Crooked I Officially Leaves Death Row Records

By Jay Casteel, with reporting by Ruben Diaz   /   Published 03/07/04

Although rumors have circulated for weeks about Crooked I's departure from Deathr Row Records, that's all they've been until now. The rapper revealed to BallerStatus that he is officially off the label as of  March 5 when his contract expired, but is trying to keep the departure on good terms with his now former label.

"I'm not with Tha Row right now," Crooked I told BallerStatus.com. "We're trying to work something out right now, so that everything's resolved without no hard feelings."

Crooked I signed with Death Row Records in 1999, while CEO Suge Knight was incarcerated. The Long Beach native has recorded a slew of material for the label, but most of it has yet to see the light of day, which is was one the main reasons the he has opted out of his contract.

"I did all I can do, really. I signed in '99, that's more than 4 years ago," said Crooked I. "I turned in a lot of material and for whatever reason, it didn't come out."

With all the hard work under his belt and nothing coming of it, Crooked I insists that he is not bitter. Instead, he says it was just his time. "I'm not bitter about it. It was just time for me to go."

To date, the only material to see a release is the tracks "So Damn Hood" featuring Sisqo, a guest spot on Ashanti's "Baby (Remix)" and the lead single from the Dysfunktional Family Soundtrack, "Still Tha Row."

Dubbed the "Best In The West" by Suge Knight, Crooked I feels he still has a lot of ground to make up. He is currently hard at work on his next album, one of which he says will be a classic record.

"I'm out here, still grinding, working on a few things," Crooked I said on his current situation. "Trying to continue the mission to put out that West Coast classic, that's it."

In addition, Crooked I added that a few labels have shown interest, but there is no definitely future for him labelwise.