Suge Knight Says Kendrick Lamar & Game Have "Two Of The Worst Deals In The Industry"

Suge Knight compares industry deals to slavery and says "when you were a slave, you knew it was bad." Knight also explains D.O.C.'s deal.

While visiting The Arsenio Hall Show yesterday (February 18), former Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight explained how the record industry woes he saw early in his career continue to have an effect on today’s rappers.

“The deals are still messed up,” Suge said. “I think it’s unfair if you really look at it, if you look at Interscope, the two guys from Compton—Game, Kendrick Lamar—got two of the worst deals in the industry. And when you look at it, it’s not so much the production company fault, but what people don’t realize is that if you’re on Universal, it’s the ship. Then Interscope get they cut, then Aftermath get they cut, then G-Unit get they cut. Then the guy who really has Game signed, it was another production company, then it came to Game. The reality is there’s more slavery now than ever.” While Hall checked Knight’s statement—and later quipped "12 Years A Rapper"—the record exec touted some industry deals as “worse.” “When you were a slave you knew it was bad,” he said. “When you was a slave, you was like, ‘Shit, it’s bad.’ But it’s worse when somebody make you be a celebrity and put you on a status and you thanking a person for stabbing you in the back.”


Suge Knight Explains D.O.C.'s Record Deal 

Before referencing Game and Kendrick Lamar specifically, Suge Knight explained that an artist who had negotiated a poor deal more than twenty years ago pushed him into the industry in the first place. “One of the reasons I got in the business is that there was a guy named D.O.C.,” Suge said of the former Dr. Dre collaborator. “And he had an accident where he lost his voice. And every person abandoned him, you know, I took what I had to help him. And I [asked], ‘Do you still have your publishing?’ Come to find out, Jerry Heller and [Eazy-E] bought his publishing for a watch and a gold chain. Then come to find out, Dr. Dre was getting two points off of anything he gets—that means two pennies—out those two pennies, one went [away], and one went to him. So if you sold a hundred million records, and you only get a penny a record, you will never get rich. So that was the thing that made me say, ‘You know what? We shouldn’t have to do a deal in Compton and do another deal in Beverly Hills; it’s still the same deal, we still doing the same business. It shouldn’t have to be that the same deals that applied in the ‘50s and the ‘60s [are used] today.

"And one of the things you can’t take from it," Knight added. "I love Death Row. That was my baby. I enjoyed the people on there, and we done that. And you know, 'Pac still moves on or lives on in every person from there I feel is successful. That’s a blessing. But more importantly we’re supposed to learn from that. We’re supposed to grow. I’m not trying to do a new Death Row, I’m not here to create a new Tupac, there will never be another Tupac, no matter how much they shout about it it’s not gonna happen. At the end of the day, it’s up to me not to try and get in the way and say ‘I wanna keep pushing the label.’ You have guys out here with great labels, we gon’ support him, let them grow, even these youngsters.”

While on the show, Knight also fielded a question about a recent incident at a Los Angeles marijuana dispensary explaining that a misunderstanding with a security guard was behind the incident.

RELATED: Dr. Dre Suing Death Row Records For More Than $3 Million


  • What A Snake

    Fucking delusional or what *cough 2 Pac*

  • Escuchama

    Suge is still upset with Dre for leaving his label, plus Dre is making more money then him now which is why he is trying to defame him

  • Yes Cypher

    Funky Suge Music

  • Anonymous

    Talk about that deal you forced Pac to sign tho. And then talk about how you killed him after you realized his contract was up

  • John-Boy

    Suge Knight definitely knows about bad deals cause he raped 2Pac royally. Pac was flashing all those jewels in the videos but when he died he was not worth ANY money and 2Pac has a diamond album.

