Welcome to The Weekend Stream, a relaxing weekly review of notable digital-only catalogue titles. There may be no CD or vinyl, but there's plenty of great new/old music to usher you into the weekend. From a Death Row drop and classic mixes from Madonna and Teena Marie, to a super-sized Elvis tribute, there's something here for everyone - including a way you can help a reissue producer in need.
Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle / Various Artists, Above the Rim (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (Deluxe Edition) / Various Artists, Murder Was the Case (The Soundtrack) / Tha Dogg Pound, Dogg Food / Snoop Dogg, Tha Doggfather / Various Artists, Death Row Greatest Hits / Various Artists, Christmas on Death Row / Various Artists, Gridlock'd (The Soundtrack) / The Lady of Rage, Necessary Roughness / Various Artists, Gang Related (The Soundtrack) / Various Artists, Dysfunktional Family (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) / Various Artists, The Very Best of Death Row / Kurupt, Against tha Grain / Kurupt, Down and Dirty / Danny Boy, It's About Time / KXNG Crooked, Hood Star / Snoop Dogg, Death Row: The Lost Sessions Vol. 1 / Sam Sneed, Street Scholars / LBC Crew, Haven't You Heard / Jewell, Jewell / O.F.T.B., Damn Near Dead / Various Artists, 20 to Life: Rare and Dangerous, Vol. 1 / Various Artists, 20 to Life: Rare and Dangerous, Vol. 2 / Tha Dogg Pound, Doggy Bag / Various Artists, Death Row Chronicles (Original Soundtrack) (Death Row/gamma.)
Doggystyle: iTunes / Amazon
Above the Rim: iTunes / Amazon
Murder Was the Case: iTunes / Amazon
Dogg Food: iTunes / Amazon
Tha Doggfather: iTunes / Amazon
Greatest Hits: iTunes / Amazon
Christmas: iTunes / Amazon
Gridlock'd: iTunes / Amazon
Necessary Roughness: iTunes / Amazon
Gang Related: iTunes / Amazon
Dysfunktional Family: iTunes / Amazon
Very Best of: iTunes / Amazon
Against the Grain: iTunes / Amazon
Down and Dirty: iTunes / Amazon
It's About Time: iTunes / Amazon
Hood Star: iTunes / Amazon
The Lost Sessions: iTunes / Amazon
Street Scholars: iTunes / Amazon
Haven't You Heard: iTunes / Amazon
Jewell: iTunes / Amazon
Damn Near Dead: iTunes / Amazon
Rare and Dangerous Vol. 1: iTunes / Amazon
Rare and Dangerous Vol. 2: iTunes / Amazon
Doggy Bag: iTunes / Amazon
Death Row Chronicles: iTunes / Amazon
In 2022, Snoop Dogg announced the acquisition of Death Row Records, the label he helped put on the map as an up-and-coming rapper and ally of Dr. Dre in the '90s. (The catalogue had a bumpy ride over the prior decade; at one point, it was acquired by eOne, which was in turn acquired by toy company Hasbro.) Snoop had designs on everything from starting an "NFT label" (whatever that means) to his own streaming service, but today, with the help of gamma., a brand-new company formed by former Apple Music creative director Larry Jackson, the label's discography made it back to streaming services.
Now, what constitutes "the label's discography" was not made clear in any press announcements: Dr. Dre's The Chronic was bought back by the rapper/producer and recently redelivered by Interscope (itself a onetime distributor of the Death Row catalogue), and 2Pac's discography was also acquired by the same label some time ago. Leave it to us, then, to obsessively scour DSPs and discographies and give you this list of 25 albums and compilations reappearing on Apple Music, Amazon and elsewhere. Snoop's solo debut Doggystyle might be the most well-known, but there's a lot of great stuff in here, including rare soundtracks, hard-to-find releases by Kurupt and female emcee Lady of Rage, and collections of rare tracks issued in the 2010s when Death Row was part of the WIDEawake Entertainment roster.
The Oscars air this weekend, and Baz Luhrmann's delirious, compelling ELVIS is up for eight trophies, including Best Picture and Best Actor (for Austin Butler's arresting portrayal of The King). Ahead of Hollywood's biggest night, the soundtrack has been reissued; in addition to remixes, covers and samples by the likes of Doja Cat, Eminem, Jack White, Kacey Musgraves - and deeper cuts from Presley himself, the already-sprawling album now features more vocal performances by Butler and a few off-the-wall mash-ups of Elvis with the likes of Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys - all of which appear in the movie. It's an album as bizarre and compelling as the life of one of rock's greatest icons.
Madonna, Burning Up/Physical Attraction / Ray of Light (Single Remixes) (Warner/Rhino)
Madonna's stellar 1998 album recently turned 25, and Rhino of course came through with a collection of single versions of the thumping title track, featuring classic mixes by William Orbit, Hector Calderone and others. And just yesterday, another clutch of mixes and edits from the Queen of Pop's second-ever single was made available.
Modern remix king John Morales has long put his M+M spin on plenty of killer extended and disco cuts - not only in the '80s but in the 21st century, harkening back to a simpler time on the dance floor. Released on the BBE label in 2021, this collection of old-meets-new versions of "I Need Your Lovin'," "Square Biz," "It Must Be Magic" and more is now available to stream and download in honor of what would have been the Ivory Queen of Soul's 67th birthday.
Last month, to mark not only Valentine's Day but the 20th anniversary of Luther Vandross' final concert - performed just two months before a stroke that all but ended his career before his passing in 2005 - Legacy digitally expanded it with four unreleased performances and some spoken interludes.
To mark 30 years (OK, plus one) of Megadeth's biggest album, it's been made available in its original mix - much of the metal legends' catalogue was remixed in 2004 - as well as in hi-res (96 kHz/24-bit stereo) and Dolby Atmos, where available.
Finally: help a reissue producer. Not to be confused with the legendary singer/songwriter of the same name, Paul Williams was a notable name on many reissues, compilations and catalogue sets for RCA, like the Grammy-nominated Frank Sinatra/Tommy Dorsey anthology The Song is You back in 1995. In the last decade, Williams has been struggling with some serious health issues and is seeking to head back to his native England for a fresh start. A GoFundMe has been set up in his name and is close to its goal; we encourage any Second Disc readers who loved Paul's work to donate what you can.