyTizzle

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Posts: 1205
  • Karma: 320
Huge Death Row Records History: Part 2 is HERE!
« on: April 11, 2005, 07:14:21 PM »
Suge & Death Row sign 2Pac after posting bail


2Pac and Big Syke upon his release from prison in 1995

Quite possibly the biggest move Death Row made, even considering Dre and Snoops success. 2Pac was basically left for dead in prison, no one wanted to get involved due to his legal troubles. Posting his bail would not guarantee he would be able to work for the label. This was perfect for Suge who had been trying to sign Pac for years. He once paid Pac around $150,000 for one or two UNUSED songs on the Murder Was the Case soundtrack. He didn’t do it because 2Pac songs were that special, but because he was aware of his legal troubles. Watch the end of Murder Was the Case and it lists Pac as an artist appearing on the soundtrack. Suge remained interested, and in a bid to secure him visited him on several occasions during his jail stint, called him, and most notably sent him a bulletproof vest with the Death Row logo on it. When Suge proposed to pay the bail in return for Pac signing to Death Row he had little choice. It was at this stage Pac promised to produce an album that would truly put Death Row Records on the map. He respected what Dre and Snoop had done before him, but assured Suge he would take them to another level, and boy was he right.


The Dream team: 2Pac, Snoop and Suge

The $1.4USmil bail was paid by Suge, and David Kenner wrote up the contract, in which 2Pac agreed to record atleast 3 albums for Death Row Records (Snoop’s original contract was for 6). Since it was unknown how the re-trial and other legal proceedings would go, Pac got straight onto the music making, preparing his new double cd set.


The original advert put out for the debut Death Row album from Pac

From the time 2Pac left jail, til the time he died he became heavily involved with the Death Row family. Suge, 2pac and Devente (of Jodeci) used to go to clubs, just the 3 of them and party hard all night. 2Pac became very close to the Jodeci crew, you hear K-Ci & JoJo often talking about Pac as a brother. The music that has been produced when these guys collaborate is always special, it’s a shame it couldn’t have continued.

In early 96 Suge threw some massive parties apparently on a weekly basis. One party a journalist from The Source went to included guests such as Craig Mack (was doing work with Daz at the time), Eric B (Death Row East), Hammer (who had just finished his LP according to the article), Daz, Kurupt, Snoop, O.F.T.B, K-Ci, Danny Boy and 2Pac. Damn I’d party all night with those cats.

Suge also threw big industry parties, one of which everyone was dressed in Red. Just like Suge’s house, office, and even his pool were, although apparently the pool paint faded so it looked orange. Suge also had the huge Death Row symbol on the floor of his office. No one ever stood on it.

Dr. Dre – Chronic II: Papa’z Got A Brand New Funk 1996
Although this project was obviously never completed, it was a definite album expected to drop, and can be seen advertised in All Eyez On Me. Firstly it was going to be called simply ‘The Chronic II’, but then it was switched up to ‘Chronic II: Papa’z Got A Brand New Funk’ which sounds pretty funky to me :p Although it never eventuated, it would have been amazing. It would have been an updated version of the Chronic with the Death Row style of the mid 90’s. As I’ve said before the Chronic is the end of the NWA era to me, but this album would have been very Dogg Food/All Eyez On Me-ish. Just imagine an album of his 94/95/96 beats, I’m talking about ‘California Love’, ‘Can't C Me’, ‘Natural Born Killaz’, ‘Keep Their Heads Ringin’ type of beats, it woulda been crazy. It’s almost a given there would have been a ‘Dre Day 2’ type of song included addressing the DOC and their fallout, which would have been waying on Dre’s mind. The song ‘Zoom’ was also recorded for this album, a collabo with Snoop Doggy Dogg. The beat is banging, but after he left Death Row Dre used the beat on the King T album. Since that album was never released he submitted the track for the Bullworth soundtrack with the original Snoop/Dre lyrics. Interscope not only didn’t want to use Snoop’s Death Row vocals, they also wanted to save the Snoop & Dre reunion (eventually helped ‘2001’s sales) for a more mainstream release, so the song was released with LL Cool J on it. Still a quality track after all that. One of the bigger issues with this release was Dre wanted to save material for his own album, whilst Suge had tunnel vision before a release. If it was a 2Pac album coming out next, then all music should go to 2Pac. As it turned out 2Pac and Suge later switched up some of Dre’s material for All Eyez On Me.

Club 662, Las Vegas


2pac chillin' at 662 above, and the outside below


662 = MOB on telephone numbers, Members Of Blood. This was Suge’s club in Vegas (apparently now it’s a gay club lol) where Death Row artists often performed, they had comedy events, and Death Row meetings were frequently held. Run DMC, Treach, Wu Tang, Dru Down, E-40, Mike Tyson, just some of the names that made appearances at 662. Method Man was touched up for a chain at the club one time, but Pac sorted it out.


2Pac frequented this club during his stay on Death Row

Owning this club gave Death Row another outlet to continually promote themselves actively, it has also been linked to a front for drug trafficking. The biggest event in this clubs history is probably 2Pac, Suge and their entourage not making it there on September 7th.

2Pac – All Eyez On Me February 13th 1996


Dre and Pac in better times on the Cali Love set

In return for putting up the $1.4mil bail, 2Pac promised Suge he would lift Death Row to new heights, even higher than Dre and Snoop had taken them. Upon arrival in late September, he got to work on an uptempo double LP to be titled ‘R U Still Down?’ later changed to ‘All Eyez On Me’ due to all the media hype around himself and Death Row since his release from prison. It was not a very deep album, but provided party hits and good quality music to listen to including 6 singles, two of which were #1 hits (How Do U Want It ft. K-Ci & JoJo, California Love ft. Dr. Dre & Roger Troutman).