  • rakimthagod

    didn't suge himself make questionable/bad deals back in the day himself? isn't this the same nigga who let dr. dre out of his contract empty handed (meaning suge kept the publishings/masters to his work on deathrow)?? this dude would be giving the same "slave" deals if he could, so i say "nigga please" to suge's comments

  • yugang

    suge knight, the former ceo of death row, talking about other artists signing bad deals and being slaves. how ironic considering the bad deals HE himself gave to artists back then

  • Tim Dog

    Suge "SugarBear" Knight owe me money too and my main men Dr.Dre(3 million) and da real dogg Snoop D-o double G!!

  • Ken Junior (EA Streetwear)

    Can't even front with Suge on this. Independent route is the way to go these days. Yeah, that record label money look good, til' you find out how little you can make unless you tour like 9-10 months of the yeah or sale merch n' that what it is unfortunately. Ya'll rappers just better learn how to navigate these music waters. It's dangerous. Sharks is ere'where...real shit. Follow Endless Ambition Streetwear. Urban wear for those who grind nonstop and want more out of life. IG: @endlessambition_streetwear @kingstutter Twitter: @Gwillisjr89 @EA_StreetWear @Kongo4488 Blog:

  • Anonymous

    you should already know kendrick has a bad deal...interscope.

    • Anonymous

      could be worse, he could have a joint deal with Bad Boy/MMG like French and flop on his debut album, at least Kendrick sold 1.1 million or something without every hot rapper in the industry on his singles

  • Anonymous

    I'm tired of millionaires acting like they have it so bad. Its a chain of command we have it to my district manager makes the most money then the store manager then the assistant then me. The only difference is that unlike game and kendrick im not making millions. They are no where near to being slaves they just dont make as much as execs and thats life the business man makes more than his workers.

    • Anonymous

      basically talking about blacks not owning anything due to ignorance and economic exploitation

    • bill nahsby

      that's life? life is what you make it don't ever forget it - you sound brainwashed... if that's what you want to accept for yourself fine, but leave the rest of the world out of it

    • Anonymous

      He never said they should make more than the execs. He just said they arent getting whats owed to them. Using your example, I bet you make more than half of what the assistant manager makes, but what if you found out he actually makes double what you make?

  • ice

    Jay-Z is worth as much as he is today not because of rap, but because of other ventures. he's not just a rapper, he's a mogul. he owns a record label, clothing lines, he was the executive producer of NBA 2k13, etc. Kendrick and the Game will never reach that level.

  • Anonymous

    "Juve still puttin out good music though" He just dropped something this week on ITunes.

  • ice

    they're still millionaires...shit, I would definitely take it. rappers get most of their money from tours and such, instead of record sales. all they have to do is rap and write rhymes and record. shit, millions of people do that shit for free already. I'm sure Kendrick and the Game sure as hell ain't complaining

  • Anonymous

    Kendrick doesn't have Drake's money making ability, but if he's smart, he can still make 15-20 mill, and retire young.

  • yeah

    the game has sold probably 20 million album and he barely worth nine million and he worth nine million if you want to be nice to him and throw in some asset to help him get to that number. Kendrick is worth 3 he is right it wasn't much of a deal.

    • Anonymous

      Kendrick ain't worth 10 million. Game should be set for life assuming he invested some of his money. Album sales mean nothing to him now. It's touring, movies, Vh-1. Anything else is a bonus.

    • Anonymous

      game not worth 25mil stop the bullshit his albums been flopping since lax

    • BP

      that's the point of net worth numbers you dumdum.. they never factor in everyday expenses... it represents the person's total worth, excluding casualties considering solely what they brought to the table when you tour as much as Kendrick did, your net worth will go up bonkers... you think anybody puttin tabs on the expenses Kendrick had to make during, nigga please

    • Anonymous

      you guys gotta stop taking those celebrity networth numbers seriously... they are extremely over inflated and don't really factor in evereyday expenses that come with being a famous rapper and playin the part. my homie worth 8 million according to that site but doesn't own any property or even have 20k in his account

    • Anonymous

      Game is worth 25 million and Kendrick's been in the mainstream spotlight about 2 years and is already worth 10 mill. I think they're both doing alright lol

    • thefacts

      the game's net worth is 25 million, i don't think he's sitting on 9 million

  • Anonymous

    He's an expert on giving bad deals so he should know.

