Dr. Dre was one of the people most responsible for launching the famed Death Row Records in the early 1990s, and he was also a major factor in the label’s chart-topping success throughout the decade. But now, the super producer is suing his former label for more than $3 million in unpaid royalties. According to Radar Online, Dre says Death Row still owes him money from the body of work he produced and recorded for the label during it’s golden years.
Dre claims he is owed $1,200,386.57 in unpaid artist-producer royalties, $1,179,913 from digital sales and $676,444.44 for unpaid mechanical royalties. He also states that Death Row failed to honor a bonus agreement — one that would have significantly raised his royalty rate. Reportedly, a judge decided on the digital sales amount after Dr. Dre lost a 2010 trademark infringement suit.
Dre joined Marion “Suge” Knight at Death Row Records in 1991 following his acrimonious departure from Eazy E‘s Ruthless Records. Dre would go on to produce major albums for the label, including his own solo debut The Chronic, Snoop Doggy Dogg‘s Doggystyle, Tha Dogg Pound‘s Dogg Food and the Above the Rim soundtrack. But his distaste over Knight’s business dealings and the violent atmosphere at the label led to Dre moving on in early 1996 — a move that would be as controversial and bitter as his leaving Ruthless had been five years earlier. Since then, Death Row has slipped into irrelevance.
In 2006, Death Row Records was taken over by WIDEawake, and is now officially WIDEawake Death Row Entertainment.