Dre, Johnny J, 2Pac and Big Syke, notice the odd one out?

Basically this album is not very deep, in terms of lyrical content (with a few exceptions), I compare it to Game’s The Documentary. Not a unique album, but the songs are just all good imitations of what was around at the time. The entire Death Row posse got onboard with this project, and Pac knew what would sell and he needed to quickly establish himself as a Death Row inmate, so he saved his real songs for later records such as Makaveli. This album was all about the dolla bills. This is a pretty gangsta album, but it is pretty commercial at the same time. I mean, the lead single ‘California Love’ is as commercial as Pac ever got, but even still the beat is bangin. They did 2 videos for that song, one with the Mad Max theme and one to the remix at Dre’s crib. The second single, ‘How Do U Want It’ featured brother’s K-Ci and Jo Jo who had just decided to release material on their own (without the other 2 members of Jodeci – they were cool, just thought it was worth a shot). This was a hot combination, and I still remember hearing this song on the radio and just smiling. Every time. Originally the song was a 2Pac solo, he did the hook, but they decided to make it a single and give it some radio appeal. Again Pac decided to go with a few videos, and one was an X-rated film clip featuring a gang of the playboy playmates. At one stage Jo Jo is seen pouring champagne (say it champain lol) down a girls body and K-Ci is positioned directly under the girl drinking it as it rolls off her you know what! One of the last and very in depth interview 2Pac did for media was done on the set of this film clip. Sway came to his trailer and stopped by for like an hour or so, you can listen to the interview in full if you can find the ‘In His Own Words’ cd, an unauthorised cd someone put out, but none the less an interesting listen. Before Suge offered Pac the Dre beats, ‘2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted’ was set to be the lead single. As apart of his contract when coming to Death Row he had requested a Snoop Doggy Dogg appearance on his album MUST happen. He knew the juice Snoop had in the industry and with the listeners, teaming himself up with Snoop was like pairing Shaq and Kobe or Stockton & Malone. Well as it turned out it was more Kobe/Shaq than Stockton and the Mailman. Snoop and Pac teamed up perfectly over a chilling Dat Nigga Daz beat and created another one of those songs you can put on at a party, and pretty much everyone will recognise it and start signing the chorus.


2Pac ballin' it up with a young Robbie Williams

Two of the better beats on the album came from Death Row family, but they are 2 names people these days would not assumed were DR family. Devente laced a quality beat for ‘No More Pain’, this is a solid song, and has a different sound compared to the rest of the album. DJ Quik also helped his friend Pac out with one of my all time favourite beats and therefore Pac songs, ‘Heartz of Men’.  The track ‘Got My Mind Made Up’ with Method Man, Redman, and Tha Dogg Pound was also a track already recorded before Pac arrived. The song was originally recorded at Daz’s house studio, as a Dogg Pound song featuring Method Man, Redman, Inspectah Deck and The Lady of Rage. At the end of the song you can hear Inspectah Deck vocals ‘INS the rebel’ (his nickname) that they did not remove. AEOM was always considered a family project and Pac supposedly wanted ALL inmates involved, but a few familiar names got snubbed (Rage, Sam Sneed, Soopafly). I understand Sam Sneed was not popular in the Death Row hierarchy (more to come), but why bothered listing him as an upcoming release yet not promote him or give him exposure on a massive release like AEOM?

It may not be known by many, but this was the FIRST double cd by ANY hip hop artist, it was just not considered a smart business move before this due to the higher cost of a 2CD. So while many people argue the sales figures are misleading as each 2CD sold counts for 2 units (this counts for all 2CD’s), it cost significantly more back then and therefore was less affordable to many people. 2Pac had planned to make a home video to come out around this time, in which he wanted to do film clips for nearly every song on the album, the first was to be ‘Ambitionz Az A Ridah’, it’s a damn shame he didn’t get this done, I love that song. A video was recorded for ‘All About U’, that later surfaced (slightly tweaked) on 2Pac’s Greatest Hits, I will discuss that later. ‘Don’t Stop The Music’ ft. Tha Outlawz was recorded for this album, the same beat was later used by Puff Daddy on his debut album ‘No Way Out’. One of the controversial appearances on the album was Faith Evans of Bad Boy Records. She was listed as a guest on adverts, but then her name was not mentioned in the album credits. People argue she is the singer on ‘Wonder Why They Call You Bitch’, but I argue she sung vocals on Don’t Stop The Music and Death Row got scared of legal trouble and scrapped the song. The Outlaw Immortalz also made their debut on this album with such songs as the DJ Pooh produced track ‘When We Ride’. They would later gain more recognition with their appearance on ‘Hit Em Up’.

It is considered ‘genuis’ in the recording industry if you can get 3 or 4 albums out of 10 to go platinum. Death Row and Suge’s first 6 releases all went multiple times platinum.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2005, 07:19:18 PM by TobyTizzle »
 

TobyTizzle

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Posts: 1205
  • Karma: 320
Re: Huge Death Row Records History: Part 2 is HERE!
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2005, 07:14:57 PM »
Mystery Artists
Here is some info on some Death Row artists who were in some way signed/connected with Death Row since its beginning to now.


