Have Gun will Travel: The Spectacular Rise and Violent Fall of Death Row Records

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9780385491358: Have Gun will Travel: The Spectacular Rise and Violent Fall of Death Row Records
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Death Row Records is one of the most successful music labels of all time.  From its inception in 1992, it exploded on the rap music scene with sales climbing to the $125 million mark in just four years.  Even more noticeable than the label's financial success is the effect it had on American youth culture, making gangsta rap more popular with suburban white youth and MTV viewers than traditional rock groups.  But under the guidance of six-foot-four-inch, 300-pound CEO Marion "Suge" Knight, Death Row also became the most controversial record label in history--a place where violence, gang feuds, threats, intimidation, and brushes with death were business as usual.

Have Gun Will Travel details the spectacular rise and violent fall of a music label that had at its heart a ferocious criminal enterprise cloaked behind corporate facades that gave it a guise of legitimacy.  With inside access no other writer can claim, Ronin Ro, the country's preeminent rap journalist, exposes the facts everyone else is afraid to divulge--from the initial bankrolling of Death Row by a leader of L.A.'s notorious Bloods gang, to links with New York's Genovese crime family.  Have Gun Will Travel lays bare the full story behind this influential label, including the still-unsolved murders of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., as well as Suge Knight's rise to power, his fight with East Coast rap titans such as Sean "Puffy" Combs, and his eventual imprisonment.

Although it has been all over the news--from The Wall Street Journal to Rolling Stone--this is a timeless story about an empire built on greed, corruption, murder, and exploitation.  With exclusive interviews and bloodcurdling eyewitness accounts, Have Gun Will Travel combines the behind-the-scenes fascination of books like Hit Men and Hit and Run with the violence and dramatic sweep of The Godfather, in a brilliant and blistering document of contemporary culture.
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Review:

No one more epitomized the world of gangsta rap than Suge Knight, the often brutal CEO of Death Row Records. Author Ronin Ro shows courage in detailing the frightening means used by Knight to corner the market on the most hard-core of urban music. It's a tale that reads like it was written by the bastard offspring of Horatio Alger and Quentin Tarantino. Knight's forceful style and legal entanglements have been the stuff of legend for years. Most music reporters, coming face to face with the thugs who enforced the rules at Death Row, have been afraid to tell the story. With Knight safely behind bars and Death Row in disrepair, Ronin Ro finally has the chance to put this violent soap opera in print.

From the Publisher:

"Harrowing and definitive, Have Gun Will Travel succeeds so spectacularly because Ronin Ro is blessed with a rare combination of street smarts, solid writing skills...and cojones of steel."
--Michael Azerrad, author of Come as Your Are: The Story of Nirvana

"The first informed look at a world the mainstream media still seems unable to penetrate."
--New York Post

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