Eazy-E was approached to be a part of Death Row Records before Dr. Dre, according to Keefe D.

Keefe, a childhood friend of Eazy and the uncle of 2Pac’s alleged killer, Orlando Anderson, made the revelation during an interview with VladTV.

The Compton native and former gang member explained that he had a friend who was in prison with Death Row co-founder Michael “Harry-O” Harris, who one day asked him to set up a phone call with Eazy.

“They called and asked me to hook them up on a conference call with Eazy-E. So I called, they talked to Eazy and they asked him, do he want to run their record company?” Keefe said, confirming they were referring to Death Row. “They offered it to him first.”

According to Keefe, however, Eazy expressed concerns about doing business with people behind bars and ultimately turned down the offer. The next day, Harry-O got in touch with Dr. Dre, who accepted the proposition.

“Once the phone call went dead, Eazy showed up to my house 30 minutes later. He like, ‘Dude, them dudes in jail and I’m already established,’” he recalled. “So the next day, my partner that was in the feds with Harry-O, he like, ‘Let’s call Dr. Dre.’ And he called Dr. Dre and Dr. Dre took the deal.”

Keefe D said that the phone call took place when Dre was still signed to Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records as a member of N.W.A. It has long been believed that Dre got out of his contract after Suge Knight strong-armed Eazy into granting the producer’s release — a move that extricated Dre from what he felt was an unfair deal while handing Death Row a certified hitmaker.

According to Keefe, though, the negotiations weren’t quite as eventful as Death Row simply paid Eazy $200,000 to secure Dr. Dre’s release from Ruthless.

With additional backing from fellow West Coast rap legend The D.O.C. and veteran L.A. music executive/promoter Dick Griffey, Death Row Records launched in 1991 and would go on to become one of Hip Hop’s most storied and successful labels.

Responsible for releasing landmark albums like Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle and 2Pac’s All Eyez On Me, Death Row played a pivotal role in making gangsta rap one of the most popular and lucrative forms of music, let alone Hip Hop, in the 1990s.

Meanwhile, Dre and Eazy’s fued continued to play out on wax, with the former N.W.A groupmates trading shots on songs like “Fuck Wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)” and “Real Muthaphuckkin G’s.” The pair managed to patch things up before Eazy died of AIDS at the age of 30 in 1995.

Although Death Row’s momentum fizzled out following 2Pac’s demise in 1996 and the departures of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, things came full circle for the iconic label last year when Snoop became its new owner.

His most recent move as Death Row’s top dog saw him rerelease the label’s catalog on streaming services as part of a “long-term partnership” with gamma, the music company founded by former Apple executive Larry Jackson.

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