An original 662 poster listing Death Row inmates

Gina Longo
She was the first white artist with the Row, she signed a $50,000US record contract in 1996. Her father was the District Attorney on Suge’s 1992 case, lol anyone getting the picture? Eventually they found the link between the two, as David Kenner was chilling in the DA’s home. Suge was street, but knew he needed to get contacts of importance as well to cover his back. Gina recorded an album, which featured a duet with Danny Boy, but it never saw daylight, and in all seriousness, Suge probably never planned releasing it.

Lil’ Bow Wow
Lol bet y’all didn’t know Lil Bow Bow was signed to Death Row Records when he was young? Snoop discovered him when he was performing once, when he got a few guys to come out and freestlye. Bow Wow came out and obviously was VERY young back then, and blew the crowd completely away. He even went on tour with Dre, Snoop & Tha Dogg Pound when they toured off Doggystyle & Chronic. Epic Records got him when Suge got into those problems with the authorities, then he went to So So Def under Snoops recommendation. For those who have it, he appears in the ‘Gin N Juice’ video as one of the young kids jumpin on the couch.

MC Hammer


2Pac, Snoop and Hammer getting through the crowd at 662

Bow wow and now Hammer? Lol this list is kinda funny if you think about it, but it shows you how far Death Row’s wings were spread over hip hop. MC Hammer and Suge had known each other for years (they were cool back in the 80’s), and in 1996 when Death Row was really making moves, Hammer joined the label (he had been having baaad legal troubles). This was actually one of the final moves that lead to Dre leaving. Dre had his mind set on gangsta records, and then doing some r&b and reggae. He didn’t really want to delve into what I like to call ‘Hip-pop’. But a pop rap act like Hammer. Suge told Dre, you’ll be doing a Hammer record before you start anything new. He primarily signed MC Hammer for financial reasons. He had some charity companies Suge could invest Death Row’s money into, so as he wouldn’t lose it to tax, and he could basically control it still (as Hammer was dependent on him for $).


Pac, Johnny J, Suge and Hammer keepin it G'd

Couple of weeks later Dr. Dre had left the label. Hammer and Tha Dogg Pound hooked up for the song ‘Sleepin’ On A Master Plan’ on one of his earlier albums (the only Hammer album I own and for that reason). 2Pac and Hammer also recorded together, and its believed there is a completed Hammer album featuring a remake of the Ohio Players Skin Tight titled "Too Tight", it was Hammer's concept, but Pac wrote his verse & I believe brought in Ebony (2Pac’s female r&b artist – was on Me Against the World) on background vocals. He is featured in pictures in the Death Row’s Greatest Hits booklet. One song he did ‘Unconditional Love’ has a story behind it. 2Pac recorded the song for Hammer. Not in a homo way lol, but he gave it to Hammer and said copy my flow and lyrics. So there are 2 versions of the song, completely the same (no differences at all), except Hammer did one and 2Pac did one. Once Hammer left the label it was never to be used, and 2Pac’s version serviced on his Greatest Hits collection which I will get to later.

K-Solo
Has had ties with EPMD and Redman over the years. Well for a short period of time (around 4 years) he was signed with Death Row. Not one song was officially released by him, however his demo tape and a freestyle with Kurupt have surfaced. He also had heavy appearance on Sam Sneed’s album. K Solo helped arranged Da Bastards EP which is discussed later. K-Solo was also the reason Dre discovered Sam Sneed, and anyone craving more Sam Sneed material check out K Solo’s solo albums. The music is a bit dated, but still decent.

Emmage
Back in the day, there used to be a bunch of groups signed to Death Row that most wouldn’t know about. Emmage (Ebony Men Musically Able to Give Entertainment) was one of them. Also The Convicts (Big Mike and Lord 3-2) were going to be one of the first ones with a release, but they went back to Rap-A-Lot (where Scarface became famous). DJ Slip was one of the original staff producers for Death Row. You can hear them on "Why You Frontin?" from the Deep Cover soundtrack, on The Chronic and Compton’s Most Wanted's 1992 release 'Music To Driveby' to name a few. They opened for Michel'le and through that connection made their way to LA and eventually signed to Death Row.

July 4th @ The House Of Blues


Dru Down, Yukmouth came to support DJ Pooh who DJ'd at this concert

On this night Death Row Records put on one very big hip hop show at the H.O.B’s, and if I could go to any concert ever, this would be it.
Danny Boy, Tha Dogg Pound, Nate Dogg, Snoop, 2Pac & Tha Outlawz headlined the tour, but K-Ci & JoJo, LBC Crew, Tray Deee, Soopafly, were there, not to mention Chris Rock and others doing comedy in between!
Footage from this night can be found on Death Row Uncut, and most 2Pac DVDs. 2Pac came out and dissed Biggie and Bad Boy hardcore on this night, also you notice during some of the performances Suge coming out on stage and the amount of respect he had, all the artists not performing surrounded him, all you could see was this big red suit with rappers all around him. It was at this concert 2Pac dissed Biggie, Puffy etc hard, Hit Em Up was released just before this concert. This song has gone down as one of the rawest diss songs ever, not really big on word play, just straight up harsh lyrics. 2Pac’s security remembers a conversation he had with Pac at the time, stating they would need to step security up now lol. The video also featured an add promoting the debut Outlaw Immortalz album which never dropped. Had 2Pac not been shot dead, this would have surfaced in 1997.

