Welcome to Death Row


Welcome to Death Row
The Uncensored History of the Rise & Fall of Death Row Records

by S. Leigh Savidge

Xenon Press

Paperback, $29.95

380 pages

ISBN: 978-1-597884068

Book Review by Kam Williams

“In the wake of Marion ‘Suge’ Knight’s move to rip the guts out of Ruthless Records and NWA, Death Row Records.exploded on the music scene in 1993 with the ‘gangsta rap’ sound that had taken the world by storm. Yet, despite its unprecedented success with stars Welcome to Death Row, The Uncensored History of the Rise & Fall of Death Row Records, S. Leigh Savidge, Book Reviewsuch as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur, it quickly unraveled in a firestorm of rivalries, greed, violence and government scrutiny as Suge Knight’s unconventional business methods increasingly mirrored the violent, hard-edged themes of its music…

[This book] is the complete and untold story of the rise and fall of the notorious Death Row Records label, presented as an oral history through first-hand accounts… stories from over 60 former Death Row rappers, promoters, music executives, journalists, producers, managers, publicists, lawyers, and drug dealers—all eyewitnesses to the label’s phenomenal success, internal battles and violence, and its inevitable crash.

Interwoven with these histories is the story of how [the author] navigated a surreal world of Crips and Bloods, crooked lawyers and cocaine kingpins, [and] gangsta rappers and thuggish music executives… under the threat of retaliation.”

— Excerpted from the Bookjacket

Straight Outta Compton is a runaway hit movie which has made over $150 million at the box-office and counting. Despite the biopic’s popular appeal, the flick still has its share of detractors who criticize it for serving up a sanitized version of the rise and fall of NWA.

The problem is that the film repositions the group as civil rights activists rapping mostly about racism and police brutality. In the process, the picture glossed over the fact that many of their lyrics also celebrated misogyny, materialism, black-on-black crime and conspicuous consumption. Furthermore, they were no altar boys in real life, but got involved in everything from beating women to a bloody East Coast-West Coast turf war which would claim the lives of rival rappers.

For an unvarnished version of just what went down you might want to check out Welcome to Death Row, a compelling page-turner culled from quotes by insiders like Snoop Dogg, Master P, Dr. Dre, Suge Knight, Puff Daddy, MC Ren and the late Tupac Shakur. After reading this illuminating tome, it struck me as tragic that the icons of rap failed to figure out how to peacefully coexist.

For instance, Tupac, after claiming to have slept with the late Biggie Small’s wife, Faith Evans, bragged, “If this was chess, we’d be yelling

Welcome to Death Row, The Uncensored History of the Rise & Fall of Death Row Records, S. Leigh Savidge, Book Review

Author S. Leigh Savidge

checkmate!” Biggie countered on a radio show with, “I can’t believe New York is allowing Tupac and Tha Dogg Pound to shoot a video in our city.” And you know what happened to ‘Pac next.

  A riveting post mortem dissecting why gangsta rappers would even consider settling their differences in ways that, well, in ways that real gangstas settle their differences.

To order a copy of Welcome to Death Row, visit:


For movies opening October 28, 2016

  OPENING THIS WEEK Kam's Kapsules Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun by Kam Williams For movies opening October 28, 2016 BIG BUDGET FILMS Inferno (PG-13 for action, violence, profanity, disturbing images, mature themes and brief sensuality) Third installment of The Da Vinci Code franchise finds symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) suffering from amnesia and on the run with his physician (Felicity Jones) from a billionaire geneticist (Ben Foster) with a … [Read More its Good for You...]


Nat Turner’s Mental and Military Motivations

  Nat Turner's Mental and Military Motivations By Ezrah Aharone   Nate Parker's movie  has revived the question: What caused Nat Turner's 1831 uprising? Turner, first of all, was not a deranged misfit who acted outside of a historical context of previous African freedom fighters.  Throughout slavery's duration, resistance was not only constant and fatal, but twofold . . . Africans equally resisted both slavery and … [Read More its Good for You...]


ART EXHIBITION: 150 Years After The Civil War

  Cynthia Groya 150 Years After The Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective January 10 - March 6, 2016 Artist's Reception: Sunday, January 24, 3:00 - 5:00 pm Nassau Club 6 Mercer Street  Princeton, NJ 08540 The ideas reflected in Groya's paintings express a conversation about struggle for equal rights in our culture, in our time. The origin of this struggle can be traced to The Civil War in our country, which ended 150 years ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Castles in America

  Castles in America by Amy Lignor   Robin Leach and his “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” taught us all long ago that we absolutely love to sit and view ridiculous luxury (usually owned by people who inherited all of it and didn’t work a day in their lives). See that? We had to complain about something as we were beguiled by the amount of money people would send to own or create the “best of the best.” Even though some things were referred to as the “gaudiest of … [Read More its Good for You...]


It’s Not Your “Grandma’s” Pumpkin Anymore

  It’s Not Your “Grandma’s” Pumpkin Anymore by Amy Lignor   As times move forward, technology expands. However, so does the imagination. No, I’m not talking about a new cell phone or animatronic device that creates pumpkins; I’m talking about some seriously cool ways to carve pumpkins that are popping up all over the internet. Unique, awesome, colorful – people across the U.S. have used their imaginations during the 21st century to create some of the most stunning … [Read More it Good for You...]


Finally, a Boat Shoe You Can Get Wet

  Finally, a boat shoe you can get wet   By Craig Lamb   I am happiest with wet feet. For me, that means wading a shallow saltwater flat, casting for tailing redfish. Or paddling aboard my sit-on-top kayak, cruising a river in search of smallmouth bass. Not my favorite, but when the fish are biting, fishing in the rain.   Yep, I do like getting my feet wet, but it can get downright annoying when my shoes stay wet. Footing is a challenge when shoes … [Read More its Good for You...]


Saying Goodbye to Legends…

    Saying Goodbye to Legends… by Amy Lignor   When someone you admire departs the Earth, it is extremely sad to come to terms with. In the days just passed, people and fans had to deal with the departure of two men from the world of sports. Although one perhaps was not a surprise, seeing as that the gentleman lived a good, long life, the other departure was shocking. One was a legend, while the other was on the road to becoming just that.    When … [Read More its Good for You...]


The Business of “Fear” Brings in $8 Billion a Year

  The Business of “Fear” Brings in $8 Billion a Year by Amy Lignor   There are aspects of Halloween everyone knows about. From the scary boogeyman to the haunted houses set up in cities and counties from sea to shining sea, the world certainly understands that the “frightening” is also the “entertaining” when it comes to All Hallows Eve. What most may not know, however, is the fact that Halloween is a billion (yes, BILLION) dollar industry. People are more than … [Read More its Good for You...]


I Double Dare You!

  I Double Dare You! by Amy Lignor   Haunted houses, zombie-filled corn fields, small towns that like to get together and light up the night with scary-faced pumpkins – there are all different types of Halloween events and haunts you can take the kids to and have a good time. And we’ve researched and reported on the best of them. But if you’re one of those…those who like the macabre…there are places around the globe that offer far more than just a “spooky” … [Read More its Good for You...]