Hip Hop

Hip Hop

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Riskie; [Death Row Records]

Original artwork for album insert from Snoop Dogg's "Tha Doggfather", ca. 1996

Lot Closed

July 25, 05:16 PM GMT


4,000 - 6,000 USD

Lot Details



Original artwork, used as the album insert for Tha Doggfather


18 x 24 in. mixed media executed in acrylic marker, airbrush over pencil on black matte board. Open tears and creasing to all board edges, image unaffected. Signed "Color & Airbrush/ Artwork by / Ronald · Riskie · Brent / Death Row Art Department / '1996.'" to verso.

Ronald “Riskie Forever” Brent


Compton-native Ronald "Riskie Forever" Brent was born an artist. His practice began in early childhood, when Brent began tracing images from his coloring book pages, using these tracings to create his own sketches. By high school, teenage Brent had graduated to graffiti writing, tagging under the moniker "Riskie." With the encouragement of his high school art teacher, Riskie would dedicate himself fully to his craft, opening up a custom airbrush booth in the local mall. Riskie's airbrush work would eventually catch the eye of Death Row C.E.O. Suge Knight, who would introduce him to Tupac Shakur—a meeting that would lead to Riskie's first project for Death Row Records in 1996, the album insert for All Eyez On Me.

Now an unofficial member of the Death Row Crew, Suge would tap Riskie to create the notorious album cover for Tupac Shakur's posthumous The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (Makaveli)—the final design was completed shortly before Tupac's untimely death to his enthusiastic approval—the label's two compilations Death Row's Greatest Hits and Christmas on Death Row, and the present lot—the album insert for Snoop Dogg's second studio album, Tha Doggfather that appears on the back of the CD and vinyl versions of the album. While there was never any paperwork signed between the artist and the label, according to Riskie, the arrangement was simple—he created the work, they shot the piece at Death Row Studios, and he kept the originals. In 2022, Riskie's original illustration for the cover of Makaveli sold at Heritage Auctions for $212,500.

Founded by Dr. Dre, the D.O.C., American producer Dick Griffey, and Dre's former bodyguard Marion "Suge" Knight in 1991, Death Row Records dominated the West Coast Hip Hop charts, becoming synonymous with gangster rap by the end of the decade (Abrams, 321).

Death Row introduced themselves to the culture with Dr. Dre's solo debut The Chronic in 1992, an album which would pioneer the gangsta rap subgenre of G-funk and would peak at number 3 on the Billboard 200 charts, with United States sales going upwards of 3 million copies. The Chronic also introduced the new generation of gangsta rappers with features from Snoop Doggy Dogg, Warren G, and Nate Dogg. Following The Chronic with Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle in 1993 and Tupac Shakur's All Eyez on Me in 1996, Death Row became responsible for producing some of Hip Hop's earliest classics. Death Row's hold on the West Coast industry held until the mid-2000s, being sold from conglomerate to conglomerate until purchased outright by one of the label's earliest artists, Snoop Dogg in 2022.