Universal is loving the success of Straight Outta Compton at the moment, and are trying to seize this moment to green light another hip-hop biopic. This time the focus would be Death Row Records, and its iconic artists from the mid-90s like Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg, as well as Suge Knight, the label’s feared and respected co-founder. Who’s the other co-founder? Dr. Dre, a central figure in Compton.
As of now, the film is being based off of a book and documentary by S. Leigh Savidge, who also received a story credit on Compton. Since it’d be coming from Universal, this has the makings of a pseudo-sequel, and they likely want to get this done quickly while Compton is still fresh in people’s minds.
There is, however, one potential complication. It’s one that has plagued other biopics based on the lives of musicians:
As of now, they don’t have the rights to the music.
This issue was one that left the recent Jimi Hendrix film, All Is By My Side, hamstrung. In the film, Andre 3000’s Hendrix was forced to play covers of songs by other artists from the era since they didn’t have the rights to anything actually written by the legendary guitarist.
It’s a problem that will hopefully find the same kind of resolution that Compton did, since Savidge managed to convince the rights-holders for N.W.A.’s music to come onboard that project. Universal likely hopes Savidge can work his magic again, so that Welcome To Death Row can fully come to life with the music that made it such a powerful force in the world of West Coast hip-hop.
What do you think? Would you like to take a trip to Death Row and continue to explore this spotlight on old school hip-hop?
SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter