2Pac. Snoop Doggy Dogg. Dr. Dre. Tha Dogg Pound. Nate Dogg.
At its height, Death Row Records boasted one of the greatest lineups in hip-hop history, all of it overseen with an iron fist by Suge Knight. It’s amazing that in only four years and with only eight albums released – The Chronic, Doggystyle, Above the Rim [soundtrack], Murder Was the Case [soundtrack], Dogg Food, All Eyez on Me, Makaveli, and Tha Doggfather – the label sold more than thirty million records and made such an impact, not only on hip-hop, but all of American music.
This 2001 documentary analyzes the rise and fall of Death Row. It’s almost a decade-and-a-half old, so some of it is dated, but it is still a penetrating look into what happened at the label, from engineers getting pistol whipped for rewinding tape too far to Dre leaving to ‘Pac’s death. The film was turned into a book and is now being discussed to be made into a Straight Outta Compton quasi-sequel., but no music rights were granted for this doc, so that may stall the project.
Regardless, this is a great documentary and an inside look at what was going on at Death Row.
Previously in Documentary Tuesday:
Room 237 | Exit Through the Gift Shop | The Death of Superman Lives | 30 for 30: The Price of Gold | Paradise Lost | 30 for 30 Short: The Deal – Alex Rodriguez to the Boston Red Sox | The World’s Most Expensive Stolen Paintings | Imagine…From Pencils to Pixels | Behind the Music: Nirvana | Planet B-Boy | Soul Survivor | The Cheshire Murders | Sound and Vision
Christopher Pierznik is the author of eight books, all of which can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, and many more. He has been quoted on Buzzfeed and Deadspin. Subscribe to his monthly reading review newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.