Dr. Dre Takes On Death Row

After trying to sue his former label, Death Row Records Inc., for unpaid royalties several times, rapper and music producer Dr. Dre filed documents February 5th with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles to try to get to the bottom of exactly how much the company owes him.

Under Rule 2004 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, Dr. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, requested documents with information related to contracts between him and Death Row, revenue from the sale of his recordings and agreements to release his recordings as part of compilation albums.

Young requested that Death Row hand over the documents February 29th and that its representatives be available for deposition on March 7th.

The rapper co-founded the label, which was home to Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur, in 1991 with Marion "Suge" Knight. Young had held a 50 percent ownership stake in the label and gave Death Row a license to distribute his 1992 album The Chronic in exchange for royalties. In 1996 he gave up his ownership interest but retained the right to receive royalties for all recordings prior to the agreement.

Young claims Death Row hasn’t followed through on the agreement and is in further violation of the contract for allowing another company to have the distribution rights to his recordings.

In April 2006, Death Row Records filed for Chapter 11 protection.

The court-appointed administrator running Death Row’s bankruptcy estate recently asked to sell the label’s music-related assets, which includes the The Chronic and several compilation albums featuring his recordings, to Warner Music Group Corp. for $25 million, subject to higher bids at auction.

In January a California district court agreed to hear Young’s appeal of the bankruptcy court’s dismissal of one of the suits he filed against Death Row Records.