With numerous classic albums, countless platinum plaques, and an infamously rich lore that is often only found in mafia movies, the record label known as Death Row Records has always been at the forefront in utilizing techniques that garner success. Iconic myths fuel the label’s legend, as stories of “inventive” hostile take-overs with lead pipes, late night gunfights, and ruffling the feathers of one of the biggest names in 90’s rap by hanging him from a 15th-floor hotel balcony propelled the company into the limelight, garnering numerous awards and record album sales.
The label was undoubtedly on top of the game at the beginning of the decade but was clearly in decline by its end. Now, having risen from a capitalistic grave, a newly resurged Death Row is taking a leap into the realm of film. Now owned by WIDEawake Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of Death Row Records was recently launched to undertake the endeavor. Lara Lavi, CEO Death Row, will head both groups.
“We’re looking at film properties that relate to Boyz ‘n the Hood-type stories, and to power the films with Death Row music,” Lavi told The Hollywood Reporter.
The first film to be produced by the camp, Sons 2 The Grave, is set to start filming in October in Toronto, Canada. The story surrounds a young basketball star returning to an embattled inner city ghetto after two gunshots cut short his dream of an NBA career.
“This film embodies what we’re trying to do with Death Row, to tell human stories that don’t always have happy endings, and that allow us to learn from violence and disenfranchised lives, but not glorify it,” added Lavi.
Death Row is also entering into the licensing game, with numerous songs from its collection of over 10,000 masters which will now start appearing on TV shows such as “CSI” and “Cold Case” as well as the digital realm. Gaming giant EA Studios has procured the rights to several songs for use in some of its upcoming blockbuster titles.
The label is also re-releasing Dr. Dre’s classic album, The Chronic. Dubbed The Chronic Re-lit, the album will feature a collector’s disc that will have seven new songs as well as previously unreleased video footage of Dre and other artists. Box sets of unreleased master recordings are also set to hit shelves during the Christmas season.