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Dre denied royalty claim over debut album

By | Published on Tuesday 13 May 2014

Dr Dre

While Dr Dre gets his ‘richest man in hip hop’ poster framed – ready to put above his new desk in Apple HQ if and when the Beats deal goes through – the hip hopper’s bean-counters might have to accommodate a $3 million hole in their man’s accounts. Maybe go with a solid gold frame instead of the platinum one?

The hole has been caused by a ruling in the US bankruptcy court relating to Dre’s long running squabble with Death Row Records, his original business venture and label home, with which he has had acrimonious relations since 1996. Though in more recent years those bad relations have been with bankruptcy judges and those who acquired the once seminal label’s assets, rather than with Death Row’s larger than life founder Suge Knight.

Dre has had both hits and misses in his bid to claim more royalties from what’s left of Death Row over the years, mainly in relation to his debut album ‘The Chronic’. He alleges that his former label has repeatedly underpaid him, and also exploited the album in ways not allowed under his original contract. And in 2011 a lawsuit regarding Death Row’s selling of the record digitally went in the producer’s favour.

But a new attempt to recover $3 million in lost royalties stemming from the dispute has not gone so well, with a judge ruling against the producer last week mainly because of a list of technicalities, including a failure to properly present the numbers and contracts at the heart of the case, and some statute of limitations fun times.

All of which – any appeals pending – leaves Dre $3 million down. Though with all the Beats deal bragging, I’m not sure anyone’s going to care.