Ruthless Records vs. Death Row

Ruthless Records vs. Death Row

Ruthless Records vs. Death Row

Ruthless Records vs. Death Row

Ruthless Records vs. Death Row

Ruthless Records vs. Death Row


“What’s Beef?”
(Record Label Conflict- Ruthless Records vs. Death Row)
By: Ron “Mr. Kane” Alexander

Ron “Mr. Kane” Alexander

Like Biggie said “Beef is when ya need 10 dogs to go to the shop / Beef is when ya roll no less than 30 deep / Beef is when I see you / guarantees to be a ICU (what’s beef). When ever measurements are stretched to that level is what you can call beef! But now-a-days, beefin with somebody is more like a street term commercialized by rap music. Good day to you all, this is ya boy Mr. Kane at it again, of course it don’t stop!

This time around, the title is called “What’s Beef?” I also hope you all enjoyed the last one (Politics n’ between) as well! Allow me to break down what real beef / beefs really are. Where beef (the term) comes from, and how music and artists portray the term as why to get the audiences attention. Plus, I am also going to break down some original beefs from way before the term was created.

As for the Rap/Hip-Hop industry goes, beefin with another artist or label goes far back to when rap first became established and popularized. Before the Gangsta Rap era, there was competition as far as battle raps, and friendly dissin and trash talking, but never was anything taken in a way to produce any harm. But as styles started to evolve, and different hoods got involved, and the money started to become more of a factor, things changed.


Ruthless Records vs. Death Row

 Let’s fast forward to the start of the Gangsta Rap genre. Ruthless Records, Easy-E, Dr. Dre and N.W.A. At the beginning, everything went well with the super group. Everybody played their positions all the way to unexpected success. Dr. Dre did most of all the actual tracks, D.J. Yella did spins and scratches, Ice Cube wrote for various members in the group, M.C. Ren supplied straight street sense, and Easy-E, well, his popular role was very questionable towards the group. Easy-E did establish a special relationship with the headman “Jerry” at Ruthless Records. Yes, it is true that Easy helped push the group to that extra mile of getting a chance. But once the actual success started kicking in, several members of the group felt like ends were no longer meeting financially. Ice Cube was one of the first to realize he wasn’t receiving proper salary for his line of work. And at the same time, he was also noticed the financial success that Easy-E and Jerry were receiving, was more reasonable than the others. And so Ice Cube quit!  It did take a second for the other members to realize money wasn’t rollin in properly, but once they did, they also departed as well.  A few years down the line, words were publicly being exchanged towards the members according to Easy’s and Jerry’s relationship, and business relationship. The other members came to discover (allegedly) the money owed from the label to them (contract wise) was all fixed. And some felt cheated. The allegations were denied, and that’s where the beef started. Dr. Dre signed with Death Row records founded by Suga Knight which later became a Rap Music Powerhouse, with an All Star roster. So once Dre dropped his first album “The Chronic”, accompanied by his young protégé from Long Beach named Snoop Doggy Dogg, he still felt the need to address his “Ruthless Records” situation on sound. Now I’m sure you all remember Dre’s second single tilted “Dre Day” right? The whole song and video was directed straight towards Ruthless Records, Easy-E, and Jerry.

A.J. Johnson, a very talented comedian played Easy on the video, in which made Ruthless Records look like a straight up joke. Death Row records on the rise, did receive all recognition in which made Easy and Ruthless look like the bad guys. So right then and there, the beef was officially on!
There were members from both camps in which had several run ins with each other, but never did things pursue to a street level. But even though both sides claim they were going to (as well as willing) take it there; it never became anything more than a “label beef”. Some say that Easy and Ruthless were skeptical about beefing with Death Row due to the labels street reputation. But eventually, when ever the money started to slow down a bit, Easy-E did come back and redeem himself with a dis album titled “187 it’s All On You Die”.  The album sales weren’t really matched to Dre’s Chronic album, but I personally liked it.  Easy’s first single from the album was titled “Real Compton City G’s”. The song was a come back response due to Dre’s “Dre Day” in which Easy questioned Dre’s street credibility, as well as Snoops too. Now around this era, both of these two record labels influenced the entire youth (including myself and everyone I knew).


