Ma$e Releases A Video Announcing He’s Signing To Death Row

It has been just six months since Snoop Dogg announced he acquired Death Row Records, and there has been newfound excitement around the record label originally founded by Dr. Dre and Suge Knight. Tha Dogg Pound announced that they have returned to Death Row after more than 20 years away and are working on a sequel to their chart-topping, double-platinum 1995 debut, Dogg Food. In July, one of Death Row’s original investors, Michael “Harry-O” Harris, told Kevin Garnett that Dre and Snoop are at work on a new album together, in the tradition of 1992’s The Chronic and 1993’s Doggystyle. Harry-O, who is now tied to the latest relaunch of Death Row, also told KG that the label is looking to cultivate new talent while working with many of its creators from the 1990s and 2000s.

This week, Ma$e has revealed that he is joining Tha Row. In an Instagram video, the Harlem, New York MC pointed to street landmarks while sharing some news. “I’m on Crenshaw — just passed Pico, just passed Slauson — and I’m out here to meet with Snoop [Dogg], so I can do another joint venture with Death Row Records.” The platinum artist added, “I’ll be officially the first one signed to Bad Boy and Death Row. And we gon’ get the Tupac [Shakur] thing rekindled. Let’s see where we go with that.” It is unclear what Ma$e meant by “thing rekindled,” though Tupac and Suge Knight were at the center of a mid-1990s feud between the two labels, opposite Biggie Smalls and Puff Daddy.


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Ma$e Rallies For Hardcore NYC Hip-Hop On Tupac & Dr. Dre’s Track (Audio)

The August 3 video arrives 27 years to the day after the 1995 Source Awards. That event, at Madison Square Garden, is where many members of the Hip-Hop community learned of a rift between Death Row and Bad Boy. In the next two years, Tupac and Biggie were each gunned down. Though no arrests were ever made, investigators including retired LAPD detective Greg Kading has publicly implicated the record company executives were tied to the two deaths. In 2015, Snoop and Diddy used the venue to do a symbolic concert together at MSG.

Before Snoop’s regime, Death Row made previous attempts at signing Bad Boy acts. With brokering by Eric B., the label attempted to sign Craig Mack after his mid-’90s exit from Bad Boy. Death Row producer Johnny J worked on 1997’s Operation: Get Down. Mack and Johnny have both since passed. Tha Row also made a play for The LOX. The Yonkers, New York trio declined an offer, though they contributed a song to 2000’s Too Gangsta For Radio compilation. Bad Boy star (and Biggie’s then-wife) Faith Evans reportedly provided vocals to the original version Tupac’s “Wonder Why They Call U B*tch,” from 1996’s All Eyez On Me.

Puffy Details Stepping To Suge Knight After The Source Awards & Suge Backpedaling (Video)

On Drink Champs this year, Snoop Dogg stated plans to build brand bridges between Death Row and Bad Boy.

Notably, Ma$e largely dodged the Death Row/Bad Boy feud. 1996 marked his breakthrough on 112’s “Only You (Remix)” alongside The Notorious B.I.G., followed by “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” with Puff Daddy. In late 1997, the former Children Of The Corn member topped the charts with his solo debut Harlem World.

Ma$e has not released an album since 2004’s Welcome Back, marking the first of several reunions with Bad Boy. Despite touring in the last decade, Ma$e has become an outspoken critic of Diddy and his business. In early 2020, the rapper publicly condemned Diddy during the Grammy Awards weekend. He did so again this summer on Gillie Da Kid and Wallo’s A Million Dollaz Worth Of Game podcast. Meanwhile, Ma$e has been in the news for the financial terms used in a 2018 contract to sign Fivio Foreign—a now platinum-certified artist who released B.I.B.L.E. on Columbia and Ma$e’s RichFish, LLC last month.

Travel Back To Big L, Cam’ron & Ma$e Freestyling On Stretch & Bobbito In 1996 (Audio)

During the mid-2000s, after a period as an Atlanta, Georgia-based pastor, Ma$e signed with 50 Cent’s G-Unit Records for a stint. Although he did appear on the Get Rich Or Dyin’ soundtrack, the artist left without a solo release. Five years ago, a beef reignited between Ma$e and former band-mate Cam’ron where the two MCs traded diss bars.

#BonusBeat: New Death Row Records by Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg is currently on the official Ambrosia For Heads playlist: