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Former Drug Lord And Death Row Records Founder To Be Released From Jail After 31 Years

Former Drug Lord And Death Row Records Founder To Be Released From Jail After 31 Years

Former crack cocaine kingpin and music label head Michael 'Harry O' Harris will be released from prison after 31 years behind bars.

O'Harris was a co-founder of Death Row Records, the label that signed Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg.

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Snoop Dogg's career began at Death Row Records. Credit: PA
Snoop Dogg's career began at Death Row Records. Credit: PA

He helped run the multi-million dollar music empire from his cell after investing $1.5m (£1.2m) to start the business initially.

Although he got caught up in the world of crime for a time, including dealing with drug cartels, Harris was a successful businessman, running a string of businesses including the theatre company that gave Denzel Washington his first break.

In 1988, Harris was sent down for kidnap and attempted murder, but has since reinvented himself while in prison, saying he's matured.

Now 57 years old, he is being held at a Federal Correctional Facility in Lompoc, California but will be released at some point in mid-August.

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He will then be taken to a halfway house in San Antonio in Texas - the city where his daughter Mykel lives.

Speaking to DailyMailTV, he said: "Over 30 years ago I was part of the problem. However, over the years I have repeatedly proven myself to be part of the solution. It's about returning to society with my new-found vision, talents and insights. Giving back to the communities where my help is so desperately needed."

He has decided that when he's a free man, he will join Texas philanthropic organisation, 2nd Chance, which has the mission of giving individuals headed down the wrong path a chance to reform their lives.

He added: "I am a man who has experienced incredible highs and incredible lows. I am a man who came to prison a boy and who will emerge as a grown man."

2nd Chance will help people improve their lives. Credit: 2nd Chance
2nd Chance will help people improve their lives. Credit: 2nd Chance

Harris grew up surrounded by music, and was classically trained by his next door neighbour, who was a piano teacher. But at the age of 20, he started selling crack cocaine, and made close connections with famous gangs. His network spread across the USA, and was supplied by Colombian drug cartels, according to the DEA.

He grew a vast distribution network reaching New York, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, and Illinois.

Although Death Row Records no longer exists, at its height the label was one of Harris's most successful ventures, selling 18 million albums and earning more than $325m (£270m) in its first four years alone. It's widely claimed that it helped to shape 90s hip hop, discovering the likes of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur.

Topics: Music, US News

Amelia Ward

Amelia is a journalist at LADbible. After studying journalism at Liverpool John Moores and Salford Uni (don't ask), she went into the world of music. Quickly realising that you can't pay your bills with guestlist, she went back to her roots. In her spare time, Amelia likes music, Liverpool FC, and spending good, quality time with her cat, Paul. You can contact Amelia at [email protected]

 

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