As the fallout from Kendrick Lamar’s GQ cover story continues, LA’s elder statesman Snoop Dogg affirms what Top Dawg, Gotty, and so many others have previously said: No, TDE isn’t the 2013 Death Row and Top Dawg isn’t Suge Knight. Far from it, in fact. The comparison was a lazy, inaccurate cop out. And the fact that Snoop came up as an integral piece of Death Row Records really cements the credibility to weigh in on the matter. Per his interview with Vibe:
“Death Row did it with a gangsta approach. We was smashin’ on niggas, fuckin’ people up, we was determined to be the hardest, meanest, baddest, coldest, roughest, toughest in the game. That was our mission. TDE, rappers. They peaceful, they love, they get down, they rappers from everywhere, and they represent Hip Hop. They don’t represent negativity and violence, and trying to mash and disrespect. Death Row, we came out disrespectful. Eazy-E and anybody that came out with Dr. Dre. That was our first get-down, was fuck them niggas up first. That’s not TDE mentality. Their mentality is cool with everybody.”
The bottom line is the core fundamentals of the two labels are complete and polar opposites. As Snoop put it, Death Row was founded as a response to Eazy-E and the NWA breakup, while TDE was created with the sole intent of becoming a successful powerhouse in the music industry. Sure, there may be some similarities and connections, such as Tupac’s overarching influence and Dr. Dre’s competitive spirit, but the way the two companies conduct business is absolutely different.
And when it’s all said and done, their legacies of Death Row Records and Top Dawg Entertainment will be nothing alike.