2Pac, Death Row, Boot Camp Click – One Nation 1996


2Pac, Steel, Tek and Bunce of The BootCamp Click at Pac's house

Not sure how many times I’ve said it, but if I could get another album out of the vaults, this would be it. The entire concept behind this cd was enough to deserve releasing it, this is one of the true tragedy’s involved with 2Pac’s music.
The idea was, Pac wanted to let everyone know, he had a problem with Puffy, Biggie and Bad Boy, NOT the East Coast as a whole. So he went to New York and met up with Buckshot of Duck Down Records, as well as the Boot Camp Click. Suge and 2Pac went and paid for ALL of the artist clearances and samples etc, so they COULD release it today without changing any of the material. Where as with a lot of other 2Pac music, the producer’s need to be paid, and artists need to be cleared. That’s why Pac’s mum can just get rid of someone, and put someone else on the song because they were never officially paid or licenced to appear on the song. Artists just record songs all the time, then the record companies worry about clearing artists and all that stuff. So back to ‘One Nation’, it was to be a union of the West and East, Death Row releasing the West disc, Duck Down releasing the East disc.


Pac and Tek rolling around in luxery

The songs that have leaked from these compilations are some of my favourite unreleased 2Pac material, and feature the likes of Busta Rhymes, Gregg Nyce, Snoop, Outlawz, CoCoa Brovas, Steel & Tek, Dogg Pound, ODB, Scarface and more. Most people, especially in 1996 had the perception Pac hated New York and the East, but that was completely wrong. One Nation had a meaning, not just a money making idea. The Boot Camp Click (which was a group made up of Buckshot and the Duck Down artists) flew out to Cali and lived at Pac’s house for a week during recording. They had huge water fights, and 2Pac used to crack it if they got water all over the windows, because it left dirty marks lol. Buckshot was even given his new alias (which he has been going by for years) The B.D.I Thug from 2Pac during this period of 1996, he mentions it in songs from One Nation. This is just frustrating for a 2Pac fan, the album’s were completed and ready to go, and they could even just put it out as a single disc album, but they have refused to due to the lack of commercial appeal with Duck Down Records. You can bet your bottom dollar that they would have been released had Pac still been around. One of the songs ‘Military Minds’ ft. CoCoa Brovas and Buckshot was remixed and released on the Better Dayz album. They even listed it as a ‘One Nation Song’ in the booklet, idiots! Don’t do that when you have no intention of releasing the product. I have a feeling Death Row East may have even helped with distribution for the East Coast album had it got off the ground in time, this album was definitely going to drop in late 96 or early 97.


2Pac and the One Nation crew in NY

Here is the partial track list.:
War / Bust If We Must – 2Pac & Tha Outlawz
Thug nigga – 2Pac & Busta Rhymes
Bitchez / World Wide Dime Piece – 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Gregg Nyce & Busta Rhymes
Where are My Souljahz at? / Military Mind – 2Pac, Cocoa Brovas & Buckshot
One Nation – 2Pac, Buckshot, CoCoa Brovas, Gregg Nyce, Heltah Skeltah
Let's Get it ON – 2Pac & Buckshot
Men At Arms – 2Pac & Buckshot
 Let's Fight – 2Pac, Busta Rhymes, CoCoa Brovas & Buckshot
Tattoo Tears – Makaveli, Gregg Nyce & Tha Outlawz
How Many Shots Will it Take – 2Pac & Outlawz

A lot of this material has been chopped up and re-used on other 2Pac releases, which is a damn tragedy.

Death Row East


DR East posters Tha Outlawz and Jerzey Mob carried around with them at the MTV Awards

One of the exciting things Suge was really pumped up about in 1996 was expanding his label to take over the East Coast, which was primarily run by Bad Boy at the time. Suge brought Eric B (Rakim’s old partner in crime) in from New York to be the president of Death Row East. RUN DMC were invited to become a part of Death Row, the night Tupac was shot, they were at club 662 in Las Vegas with the purpose of joining, obviously things changed. Other artists 2Pac and Suge were VERY interested in talking to about the record company included the Wu Tang Clan (apparently Method Man was sold on the idea), Treach, Bobby Brown (the link with Suge and Bobby’s image all helped out), Jersey Mob (the outlaw outreach in NY, NJ), Big Daddy Kane (‘Where Ever U R’ 2Pac/Big Daddy Kane suggests material was recorded) and more.


2Pac rockin' the DR East tshirt at the MTV Awards

Jersey Mob and Tha Outlawz were with 2Pac at the MTV awards wearing ‘Death Row East’ tshirts to promote the label just 3 days before Pac was shot down in Vegas. One of the lesser known acts who were actually signed to the label was Da Bastardz. They released a 6 track vinyl including production from K-Solo and 3 songs claiming to be produced by Dre. I think Suge was messing with Dre on this one, coz those songs are crappy and can not be Dre material, at all lol. Once everything went down with the label’s troubles, this group disappeared, and ultimately the sub-label itself. Had it stuck around, we would have seen many more big name acts joining the label, too much money to be made.

Death Row R&B
Ok, Suge Knight always wanted to break into the r&b scene, but didn’t think it was necessary during Death Row’s peak, so he focused on the gangsta rap of artists like Snoop, DPG and 2Pac. There was one hope for a really successful r&b act on Death Row, well 2. Michel’le had already dropped a platinum album when she was on Ruthless Records, but it sold mainly due to the ‘Executive Producer: Dr. Dre’ tag. Michel’le was told she was releasing her album after The Chronic lol, obviously that didn’t happen.

