Death Row Records Files for Bankruptcy, Cheats its Artists Out of Millions

By on May 17, 2016 in ArticlesMusic News

The bankruptcy saga surrounding Death Row Records, a label that hip-hop superstars Tupac and Snoop Dogg once called home, is finally over.

Founded in 1991 by Dr. Dre and Marion "Suge" Knight, Death Row declared bankruptcy a decade ago, in April of 2006. Their debts were listed at as much as $137.4 million, with $4.4 million in assets.

Soon after they declared bankruptcy, Warner Music group made a $25 million bid to own all of Death Row Records' music-related assets, and on January 15, 2009, the label was auctioned to the entertainment development company WIDEawake Entertainment Group, for $18 million.

During the auction, everything found in their office after the label declared bankruptcy – including the iconic Death Row Records electric chair – was sold.

J. Emilio Flores/Getty Images

But the amount of money their former artists claim the label still owes them is staggering.

According to legal documents, Nate Dogg is owed $5 million, Snoop Dogg is owed $2 million, Dr. Dre is owed $8 million.

And, if his claims are true, Suge Knight will have lost out on an obscene $144 million in the bankruptcy.

The only artist to have received any money is Tupac, however, it was just $75k. The money has since gone to the estate of his Afeni Shakur, his mother, who recently passed away on May 2, 2016. The estate may receive another $57k in the future.

The artists will likely never see a dime of the money they claim they are owed, as it is expected that the final report will be signed by a judge.

Death Row, once a label teeming with incredible musical talent, has now been put to rest – apparently taking hundreds of millions of its artists' money with it.

Articles Written by Mia Bencivenga
Mia Bencivenga is a writer, editor, project-manager, and overall word enthusiast. Prior to her adventures in the literary world, she received her bachelor's degree in Linguistics and a certificate in the Arabic Language and Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh. On most days you can find her dutifully writing and sipping in a number of Pittsburgh's tea houses. Follow her on Twitter @MiasMiniRants
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