Most Interesting Beef in Rap History

This was one of the first original beefs that triggered more beefs to occur later on through out rap music. This beef between the two camps lasted for a few years, all the way until Easy passed away. When Easy was sick before he passed, Dre, and other members of N.W.A were posted by his death bed to pay their homage and clear things up a bit.  And it’s a fact that this went down as one of the most interesting beefs in rap history. But unfortunately, once again with “Dre’s) situation, things started to repeat itself. His current situation with Death Row became an absolute success. The Chronic became the first multi platinum rap album, followed with Snoop’s album “Doggy Style”. The “Dogg Pound” later recruited “2-Pac”, became an instant success. From the early to mid 90’s. Death Row appeared to be unstoppable. And the only ones to become their worst enemies were their selves, and that is what eventually happened. The same situation with Ruthless Records went on with Death Row. Supposedly, the money wasn’t flowing right, and things started to become an “I tell you what to do” type situation. It all started between Snoop and Suge Knight. Once the money issues began turning into actual assaults and violence, Snoop decided it was time to go. So once Snoop departed and signed with “No Limit”, Dre realized it was time for him to make another move also.
 But “2-Pac” (the major star of the label) decided him and Suge didn’t need the two to still remain a success. And so words were exchanged between Pac and Dre, but only Pac found it necessary to beef with Dre on wax.  Remember, 2-Pac’s decision to stay with Death Row eventually ended up costing him his life. Before it made it to street level, before Snoop left and everything was still all good at Death Row, there was a more severe beef that took place.


The Source Awards

 Do you remember the Source Awards in which was taken place in New York? Well, around this time Bad Boy Records was on the rise too, and pretty much started to escalate to the same level of success as Death Row did. The Notorious B.I.G, Puffy, as well as other New York artists were very big also. But it truly appears that the different styles and flavors were truly segregated and divided. The Source awards proved it!  Biggie and 2-Pac started off as one time friends long before the two started seriously rappin. Things supposedly changed and both rappers went on with their own individual lives to purse their individual goals.  The two would meet up again, but under unfriendly terms. 2-Pac accused Biggie of copying his fashion style and taking his rap. Now that’s more severe beef that I’ll go into in a minute.


East vs. West

The Source Awards is really where it all went down. Snoop Dogg stepped on the stage to accept his award and noticed that the East Coast crowd was booing him. He ignored it at first until other West Coast artists who performed and won awards were booed as well. The East Coast audience then began to toss objects onto the stage. Snoop had had enough and stepped up and said “What! so the West Coast can get no love?” Well f#%^ yall then!”  Come to find out, what really took place at the Source Awards was a declaration of East Coast / West Coast beef.  Snoop and other West Coast artists supposedly had a hard time making it to their busses. So whenever West Coast artist made it back home, they immediately began dissing records about the east. Not to mention, 2-Pac ended up going back East to New York to record in a studio in Manhattan.  He was shot five times as he came down an elevator from the studio. There was serious speculation if who was behind 2-Pac’s attempted murder. Pac returned back home to the West Coast and recorded a song called, “Hit Em Up”, in which he directed towards the ones he seriously believed, tried to kill him. So a lot of other West Coast artists followed Snoop and Death Row’s lead and indulged in the beef! Some lives were lost, including the two best M.C.’s to ever do it (Biggie and Pac), and that’s when others started to wake up a little later on.  There were already beefs in circulation like D.J. Quik M.C. Eiht in which some say Quik wanted to take it to the streets but the other wouldn’t meet him half way.


Beef Sells

Things started to tarnish at Death Row and Suge and Snoop became bitter enemies also. But Dre played it smart and went on to start his own label which is still up and succeeding till this day like Eminem and 50 Cent. Then you had Jay Z and Nas with their microphone beef over baby mommas and nonsense. Nas supposedly shut it down with his “Either” response.  Then you had Foxy brown and Lil Kim, No Limit and Cash Money, T.I and Lil Flip in a scuffle of their own. T.I went to Flips hood in H-Town (Cloverland) and got wrestled down a bit. The beefs continued between artist such as L.L. Cool Jay and Canibus, triggered by a comment young Canibus made about a tattoo on L.L’s arm. And then you got The Game vs. G-Unit, Buck vs. 50 Cent, Camron vs. Dipset, Fat Joe vs. 50, Pall Wall vs. Chamillionare, Shawty Lo vs. T.I, Twista vs. Bone Thugs, Murder Inc vs. 50, and Mike Jones vs. Trae in which Trae slapped Mike Jones in the face at the O-Zone Awards last year.  Most beefs now-a-days are watered down and the artists only proceed to get attention or boost their record sales. For instance, 50 cent tried to throw the bait at Lil Wayne 2 years ago, but Weezy was smart enough not to feed into it, and as a result is the most successful artist today.

Eventually beefs in the industry did die down and that’s only because the audience have been seeing the same old tactics for too long. So if you really sit back and ask yourself what’s beef, I guess you could say it’s either propaganda or plexin!

This has been another Convicted Artist exclusive. This is Mr. Kane signing off once again. Much love to my bro’s and ese’s on lock.


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