So in 1994 Daniel Stewart aka Danny Boy (DB for short) a 16 year old singer joined Suge and the Death Row family, making his debut (‘Come When I Call’ produced by DJ Quik) on the ‘Murder Was the Case’ soundtrack. Danny Boy was legally adopted by Suge when he was 15 (“Danny Boy aint got no Momma”, lol at eze :D). He lived and grew up in Chicago with his Grandmother who passed away giving custody of him to Suge Knight. Danny Boy recorded his debut solo album in 95/96, by the summer of 96 he had a full DOUBLE CD album completed, but unfortunately it didn’t see light of day. The album had production from DJ Quik (Produced over 50% and mixed the album!!!), Kevyn Lewis, Keith Andes, Daz Dillinger and more, and it featured 2Pac (2 songs), Tha Dogg Pound, Jodeci, Mary J Blidge, Jewell and Gina Longo. I wont bother making a separate section for this album, but will say it is highly sought after.


Danny on the cover of the lead single from his debut album

Danny Boy was an artist Suge was really backing, and in 1996 had 2Pac not been shot and Suge sent to jail, its almost certain his album would have dropped and been VERY successful. He had all the right tools for success, and was amazingly talented at such a young age. Much like the previous artists, and how I explained in the Aftermath thread, Danny was given a chance to promote himself featuring on the single ‘I Ain’t Mad At Cha’ off 2Pac’s smash hit album ‘All Eyez On Me’. He was in the video, and he and Pac performed the song together on numerous TV Shows (Saturday Night Live springs to mind). For your information, DB was one of Pac’s closest homies when he was with Death Row. Danny was at the hospital from the time 2Pac was shot til when he died, unlike many other artists who have since changed stories and claimed to be there (Snoop springs to mind).

Danny has not been signed to Death Row since 99', when he filed for bankrupcy and moved back to Chicago. He has been around the label recently, but not officially signed. He recorded a whole new album and was ready to burst out onto the r&b scene, with an album featuring Crooked I, Busta Rhymes, Babyface, R Kelly and more, but to no avail.

They had a r&b male group signed, called "6 Feet Deep", who got their name due to them all being over 6ft tall. They were called Six-Two, Six-Six, Six-Eight, and Six-Nine. In 98, Six-Nine (Christopher Harvest) got married to actress Vivica Fox (she was in "Soul Food," and "Independence Day" (as Will Smith's girlfriend). They divorced in 2002 I think.

B.G.O.T.I were a female group, consisting of 5 singers who appeared on various compilations and soundstracks but never broke out onto the scene.

Jewell was big at the label around this time, and surely recorded a solo album. The song ‘Smoking The Bud’ featuring Snoop can be heard in a skit on Tha Doggfather album. Jewell had a video released for her song ‘Woman 2 Woman’ off the MWTC soundtrack, but it is extremely rare. She was heavily featured on AEOM, and no doubt would have been feature in more Death Row releases had things not turned sour. She has been one of the biggest mouthpieces describing the wrong doings of Suge and the label in recent years.

Knight Time Entertainment was going to be the subdivision for r&b (an idea Danny Boy had), but it never eventuated.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2005, 07:17:34 PM by TobyTizzle »
 

TobyTizzle

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Posts: 1205
  • Karma: 320
Re: Huge Death Row Records History: Part 2 is HERE!
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2005, 07:15:23 PM »
Sam Sneed – Sneed Indeed 1996


Sam Sneed in blue, Tha Dogg Pound in black

Sam Sneed was possibly the most talented rapper/producer on Death Row in this time frame. Any song he was associated with was a certified smash. Songs like ‘Natural Born Killaz’, ‘Keep Their Heads Ringin’, ‘U Better Recognize’, ‘Blueberries’ (both the DPG version and the unreleased Sam Sneed ft. Snoop version), ‘Bag O’Weed’ (more on this to come) all rung with Sam Sneed sound. According to former sound engineers of the label, Sneed’s album was one of the best created by the label, ever. Tracks such as ‘Lady Heroin’ ft. J Flexx and ‘Blueberries’ ft. Snoop were complete and presumably apart of this album. ‘Lady Heroin’ was projected to be a single, and a video was created for it, which caused a lot of controversy in the Death Row camp, as did his transaction’s with Snoop. Firstly to the video; 2Pac (now acting as the mouthpiece for the Row and Suge) felt Sam Sneed was not loyal enough to the West Coast music scene, and was heavily cemented in an East Coast mentality. So at a meeting called by Suge and Pac they decided to watch the film clip Sam had organised (on his own) and created. Sam apparently was upset no other Death Row artists showed up or put in time to do the video besides J Flexx who was struggling for his own identity at the time anyway. 2Pac and Suge however decided Sam would get a punch everytime an East Coast artist or resident showed up in the video. It’s a catch 22 for Sam, because he obviously wanted people in his clip, and if the Death Row guys rocked up he would have had nothing to worry about. Rumours about a video being recorded for a song titled ‘Hollywood Squares’ are incorrect. Snoop had also asked Sneed how mucgh for a beat, and Sneed was unsure and asked how did $25,000 sound? Later he caught heat for charging one of the labels stars such a price. At this stage Dre had gone MIA from the label, and was in the process of leaving the label. Dre was the main reason Sneed was their, and without his ally in Dr. Dre, Sam Sneed was in a tough situation. Rumours flew around later in the year he attempted to sign with Aftermath but was held back due to his contract with Suge Knight. Seeing Sam Sneed perform live at the 1995 Source Awards is a taste of how good this guy could have been. He was full of energy, and spat rhymes like fire. This album is one of the most sought after from Death Row followers, and it seems with fair reason. So as it stands, his album would have featured Snoop Doggy Dogg, J Flexx, K-Solo and one would assume Tha Dogg Pound. I doubt a song with 2Pac was recorded.



