Another story for the pile
In the controversial new series Death Row Chronicles plenty of minor details and interesting stories about one of the most influential record labels of all time are coming to light. Given that the label was started and run by notorious badman Suge Knight, there’s bound to be more than a few stories of Knight’s street tough ways clashing with the sharp suit crowd.
Turns out that the label had these kind of altercations from the beginning. In a new clip from the series, it’s revealed that Suge demanded Dr. Dre’s contract with Ruthless Records be released with the help of goons armed with baseball bats.
“Dre wanted me to go through his contracts. So, I went to Jerry and I said ‘Listen. Anything that he signs, he’s entitled to have a copy of it. They kept telling Dre he can not get his contract,’” Suge explains over a jail phone matter-of-factly before the episode moves into the much more colorful story.
Apparently, Suge and crew visited the label’s lawyer and demanded the contract at the end of a few Louisville Sluggers. The label had been telling Dr. Dre he couldn’t have a copy of his contract and Suge realized why once they coughed it up under threat of violence.
They were paying Dre almost nothing out of the sales he was making, pocketing something like 98% of every sale.
“Check my contracts out and sure enough, they weren’t worth the paper they were written on,” Dre said in a contemporary interview edited in by the showrunners. “So that was that for me.”
Another interview of young Suge showed how the pair ended up splitting from Ruthless and working together at Death Row.
“So I said ‘Dre, look. Ain’t no use in going back over spilled milk,’” Knight said. “‘I got a vision. You got a vision. Let’s just start fresh.’”
Dre explained in that same old interview why he felt that working with Suge was a good career choice.
“Suge was aggressive and he really seemed like a go-getter to me, you know what I’m saying? And he was making things happen,” Dre said. “And that’s all I really cared about was getting in the studio making music. If you’re going to help me with that, so be it. Let’s keep it moving.”
See the Clip
Of course, that relationship eventually soured. Dr. Dre left Death Row when he felt the situation around the label was getting too tense. Suge didn’t seem concerned about it at the time, saying that he was willing to let Dre walk as long as he could hold on to the masters of the music that Dre made while he was with Death Row.
Dre walked out with his masters, however. And that led to another story of the sort of confrontations that seemed to be Suge’s stock-in-trade. Suge allegedly threatened Dre at his home until the producer agreed to cough up the masters, but Suge told the documentarians behind the new series that the story was all myth.
“That never happened,” he said. “That’s a f**king lie.”
Check out the clip up top. What do you think? Will we ever be able to separate fact from fiction with Suge Knight? Sound off in the comments and be sure to SHARE this article.