Death Row Records, the iconic record label once at the top of the hip-hop game, is now owned by Hasbro Toy Company – yes, really.
Founded by Dr. Dre, The D.O.C., Michael ‘Harry O’ Harris and Suge Knight in 1991, the label was home to a roster of major artists including Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur, Tha Dogg Pound, MC Hammer, as well as Dre himself.
Its downfall started after Tupac’s death when he was killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996, with Knight at his side. Earlier that night, Knight had been caught on video fighting with someone in a casino – this was used to charge Knight with a parole violation, and he ended up with a nine-year sentence.
As the controversies and lawsuits piled up in the subsequent years, and tentpole artists like Dr. Dre and Snoop’s departures, Death Row Records filed for bankruptcy in 2006.
WIDEawake Entertainment were the first company to pick up the label; purchasing Death Row for $18 million in 2009. However the label’s catalogue was sold it to Entertainment One in 2013 after New Solutions Financial Corp – the company behind WIDEawake – went bankrupt.
The Game, Joe Budden, and DJ Khaled have all released new music under Entertainment One’s ownership – but there’s been no indication of the label’s direction now that it’s under Hasbro’s command.
As reported by NME, Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner said of the acquisition:
The acquisition of eOne adds beloved story-led global family brands that deliver strong operating returns to Hasbro’s portfolio and provides a pipeline of new brand creation driven by family-oriented storytelling, which will now include Hasbro’s IP.
Hasbro as the massive toy company behind Monopoly, G.I. Joe, Transformers, and My Little Pony. Their $4 billion acquisition of Entertainment One means they now control much-desired brands like Peppa Pig and PJ Masks.
While one would assume Hasbro’s ownership of Death Row is a funny by-product of their wider acquisition, could we see some rap-themed board games? How about Monopoly: Rap Edition?
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.