2Pac, David Kenner and Suge at the Mothers day dinner

September 1996 – A busy Month for 2Pac and the Row
Death Row was changed forever this month. Firstly they had the MTV Awards on September 4th, where they proudly advertised Death Row East, and Pac and Nas supposedly met up for their truce. “If you believe in God, believe in Death Row East” – 2Pac.

September 6th 2Pac and Tha Outlawz hit up the Casino’s in Vegas, and at one stage Pac went missing, causing Frank Alexander to run all around the MGM, working out what would later become the Death Row escape route.

September 7th, Suge and Pac attended the Tyson/Seldon fight, which hardly lasted 5 minutes. Once the Death Row entourage made it to the hotel lobby, someone informed 2Pac that Orlando Anderson aka Baby Lane was there. Baby Lane was a Southside Crip who had jacked a Death Row chain from a record label affiliate (Tray, not Tray Deee) up at a Footlocker the month before – there was a $50,000 bounty on them at this stage). Pac reacted and immediately rushed him and it became a huge beat down, and ultimately sent Suge to jail for parole violation. Once they were satisfied they fled the scene led by Frank Alexander who knew the best way out due to searching around the night before when Pac was missing. After this Pac and Suge got changed in their hotel rooms, and organised to kick the night on at 662. Pac asked Frank to drive Tha Outlawz, and Suge and Pac rolled in Suge’s BMW bumping the Makaveli album at maximum volume. Of course it was on the way to 662 when the white Cadillac pulled up and opened fire on the BMW, fatally wounding 2Pac, and ‘grazing’ Suge’s head.


The stolen chain in question

From then until September 13th 2Pac fought for his life in the hospital. Shock G, Jada Pinkett, Danny Boy, Tha Outlawz, Suge and K-Ci visited him over this time. Snoop later claimed to be there, but his story doesn’t add up with all the others, I find this hard to believe also considering the bad blood between them at the time.


Death Row’s Greatest Hits October 16th 1996


Danny Boy and Tha Dogg Pound sit down for some press photo's

It was in the process of making this cd Suge discovered Dre was leaving. Suge had been discussing the project with someone and asked them to get the masters from Dre’s house. When they went to Dre’s crib he wouldn’t let them in. So they called Suge and he said he would come sort it out. To make a long story short, 20 police cars ended up outside Dre’s house, and Suge claimed all he wanted to do was play a few games of pool lol. Anyways the double disc Great Hits set seemed premature, but when you look at the catalogue that came before hand it was justifiable. Dre, 2Pac, Snoop, DPG, Michel’le, Rage, Nate, Ice Cube, Jodeci, Danny Boy, this was a great chance to show off, but there were still some head scratching choices I will get into. Firstly, aside from ‘Hit Em Up’ there was no Death Row recorded 2pac songs. Songs from his earlier albums featured, and a song he did on Scarface’s album (‘Smile’), but nothing from All Eyez On Me. Hit Em Up was included as Suge loved stirring the pot, that why ‘No Vasaline’ by Ice Cube was included (big NWA/Dre diss song), it was not a Death Row song, but Suge asked Priority Records to use the song and Priority were glad to let him use it as they were still pissed at Dre!


Death Row's Security Team, pictured here at the Soul Train Awards

MC Hammer was well and truly apart of the label at this stage, yet they didn’t put a song on the album to promote him? Waste of free promo, they could have even used the DPG/Hammer song he had on one of his earlier albums. This project is great for casual fans, or obsessive fans alike.

2Pac (Under the alias Makaveli: The Don Killuminati) – The 7 Day Theory November 5th 1996

With this album 2Pac became the first hip hop artist to have two #1 albums in the same year and joined such music royalty as Elvis and the Beatles to do so. This was the album 2Pac really wanted to do, the first Death Row album was a payback for Suge, and to boost the Death Row name. It has a lot of similarities to Me Against The World. The album was recorded in 3 DAYS (not 7 as its believed, check 'Krazy' Pac says the '3 day theory' at the start of the song). This album had 2Pac written all over it, All Eyez On Me had Death Row written all over it.
On Makaveli, the lyrics were more than just gang bang **** (eg. '2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted') or wanting to get it on with woman ('All About U'). These songs were deep with disses to his foes at the time of recording the album (Nas, Dr.Dre, Mobb Deep, The entire Bad Boy Staff, Jigga, The CIA and more), and more creative ('Me and My Girlfriend' for example, a story about his relationship with his gun - spurred on G Units 'My Buddy' and Jay Z and Beyonces '03 Bonnie and Clyde', aswell as Toni Braxtons 'Me and My Boyfriend').

Makaveli to me is a classic album, coz the guests are basically limited to 2Pac's click. Edi and Young Noble of the Outlawz on 'Bomb First', Tha Outlawz on 'Hail Mary', Outlawz on 'Life of an Outlaw', Outlawz on 'Just Like Daddy'. The other guests include K-Ci and JoJo, Danny Boy and Aaron Hall on 'Toss It Up'. The album version contains a second verse by 2pac dissing Dre. The original version has the EXACT same beat as 'No Diggity' by Blackstreet ft. Dre, as Dre took material with him when he left Death Row (thus 2Pacs lines at the end 'Yeah we rocking your beat!'). So the album version was tweaked a lil and the new verse added.

