Upcoming Oral History Features Never-Before-Published Interviews Interwoven with Explosive Recollections from the Production of the Award-Winning Documentary Welcome to Death Row, the film that was the foundation of Universal’s Straight Outta Compton.
“A fantastic companion piece to the movie, offering fresh new revelations from this combustible era.”
-Ben Westhoff, The Guardian (UK)
LOS ANGELES, August 5, 2015- S. Leigh Savidge, screenwriter and co-executive producer of Universal Studios’ highly anticipated feature film Straight Outta Compton announced the August 14, 2015 publication of “Welcome To Death Row: The Uncensored History of the Rise & Fall of Death Row Records in the Words of Those Who Were There” (Available for presale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble).
The book depicts the rise and fall of the notorious Death Row Records label through first-hand accounts of the people that lived it, vastly expanded with new, shocking revelations, coupled with the story of the high-risk and tireless quest to complete the film in the face of non-stop death threats, music industry bullying, threatened litigation, financial extortion and street gang intimidation.
“Suge was famous for applying the old Mafia tactics. He would instill fear in everybody. A guy just walks in; he has no idea we’re in the middle of a meeting…he wants a record deal. He walks in and says, “I rap.” So Suge says, “Okay, rap. If we don’t like what you do, we gonna kick your ass.” He said maybe three words, and they just lit his ass up.” –Former Death Row rapper NATE DOGG
Called “the most dangerous story in the history of the music business” “Welcome to Death Row” chronicles how director Savidge and producers Steve Housden & Jeff Scheftel navigated a surreal world of Crips & Bloods, crooked lawyers and cocaine kingpins, gangsta rappers and thuggish music executives, and persuaded key players to tell their story under the threat of retaliation from every side.
The “making-of” narrative is interwoven with vastly expanded interview excerpts with over 60 former Death Row rappers, promoters, music executives, producers, managers, publicists, lawyers and drug dealers –all eyewitnesses to the label’s phenomenal success, internal battles and violence, and its inevitable crash.
“The interviews that made it into the film pale in comparison to the transcripts contained in this book” says producer Steve Housden. “Leigh was so fascinated with the NWA element of the Death Row story we decided to develop a narrative feature film on the subject. That‘s how the Straight Outta Compton movie was born.”
It started in Compton. It ended in infamy.
Highlights from the book include:
Countless firsthand accounts of life inside the infamous Death Row Records label, some funny, some disconcerting.
Details of Savidge’s relationship with incarcerated drug kingpin and Death Row Records co-founder Michael “Harry O” Harris, and their epic clash of wills while making the film.
Suge Knight’s no-holds-barred tactics to induce Michael Harris’ wife Lydia to accept a $1,000,000 settlement in the face of the $107 million judgment she and her husband had secured against Death Row Records.
Tomica Woods-Wright’s untold story about the night Eazy-E “released” Dr. Dre and the DOC (a.k.a. Tracy Curry) from their contract with Ruthless Records.
Interscope Records founder Jimmy Iovine’s alleged involvement with Harris and his fears of being outed in the film.
A bizarre and very tense late-night meeting with O.J. Simpson prosecutor Christopher Darden, who had formed a brief alliance with Michael Harris’ wife Lydia.
Previously undisclosed details of the vigorous state prosecution that successfully pinned an attempted murder conviction on Michael Harris, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
A thug-turned-music-promoter threatening a well-known journalist after said journalist revealed details about the Tupac shooting.
The women who had the courage to stand up to Death Row CEO, Suge Knight.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
S. Leigh Savidge is the founder and CEO of Xenon Pictures, an established company that is one of the most successful and enduring independent film distributors in North America. Savidge created the country’s first label for independent black audience films and was instrumental establishing in the home entertainment market of the Latin/Spanish-language genre.
Savidge and his company developed Straight Outta Compton as a follow up to Welcome to Death Row. With his co-writer, he produced the first 20 drafts of the screenplay before selling the project into the studio system.
For more information please visit: welcometodeathrow.com