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

Front Cover
Broadway Books, 1999 - Music - 372 pages
8 Reviews
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.


From the Hardcover edition.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
1
4 stars
3
3 stars
3
2 stars
1
1 star
0

Review: Have Gun, Will Travel: The Spectacular Rise and Violent Fall of Death Row Records

User Review  - Roselam Iquk - Goodreads

This book was published only one year after Death Row Records fell apart. I think the author should've waited at least a couple of years before writing this book because there has been a shit load of ... Read full review

Review: Have Gun, Will Travel: The Spectacular Rise and Violent Fall of Death Row Records

User Review  - Scott - Goodreads

It has been a long time since I read this, but recommend it for anyone studying the history of pop culture. A must read if you work in the music industry. Read full review

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1999)

Ronin Ro is a journalist as well as the author of Gangsta: Merchandising the Rhymes of Violence.  A former rapper, he has written for numerous publications, including The Source, Spy, SPIN, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Vibe.  He lives with his wife and daughter in upstate New York, where he is currently at work on a novel.


From the Hardcover edition.

Bibliographic information