This is one of 2 songs, not recorded in the 3 days, but the new verse may have been. Suge got this song organised in the first place, but Im sure it would have happened anyways, all the artists were/are close friends. There are also 2 versions of the film clip to this song, both including the Dre diss though, one was recorded by the beach, you can see them on location on the Death Row Uncut documentary.

'Krazy' was supposed to feature Pac and Tha Outlawz, but they hadn’t written verses for it, and coz Pac wanted the album done quickly, he offered Bad Azz a chance, and he came through. He was never paid by Death Row, but has a verse on a classic album all the same.
'To Live & Die in LA' features Val Young and was the other song already complete, QDIII produced it (Quincy Jones’ son), but then the next day Pac told him he wanted to release it down the Compton Swap Meet, QDIII was like 'Whaaat u gonna bootleg our ****?' LOL. Suge apparently got angry at Pac for mentioning him on this song, still dont know why though. Exerts of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jrn can be found on the album, highlighting 2Pacs political influence on the game and the world.
Lastly, 'Against All Odds' calls out all his enemies in one, but more eloquently than say 'Hit Em Up'. This one goes mainly at Nas, Puffy and 'Haitian Jack' (one of the men present when the female was supposedly rapped in NYC back in 94 - 2pac was jailed, this man received nothing).


2Pac and Suge were best friends, his death affected Suge and DR a lot, here they are seen shopping in happier times

The song 'Friends' was recorded for the Makaveli album, but scrapped at the last minute due to wanting to keep the track total down. This song later surfaced on the 'Too Gangsta 4 Radio' cd, but remixed   ‘Tear Drops & Closed Caskets’ ft. Nate Dogg & Tha Outlawz was also recorded during these sessions, and wow I love this song. Again it was remixed and released on Still I Rise. It wasn’t totally ruined by that remix though, so we can all breathe easy.

The story goes at the MTV awards (September 4th), just nights before the fatal shooting, Nas, 2Pac and Suge had a BIG meeting, like 100 gangsta cats there, and Suge saying 'I dont wanna hear nobody talk but this man and that man'. The beef was considered squashed between Nas and Pac, but the disses were not removed from the album, probably due to Suge needing sales as he was in the slammer and not caring since Pac was dead.

Makaveli pushed around 700,000 copies the first week it dropped (5th November 1996), which is only happening these days with teen/pop/rappers such as 50, Eminem etc but back in the day, those numbers were HUGE.


Death Row and Makaveli Records, first and only release

This being the first posthumous 2pac album, it will remain his best work post-death, although he had the album finished  It was also the first release from Makaveli Records which was most definitely going to exist, along with his production company Euphanasia (seen on his chain worn in September).


Snoop Doggy Dogg – Tha Doggfather November 12th 1996
With all the turmoil surrounding Death Row, this album was very highly anticipated, but people were now unsure of what to expect. 2Pac was dead, Suge was tangled in legal woes, Dre had left the label, would Snoop still have it? For many people the answer was no, as the album has nothing on ‘Doggystyle’. But as the years have passed on many more people appreciate the album now, as they realise comparing it to Doggystyle only sets it up to lose. Doggystyle was amazing. Had Tha Doggfather been his first album it would be considered a lot better, but because it came after a classic it struggles to be respected.

On to the album for now though. Without Dre there was a definite shift in style, Snoop became more ‘cruisy’ whereas in previous years his delivery was much more uptempo. The album featured Tha Dogg Pound, Nate Dogg, Warren G, Tray Deee, The LBC Crew, Soopafly, Too $hort, Charlie Wilson as well as Teena Marie. The intro featured a news report of all of Snoops legal troubles such as his murder case. Death Row were hyped as a controversial label, and they went to any trouble to credit themselves with wrong doings. This album was originally scheduled to come out November 5th, but due to Makaveli coming out it was pushed back one week.

The lead single, ‘Snoop’s Upside Ya Head’ never really took off like Death Row expected. One song from the album was actually intended for the LBC Crew, ‘Blueberries’ which was produced by Sam Sneed, and featured Tha Dogg Pound as well. Snoop ended up putting it on his Doggfather album in a last minute bid to promote his new guys before they would release their debut album (Snoop does not actually appear on the song). It is and has always been my favourite song from the album, and also has an eery intro from Prince Ital Joe. The song ‘Snoop Bounce’ features a vocal sample from Ma$e, which always puzzled me due to him being signed to Bad Boy Records. I think Bad Boy and Death Row cleared it to calm things down, its nothing major, but still.
If you listen to the outro you will hear 2Pac and Snoop doing ‘2 of Amerika’z Most Wanted’, well that audio was recorded at the House of Blues concert from July 4th.

As time has passed, this album has been appreciated more and more.


Nate Dogg – G Funk Classics Vol.1 1996


This ad can be found in The Source magazine in 1996 as well as music shops

So not only did Nate get screwed losing songs like ‘Regulate’ and ‘Aint No Fun’, he got royally screwed here. This album was actually released for 2 days in the US. Death Row ran ads for the cd in The Source, it was advertised in All Eyez On Me, his single (‘Never Leave Me Alone’ ft. Snoop) was getting some air play, but all the crap with 2Pac being dead and Suge’s problems caused this album to get pulled off the shelves due to fear of not selling. I actually ordered the album from my local Sanity at Knox City. I paid $5 deposit, and they said it would be in store in about 3 weeks. It took them 3 months to tell me they couldn’t order the cd lol. Guests on the album included 2Pac, Daz, Kurupt, Snoop, Tray Deee and production was handled by Sam Sneed, Johnny J, Daz, Teddy Riley and more. Once Nate left the label later in 1998 he took Suge/Death Row to court and amazingly won the rights to release Vol.1 in its entirety (it came out as the double cd G Funk Classics Vol.1&2). Sam Sneed had left the label at this point, and in the booklet the track he produced ‘Bag O Weed’ was listed as ‘Produced by Nate Dogg’, where as when Nate later released the song, Sam Sneed was listed. Proving Death Row often altered ‘facts’ to please themselves. In all honesty this cd would probably not have sold a lot if released properly in 96, perhaps one million, at the most, and that would be purely off the Death Row imprint. Seens the cd was fully pressed, copies have become available in recent years as people have released a few box loads of the cd, at one point there was a chance to buy 5000 copies of ebay for like $1000. lol I was thinking about it :p

