Although it’s fallen on some very hard times in more recent years (more about that in a second), Death Row Records was once one of the seminal labels in the world of West Coast hip-hop, introducing millions to the work of Dr. Dre, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, and many more. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the label—founded in 1991 by Dre, The D.O.C., and Suge Knight, out of the soon-to-be-wreckage of Eazy-E’s Ruthless—played a major role in shaping the sound of late-20th century music. And now, it’s owned by the same people who own Furby.
This is per Consequence Of Sound, which reports that, as of this week, Hasbro has finalized negotiations to acquire the content library of Canadian conglomerate Entertainment One. eOne, as it’s sometimes known, is one of those huge mass media companies that owns a whole heaping bunch of shit—including international distribution rights for The Walking Dead, production and distribution on Peppa Pig, and, courtesy of a series of bankruptcy hearings and auctions over the last 15 or so years, Death Row Records. (One suspects Hasbro was more excited about bringing Peppa under its roof.)
And look, we know: There’s not a chance in any kind of hell that Hasbro is ever going to do anything with these rights, outside of maybe—maybe—including a few Tupac bars in one of those new G.I. Joe movies they keep trying to make. This is, like so many stories of big business content acquisitions, really just a story about the ongoing and endless commodification of art into the hands of the moneyed and artless.
On the other hand, though, we would absolutely play a Dr. Dre-branded version of Operation, or mess around with Snoop Dogg’s Weed-ja board, or play the Who Killed Tupac? edition of Clue. (Okay, maybe not that last one.) Let us have our dreams, please; at this point, companies like Hasbro own pretty much everything else.