Reports have begun circulating that renowned hip-hop producer and founder of iconic gangsta rap group, Dr. Dre, is set to sell off his musical assets in a deal with both Universal Music Group and Shamrock Capital. The deal, which would also see Dre sign over his rights to his other income streams, has been rumoured to be worth £200 million US, according to both Variety and Billboard.
The deal would see Shamrock Capital, who struck a deal with pop singer Taylor Swift to buy her first six albums from her original label, include Dre’s artist royalties from two of his solo albums, his share of N.W.A. artist royalties, his producer royalties, and the writer’s share of his song catalogue where he doesn’t own publishing—which potentially includes his writer’s share of The Chronic.
For their part, Universal Music Group would have the master recording rights to Dre’s 1992 debut LP The Chronic—which are set to revert to Dre from Death Row Entertainment in August 2023—and his share of Kendrick Lamar’s releases through the Top Dawg Entertainment deal with Interscope (A UMG subsidiary) and Dre’s Aftermath imprint.
Dre however would still retain a stake in Aftermath, the label he set up after leaving the then Suge Knight owned Death Row Records, and helped break through some of the biggest names in hip hop including Eminem and 50 Cent. It’s the second time that Dr. Dre has been involved in a huge business deal within the music industry, after selling his Beats by Dre brand of audio equipment to Apple in 2014.
Dre, born Andre Young, has recently been in the news after the use of his popular track Still D.R.E was used in a campaign video for Republican representative Marjorie Taylor Green. Dre’s team fired out a cease-and-desist against the congresswoman immediately afterwards, with the letter stating the legendary producer “will never grant [Green]“permission to broadcast or disseminate any of his music.”