In February, TikTok’s billion-plus users received an unexpected gift for Valentine’s Day: exclusive access to the catalog of one of hip-hop’s most revered labels, Death Row Records. Snoop Dogg had purchased the catalog in 2022 and pulled it from streaming services. So the only place to hear tracks from Snoop’s classic Doggystyle or 2Pac’s 10-times-platinum All Eyez on Me was TikTok.
This partnership — as unusual as it was savvy — was the handiwork of veteran music executive Larry Jackson, 42, who seized the attention of the industry this year when he launched his new entertainment company, gamma. Backed by $1 billion in financing and focused on putting that capital to work “in particular and acutely on Black culture,” Jackson has created a deep-pocketed alternative to the major labels.
His TikTok gambit paid off, showing a younger generation that “knows Snoop only from Corona commercials” why the rapper — and gamma investor — is a “national treasure.” “‘Gin and Juice’ went viral; ‘Who Am I (What’s My Name?)’ went viral,” Jackson says. “We were able to have three hits on social this year — and the lucrative world of high-end brand deals (Jackson is the U.S. ambassador for Cartier).
“What LJ is doing is a new way of thinking about things,” says Travis Scott, who has known Jackson for around a decade. “I love that he is opening up ways for an artist to come in and really elevate, and it’s more than just music.”
Read the full cover story on Larry Jackson here.
Check out love letters to hip-hop culture from rappers and executives here.
Larry Jackson photographed on July 21, 2023 in Los Angeles.
Barbering by Daronn Carr at BlendLA.