Life after Death Row: Daz and Kurupt
Daz and Kurupt’s relationship after Death Row became a bizarre one. With many of partners leaving including his partner and rhyme Kurupt. Daz stayed on the label on 1998 and worked on his solo projects. His debut album titled Revenge, Retaliation, Get Back was a roll call to all of his West Coast Comrades and included some pretty dope material including OG(Featuring Snoop and Nate), Intated(Featuring Pac, Outlawz and Kurupt), In California, and Ridin High(featuring WC) were major highlights and still proved that despite the company’s major problems that they can still put out good music.
But the problems were more of the same for Daz as while it was possibly his best solo album to date, The album didn’t get the recognition it truly deserved and it was heavily overlooked. Daz stayed on the label until 2001 so he can take the million dollar worth of Death Row material that was there at the time(Which in an interview claimed stole from their studios). Being that he too was cheated out of millions from Suge, He felt he can get him back the best way and thats by stealing his most prized recordings along with some lost and valuable Tupac work. This started out a very ugly feud with Death Row that would carry out for close to a decade.
Kurupt on the other hand started off with a bang for his solo debut titled Kuruption which featured the cali classic We Can Freak it. We Can Freak It was possibly one of the best songs to have come out from the Left Coast and possibly the one of Kurupt’s nicest tracks. Kurupt signed to an Independent label named Antra and released his solo debut titled Kuruption which was labeled as a disappointment. Kuruption showed that Kurupt couldn’t carry a double disc and the fact that he recorded a second disc full of East Coast style production wasn’t what the people wanted to hear considering he just left a west coast label.
Kurupt would reunite with his rhyming partner in crime Daz a year later and released Tha Streetz is a Mutha which is Kurupt’s best solo work to date. The album built off the hot momentum set off by Dr Dre’s Chronic 2001 and showcased that Kurupt was still vicious on the mic as he was during his Death Row days. The album also showed that Kurupt wasn’t afraid of battling as he would throw shots at DMX,Ja Rule, Foxxy, and man others claiming Foxxy cheated on him with DMX and that Murder Inc was trying to sign Daz for kibble and bits. The beef would shortly be resolved as it escalated to violence and resulted to Kurupt’s bodyguard being killed.
The Reunion turned sour
After fighting for his freedom, Daz started soaking up the game about how to run a label Independently and started doing work with Bay Area Legend JT Da Bigga Figga. JT taught Daz the ropes about distributing his music independently and making more money while Daz soaked up the game like a sponge. Daz was already close to broke similar to many leaving Death Row and only had 300 dollars to his name with some stolen work from Death Row headquarters so JT helping him getting on his feet and helping him learn the Independent game may have saved his career. He would start releasing his own solo projects on his own DPG Imprint making a lot of money and reuniting with Kurupt for their second album titled Dillenger and Young Gotti. Due to Death Row owning the name “Tha Dogg Pound” They had to change it to D.P.G. or D.P.G.C. for copyright purposes. The album itself wasn’t as great as Dogg Food but it showed that the two still had chemistry despite the label issues over the years.
Tha Dogg Pound looked fully unified after years of separation but sadly that reunion would be short-lived as Suge Knight would be released from his 5 year prison stint and he was ready to cause trouble. He was still bitter about what happened with his artists leaving ship, dissing him and he wanted to show that he was still the bully of the West Coast. Suge’s second move after touching ground and signing new acts such as Crooked I, Eastwood, and Left eye was a shocker. Suge was able to get into Kurupt’s ear and suggested he sign with Death Row Records. Kurupt knowing his camp are already at odds with Suge reconsidered. But then Suge threw him the option of being the company’s Vice President and Kurupt agreed. It was a move that surprised many including Snoop, Nate, Daz and his Dogg Pound family.
An ugly fued arises
Kurupt’s move proved to be a major shock in the Industry. Snoop, Daz, and Soopafly began to launch a smear campaign claiming sellout, traitor, similar to how Suge did Dr Dre when he left. Kurupt clearly didn’t want to engage in any battle with his friends and just wanted to make music. Kurupt’s reason for the move was mainly financial. Antra records filed for bankruptcy which left Kurupt possibly left without a home. He was struggling financially and was at his lowest point. Suge knew this and similar to how he did Tupac, Sold him a position and a pipe dream in exchange to use their talent to extract revenge for personal gratification. Kurupt tried to stay out of the war but with Tha Dogg Pound(Mainly Daz) firing shots nonstop at him and Death Row whenever it be on wax or on interviews. Kurupt had enough and started firing back at his former friends with diss songs such as “Eat a Dick” and No Vaseline part II
The feud between both camps resulted in alot of disses fired back and forth from 2002-2005. There were beatdowns(Bad Azz getting jumped by Death Row), Shootouts(Suge’s studios getting shot up) and serious threats being issued out by Daz, Suge, Snoop and others involved in that whole cycle. It seemed that with this much tension going on between the camps that the talks of a possible reunion or a truce were thrown out of the window. Daz went to the next level. He won a 25 million dollar lawsuit against Suge, Death Row and started doing a DVD titled Death Row Killa and released videos poking fun of Suge Knight and the Death Row camp.
It further got ugly when Kurupt’s other group the Riflemen which consisted of 40 Glocc, Jayo Felony, and Mobb Deep started to get involved and set a bullseye on Daz. Many feared that this ugly fued would result in casualties in the streets and reignite a gang war between blue and
Tired of the feuding going on. Snoop Dogg organized a press conference calling out all West Coast artists, producers, singers, DJ’s radio hosts for a truce and unity. The press conference made major headlines and proved to be a great move for everyone in the West Coast and even made Daz and Kurupt squash their vendetta. They quickly started working together and released albums such as Dillinger and Young Gotti II, Cali is Active, Dogg Chit, and 100 Wayz. The Chemistry isn’t as magical as before(As evident on Cali is Active and Dogg Chit) It’s good to see that they put their issues behind them and continue to unify. Their 100 Wayz album looks to be a banger and their still keeping it gangsta!