Christmas On Death Row December 12th 1996


Kurupt and Napolean & Kadafi of Tha Outlawz have a laugh here from October 1996, this christmas was not a cheerful one for Death Row however. And by December Kadafi had been killed

You know you are successful when you are releasing Christmas albums, let alone from a company with Death in the name lol. This album capped off a huge year for Death Row, and to me is not all that bad musically either. I bump this cd every year around Christmas time, its always good to celebrate Christmas while still bumping some Danny Boy or Nate Dogg. Only wish they could have incorporated a 2pac verse into a song, he does not feature on the album. Danny Boy has 8 songs, and this was right around the time Suge was really pushing to release his cd, they obviously recorded these songs assuming Danny’s album would have been released or just released. Anyways, aside from DB, the album featured Nate Dogg, DPG, O.F.T.B, J Flexx, Michel’le, Jewell, 6 Feet Deep, Barney Rubble, Guess, plus a song featuring Snoop, Tray Deee, Soopafly, Bad Azz, Daz and Nate Dogg titled ‘Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto’ lol. The album didn’t break any sales records, but held its own. You should be able to find it cheap at JB these days, go cop it.
I have no where else to slot this is so I will inform you now David Kenner earnt $13million from 1995-1996 with Death Row. Nice work considering he would have earnt a lot in cash as well. He was the protector of Death Row from the beginning to know, he was so smart and intellectual. He was the perfect fit for Suge.


Hope you enjoyed part 2!

peace Tiz
« Last Edit: April 11, 2005, 07:20:45 PM by TobyTizzle »
 

Detox Iz Not Active

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Posts: 4703
  • Karma: -900
  • Tonite
Re: Huge Death Row Records History: Part 2 is HERE!
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2005, 07:34:36 PM »
good shit again
Guess who back in the motherfuckin house
With a fat dick for your motherfuckin mouth
Hoes recognize, niggaz do too
Cuz when bitches get skanless and pull a voodoo.....
 

We Fly High

Re: Huge Death Row Records History: Part 2 is HERE!
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2005, 07:37:23 PM »
dope good shit. sick to see some of those pics.
 

411

  • Guest
Re: Huge Death Row Records History: Part 2 is HERE!
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2005, 07:39:50 PM »
ohh shit part 2?? ?? ?? i still havent got a chance to read part 1, ill try my best to begin with the first tomorrow
 

Darksider

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Posts: 7481
  • Karma: -130
Re: Huge Death Row Records History: Part 2 is HERE!
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2005, 07:40:57 PM »
yeah thanks..some nice pics
« Last Edit: April 11, 2005, 08:52:27 PM by Inmate »
 

Wild_Elmo

  • Guest
Re: Huge Death Row Records History: Part 2 is HERE!
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2005, 07:58:24 PM »
wow, nice read. i hadn't seen some of those pitures until now.
 

SlickPants

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Posts: 1290
  • Karma: 52
Re: Huge Death Row Records History: Part 2 is HERE!
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2005, 08:01:42 PM »
fuck yeah, finally!  thanks dude
 

TobyTizzle

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Posts: 1205
  • Karma: 320
Re: Huge Death Row Records History: Part 2 is HERE!
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2005, 08:04:18 PM »
Thanks guys... I'm glad you noticed the pics...   :-* some havent been out on the net before
 

prince

  • Muthafuckin' OG
  • ***
  • Posts: 499
  • Karma: 46
Re: Huge Death Row Records History: Part 2 is HERE!
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2005, 08:24:26 PM »
real dope read homie....

much much props...
 

Milk Man

  • Lil Geezy
  • *
  • Posts: 72
  • Karma: -18
  • Original Hustler
Re: Huge Death Row Records History: Part 2 is HERE!
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2005, 08:32:15 PM »
Mad props on this homie , good fuckin read , some shit i had no idea about , where did you pick all this shit up from ?

The Dream Team
 

ColdManey

  • Guest
Re: Huge Death Row Records History: Part 2 is HERE!
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2005, 09:08:28 PM »
Damn good read. I appreciate you for it. Is there gonna be a part 3?
 

TobyTizzle

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Posts: 1205
  • Karma: 320
Re: Huge Death Row Records History: Part 2 is HERE!
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2005, 09:10:34 PM »
Yeah I got about 4500 words of Part 3 already, still havent covered everything I want to. But there is less and less info as the time moves on, especially 98 onwards, it all becomes crap imo, but still some interesting stuff to ready im sure. But the start to 1997 is the best part of Death Row imo...

glad y'all are liking this...
 

Okka

Re: Huge Death Row Records History: Part 2 is HERE!
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2005, 09:12:21 PM »
Thanks man, a nice ass read and nice pictures, but there's somethin odd with that Sam Sneed & DPG pic i thought that Dre was supposed to be on that picture too...