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Snoop Dogg now owns Death Row Records

LOS ANGELES — Snoop Dogg has taken over a popular record label that launched his stellar career.

The rapper-mogul acquired Death Row Records' brand from MNRK Music Group, which is controlled by a private equity fund managed by Blackstone, the investment firm announced Wednesday. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Snoop Dogg said he's excited about acquiring the label's brand.

"I am thrilled and appreciative of the opportunity to acquire the iconic and culturally significant Death Row Records brand, which has immense untapped future value," the 50-year-old Snoop Dogg said in a statement. "It feels good to have ownership of the label I was part of at the beginning of my career and as one of the founding members. This is an extremely meaningful moment for me."

Snoop Dogg found his springboard to success during the 1990s while on Death Row Records. The label was founded in 1992 by Dr. Dre, Suge Knight, the D.O.C. and Dick Griffey in the immediate aftermath of the breakup of N.W.A.

David Kestnbaum, a senior managing director at Blackstone, said he's looking forward to seeing Snoop Dogg at the helm of Death Row.

"We are excited to put the Death Row Records brand back in the hands of a legend like Snoop Dogg," Kestnbaum said. "We wish him success in the years ahead as the brand moves forward under his leadership and vision."

The label's records, including Dre's first solo album "The Chronic" and Snoop Dogg's debut "Doggystyle," are considered classics of the hip-hop genre that defined an era.

Tupac Shakur became the label's star artist later in the '90s before he was shot and killed in Las Vegas in 1996 while riding in a car driven by Knight. Shakur's death brought on decline for the label, which led to decades of decline for Knight himself.

Knight lost Death Row after it went into bankruptcy in 2006. He served time in prison and had a knack for being near violence that eventually caught up with him.

"Snoop is clearly the executive to take Death Row into its next 30 years," said Chris Taylor, president and CEO of MNRK Music Group.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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The Associated Press