May 18, 2015

Dr. Dre "Straight Offa Death Row" (Vibe, 1996)

"Another California earthquake ripped through the hip hop nation and once again its epicenter was Death Row Records. Dr. Dre, cofounder of the four-year-old company and the creative force behind its $125 million success, has reportedly left to form his own label. At press time, none of the parties involved would comment on Dre's departure, but sources told VIBE it's just a matter of time before he signs with Interscope and announces his new plans. Since January, rumors of Dre leaving Death Row ricocheted through the industry like stray bullets. The alleged reasons were myriad: Death Row cofounder and CEO Suge Knight was upset that Dre didn't appear on Saturday Night Live with Tupac in February or show up at Snoop Doggy Dogg's murder trial; that Dre wanted to introduce rock, reggae, and jazz into Death Row's musical mix while Knight wanted to stick to hip hop and R&B; and that Dre was leaving to hook up with Def Jam's Russell Simmons. Neither Death Row nor Interscope would comment. Simmons, however, wanted to clarify his role in the drama. "The rumors of me signing Dre are false," he says. "I'd pay any amount of money to be in business with him, but we've had no discussion." - Vibe Magazine, 6-7/96. These were pivotal times in hip-hop.