Daz Dillinger Is Really Serious About A Death Row Biopic…So Much So, He’s Cast It (Photos)
F. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton blockbuster biopic of N.W.A. addresses the rise of not only the group, but 1980s West Coast Gangsta Rap. In the film, in addition to the group members (Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, MC Ren), pivotal Rap figures are portrayed including The D.O.C., Chuck D, Da Lench Mob, Sir Jinx, and Above The Law. Additionally, the film examines Dr. Dre’s 1991 departure from Eazy, N.W.A., and Ruthless Records, to launch Death Row with Suge Knight.
While Death Row Records is a minor plot-line in Straight Outta Compton, one of its breakthrough artists is underway telling that dynastic rise and fall. Daz Dillinger (f/k/a Dat Nigga Daz) would achieve multi-platinum success at Death Row through Tha Dogg Pound, a group he formed with Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native Kurupt. As an MC and producer, Daz would work on others’ albums at the label, contributing to efforts like Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle, Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, and Tupac’s All Eyez On Me, among others. After the label’s late ’90s mass-exodus, Daz Dillinger would be one of the last original inmates to remain. He took on an executive position, and directed production, releasing his own acclaimed 1998 Retaliation, Revenge & Get Back, in addition to signing acts like Crooked I, Soopafly, and Funk Mobb’s Mac Shawn. During this time, Daz would become estranged from Kurupt, Snoop and Tha Dogg Pound. Upon his own controversial and embittered exit in the 2000s, Daz would begin a vitriolic campaign against the label, and its then CEO, Suge Knight—a feud that has lasted into the present. In the early 2000s, following Daz’ departure, Kurupt would notably join Suge following the executive’s prison release. These complications put Tha Dogg Pound on bitter hiatus between much of the late 1990s and early 2000s, before eventually reuniting. In the last five years, Daz was reportedly courted by new ownership to help re-launch Death Row. Citing financial reasons, the artist refused.
The Long Beach, California representative is applying his time with Death Row into a biopic of his own. Dogg Pound 4 Life is the reported title Daz is using to chronicle his experiences with Suge, Dr. Dre, cousin Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, and Tupac. Like Straight Outta Compton, Daz’ biopic takes its name from one of his group’s most celebrated hits. Another, 1994’s “What Would U Do?” appears in Gray’s film.
According to Instagram, Daz has already cast parts including himself, Kurupt, Nate Dogg, Tupac, and Suge Knight. Notably, Dr. Dre—one of Daz’ mentors—will be reportedly played by Dre’s real-life son, Curtis Young. According to TMZ, Kurupt will be played by “The Wire” actor Melvin Jackson, Jr.
The DPG Records founder has previously worked in film, almost entirely of the home release variety. In 2002, he made his directorial debut in Gangsta S**t: The Movie, a compilation film starring Snoop, Nate, and others. Daz also produced films such as Make It Rain, Eazy-E: The Life and Timez Of Eric Wright, and Tha Row Killa, a 2006 documentary indictment of his former label.
As one of the longest “inmates,” do you think Daz Dillinger can properly (and objectively) tell the story of Death Row?