When I was a kid, I remember I used to see those TV commercials where you could buy houses and cars seized from drug dealers who had been arrested, and I would think, “Man, that’s an incredible deal.” I’d wonder why everyone wouldn’t just buy their shit at auction.
Plus, I think I realized early on (I was always very perceptive as a child, that’s why I blog for a living), that I might never be in a position where I’d otherwise be able to buy a car or a house. I’ve never been the kind of person who excels at things.
It wasn’t until years later that I realized that, if you bought a car that belonged to a drug dealer who was in jail, and he got out and he saw you riding around in his car, he’d probably try to shoot you and get his car back. The guy’s already been in jail, so he probably would shoot somebody.
I’m not sure what’s the likelihood of a drug dealer seeing you riding around in a car and knowing for certain that it’s his, but why run the risk? The only thing I could see is if you bought a car that belonged to a drug dealer in a different town.
I know a lot of Asian kids, who of course fetishize black culture (or are we gonna pretend that they don’t?) will buy low riders that used to belong drug dealers in LA and have them shipped over to China or whatever. But I doubt they’d try to pull that shit right there in LA!
Buying a house that belonged to a drug dealer would definitely be out of the question. Even if the drug dealer never came back, you’d have to deal with crackheads showing up looking for some rocks. It might be a good way to get some head, but head’s not that expensive anyway.
Similarly, I’m not sure if, if I was one of these rappers, and I had the means, I would want to buy Death Row Records, which I guess got taken from Suge Knight because he owed too many people money, and he ran off anyone who might be able to make him another hit. (Oops!)
Back when it was announced that Death Row was for sale, I suggested that Diddy ought to try to buy it. Obviously, he’s got the money, and it seemed like a good idea at the time, in that it would have been the ultimate fuck you to Suge Knight, who may or may not have been involved in killing Diddy’s one positive contribution to hip-hop.
But it’s probably for the best that Diddy didn’t bother. I doubt Suge Knight would have liked it very much at all, and Diddy already dodged a bullet once, quite literally, back in 1997. Why tempt fate twice? I’m not saying Suge Knight’s the kind of guy who would have Diddy killed for buying his label. I’m just saying.
As far as these other rappers are concerned, who knows? Would it be such a big deal if a rapper who wasn’t even around back in those days, who has the means, bought Death Row? Like, what if Ludacris had bought the label.
I got to thinking about this shit the other day, because someone actually did buy Death Row. In particular, I was concerned that the amount that they paid didn’t seem like a whole lot of money, and it seemed like this might have been a good opportunity for one of these rappers, who are always looking for new business opportunities.
Some company I never heard of – probably just some cracka-ass crackas with a shedload of money and decent investement sense – bought Death Row recently for $24 million. I’m not sure if they got a whole lot with the deal, but they did get the rights to what sounded like pretty much every album Death Row put out, including the likes of The Chronic, Doggystyle, and All Eyez on Me.
Now granted, I’m no expert on math or business or anything like that, even though I have a degree in it. But I’m thinking that $24 million dollars for Death Row Records had to have been a pretty good deal, right? I mean, if you just happen to have $24 million lying around. How long can it be until you make back your initial investment and then start checking cheddar like a food inspector?
Let’s do a little math. Let’s say this company makes $8 for every Death Row album it sells. Which is what I’ve often read is the cut of the album these TIs get, before they account for production costs and pay out what little fraction, if any the artist receives. (Any music industry people reading this, feel free to correct me, if I’m wrong.)
Doing a little long division here, unless I’ve failed to carry the zero or some shit (some would say I’ve been carrying the zero for years…), I’ve determined that these cracka-ass crackas only have to sell 3 million Death Row albums to gross $24 mllion in sales. That’s it. And let’s say they have to sell a few more, to cover costs, before they’ve recouped their investment. Still, these motherfuckers probably just bought themselves one hell of a cash cow.
Only thing is, I’m not sure how well those old Death Row albums sell these days. You know how old rap albums don’t sell as well as old rock albums. I was reading the other day how AC/DC, who haven’t been relevant since the days of Back in Black, i.e. a little while before I was even born, signed this incredibly lucrative deal with Wal-Mart, and it was saying how they still sell over a million albums a year, to this day. Certainly, all of Death Row’s acts combined = one AC/DC, no? It’d be pretty sad if they didn’t. Shit, it’s pretty sad any way you look at it.