Not Stranded On Death Row…Dr. Dre Wins The Chronic’s Digital Rights
Nineteen years ago last month, Dr. Dre left Death Row Records. While artists such as RBX and The D.O.C. had already severed ties with the multi-platinum label, the news was confusing to many, as Dre helped co-found the label. However, due to reported creative differences with label CEO Marion “Suge” Knight, Andre Young left the imprint to found Aftermath Entertainment—his third label in five years.
As legend has it, according to Newsweek, Dre would leave the label without his publishing rights to his works, any equity in the label (which then included 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, and Tha Dogg Pound), and an assortment of unfinished works from his tenure at the label. Naturally, this included The Chronic, Dre’s triple-platinum solo debut.
Nearly 20 years later, Dre (presumed to be a billionaire, if not close) can laugh last. Suge Knight, who declared bankruptcy in the last several years, is currently awaiting trial for murder, facing life in prison. Death Row’s new ownership, who re-released The Chronic several years ago, has now been forced to remove the 1992 classic Hip-Hop album from digital outlets.
According to HipHopDX, U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder ruled that due to WIDE Awake/Death Row not properly compensating Dre, the label/ownership group must halt digital sales and streams, along with reportedly turning over those digital rights to Dre.
D-R-E’s attorney, Howard King, released the following statement: “For years, Death Row Records forgot about [Dr.] Dre when they continued to distribute his music digitally and combined his hits with weaker Death Row tracks in an attempt to elevate the stature of their other artists,” King wrote in a statement, presumably referring to compilations and re-packaging. “We are gratified that the federal court has unambiguously declared that Death Row has no right to engage in such tactics, and must hold all proceeds from these illicit distributions in trust for our client.”
As Dre is part of Beats Music, could the album featuring Snoop, Kurupt, The Lady Of Rage, and Bushwick Bill, be headed soon to Beats’ streaming service? Do the song titles on The Chronic take on some prophetic meaning in 2015?