Death Row has sold nearly 50 million albums worldwide, and generated close to $750 million in revenue. The label was also once home to RBX, The Lady of Rage, Warren G, K-Solo, Michel'le, Danny Boy, Bow Wow, DJ Quik, Tha Realest, and Crooked I. In addition, the late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes of TLC was signed on and working on an album when she died in an automobile accident.
Tupac vs Notorious B.I.G.:
From late 1995 into early 1996, 2Pac would appear on numerous tracks aiming threatening and/or antagonistic slants at the Notorious B.I.G., Bad Boy as a label, and anyone affiliated with them. During this time, although B.I.G. never directly responded, the media became heavily involved and dubbed the rivalry a coastal rap war, reporting on it continuously. This caused fans from both scenes to take sides with one set of artists or another.
In spring 1996, the music video for 2Pac’s song, “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted” began with a lampooning of Biggie and Combs, in which 2Pac pulled out a cigarette from his pocket, portraying Biggie as a weakling afraid to die when he thought it was gun as the song intro begins. That summer, 2Pac continued his antagonism toward Biggie with the infamous track “Hit 'Em Up,” in which he claimed to have had sex with B.I.G.’s wife, singer Faith Evans, and proceeded to threaten the lives of both he and Combs. The song’s harsh content was viewed by detractors as Shakur having gone too far and taking the feud to another level.
Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 — September 13, 1996), was an American rapper. In addition to his status as a top-selling recording artist, Shakur was a successful film actor and a prominent social activist. Most of Shakur's songs are about growing up amid violence and hardship in ghettos, racism, problems in society and conflicts with other rappers. Shakur's debut album, 2Pacalypse Now, gained critical recognition and backlash for its controversial lyrics. Shakur became the target of lawsuits and experienced other legal problems. He was later shot five times and robbed in the lobby of a recording studio in New York City. Following the event, Shakur grew suspicious that other figures in the rap industry had prior knowledge of the incident and did not warn him; the controversy helped spark the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry.
Shakur was later convicted of sexual abuse. After serving eleven months of his sentence he was released from prison on an appeal financed by Marion "Suge" Knight, the CEO of Death Row Records. In exchange for Suge's assistance, Shakur agreed to release three albums under the Death Row label.
On September 7, 1996, Shakur was shot four times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, and died six days later of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest at the University Medical Center.
Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), popularly known as Biggie Smalls (after a gangster in the 1975 film Let's Do It Again Big Poppa, and his primary stage name, The Notorious B.I.G., was an American rapper.
Raised in Brooklyn, New York, Biggie grew up during the peak years of the 1980s' crack epidemic and started dealing drugs at an early age. When Biggie released his debut album with the 1994 record Ready to Die, he was a central figure in the East Coast hip-hop scene and increased New York's visibility at a time when hip hop was mostly dominated by West Coast artists. The following year, Biggie led his childhood friends to chart success through his protégé group, Junior M.A.F.I.A. While recording his second album, Biggie was heavily involved in the East Coast-West Coast hip hop feud dominating the scene at the time. On March 9, 1997, he was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles.
Bad Boy Records (P Diddy) vs Death Row Records (Suge Knight):
Death Row artists who acknowledged Bad Boy Records, or those who didn't support the feud, were looked down upon by Tupac. Lady of Rage commented in an interview that Tupac had once called her the "weakest link in Death Row" because she wouldn't insult Bad Boy. Tupac also spoke ill of Dr. Dre for not having testified for Snoop during his murder trial, discouraging the West Coast-East Coast tension, and for his having departed the label in early 1996. Tupac and Jon Mauck dissed Dr. Dre on KMEL radio in the Bay Area for not running the streets representing with him and Mauck and the label and being too slow on producing beats for their album. Snoop Dogg eventually would fall out with Tupac shortly before his death because of an interview in which Snoop claimed to like and respect B.I.G.'s music.
Despite the infamous feud, Suge Knight had planned to open a New York chapter of the label to be called Death Row East, even signing K-Solo, the only rapper that signed before the label disappeared. Eric B. was slated to head that label. In an interview, 2Pac named rappers they planned to sign, from Big Daddy Kane to the Wu-Tang Clan. The branch, however, was never formed.
Tupac was shot and killed in Las Vegas in September 1996, while riding on the passenger side in a car driven by Suge Knight. Soon after, Knight was sentenced to nine years in prison for a parole violation relating directly to a fight that both he and Tupac were involved in on the night of his death. As a result of Dr. Dre's having previously left the company, Tupac's death, and Suge Knight's incarceration; Death Row Records imploded almost instantly.
Bad Boy Records :
Bad Boy Records (originally Bad Boy Entertainment) is an East Coast Hip-Hop/R&B record label founded by producer/rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs in 1993. Today it operates as a subsidiary of Warner Music Group, and is distributed by Atlantic Records.
Upon his firing, Arista Records chief Clive Davis took advantage of Combs' free agent status and agreed to bankroll him his own vanity label to be operated through Arista and its BMG parent. A handful of the acts who had been signed to Uptown via Combs just prior to his dismissal were dropped from the label; among them were Christopher Wallace (aka The Notorious B.I.G.), and Craig Mack—both of whom Combs would take with him to his new company.
Death Row Records:
Death Row Records was a record label that was founded in 1991 by Dr. Dre and Suge Knight, and was once home to some of West Coast hip hop's biggest Rappers, including 2Pac, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tha Dogg Pound (Kurupt and Daz Dillinger).