  • M

    These rappers don't need to be mad at anyone but themselves for signing these deals. No one puts a gun to their head. Dudes like Tech N9ne and even the christian rapper Lecrae put out music on their own label and keep all that. Props to those guys.

    • BP

      Tech is an entrepreneur and Lecrae has a very tight demographic. props to them but it's not the same. sometimes you gotta sign deals to make it to the next level.

  • Anonymous

    "that oil business was never anything more than a pump jack tattoo on his face and a poorly designed website It still exists. He just took it completely private.

  • Alexa Reight

    Thats why the independent route is the best way to go. Yeah its harder for marketing and its self funding but its better than being fucked in the ass with no vaseline, financially speaking. I salute Dom Kennedy and Nipsey real talk. They even say it themselves in the vibe interview.

  • koolkeef

    Take it from a guy that knows a thing or 2 about messed up record deals...

  • Edubb

    Despite the bad feelings about Suge he is right on this one. The music industry period fucks over just about everybody. TLC, Ice Cube had to pitch a bitch before he got his money. There are countless other who have had to go through hell just to get what was owed to them.

  • Anonymous

    all yall niggaz mad cuz hes exposing truth about kendrick. funny ass shit

  • Renzo rollin

    Suge hypocrite, lol.

  • Jay Dubb

    What a FOOL! Trying to sound 'relevant' or 'intelligent'! HE is the REASON that DeathRow had the biggest FAIL, FALL from Grace, COLLAPSE in Musiv Business history! #1 GAME has NO deal with Interscope genius & Kendrick has a fair deal with Aftermath with Dr.Dre co-signing a meteroic rise for K-dot! This SUGE fool never paid royalties, punked his acts & disrespected & LOST the greatest force in Hip Hop history, the Billion dollar man........ WHO is listening to this 'Fountain of Misinformation'?!@!

  • detroit slim

    LOL this nigga fucked artists too. It took him like 10 years but Daz finally got his money from death row. Like 25 million nigga. Rap game nuthin but snakes n fakes. The REAL niggas is the ones selln shit out the trunk in they hoods n still doin shows. Not these prostitutes dancin around on b.e.t

  • Anonymous

    "Birdman has twice as much money because he fucked over most of this artists and producers." He has an oil business company and they make tons of money, more than being a rapper. Birdman gives out a fair share and some of his artists that used to be on the label were just not that grateful. Juveniles albums keeps bombing because of no support from cash money.

    • Young Guwop

      Sounds like some bs Dental Dam Boy would say.

    • Anonymous

      Uh, no. Birdman doesn't even do any producing. And if by digital singles you mean their big three (you guess), then you're correct.

    • Anonymous

      Birdman's been producing since the 90's. He knows how to get the best label deals and makes a killing off digital singles. He rarely gets mentioned among the most powerful businessmen, but he's just as cutthroat and out for his as Jay Z and Diddy.

    • Anonymous

      remember when he said he was buying a football team and the owners came out said they didnt know anything about it or who he was

    • Anonymous

      that oil business was never anything more than a pump jack tattoo on his face and a poorly designed website

    • Beatrice

      That oil company never got off of the ground, he isn't making a penny off of that.

    • Anonymous

      Juve still puttin out good music though, nobody selling in this market...shit jay made a private corporation assure he was platinum before he even dropped to avoid the reality and to make his numbers don't lie statement seem half true...but the reality is, nobody is selling like the golden era and the music has been marginalized as a result.

  • Chred1991

    my classmate's ex-wife makes $83 hourly on the internet . She has been without work for six months but last month her pay was $21027 just working on the internet for a few hours. Check This Out...........

  • iris

    It's all Taxable Earnings. Pay up diddy, dre, jay, mack & ken pay up

  • Anonymous

    Like every other rapper on death row after 2Pac, they are all fucking broke!

  • Tim

    its funny how people think they know the worth of an artist!! u aint counting just be glad ur rap "star" is getting some attention

  • 7dayzofTheory

    did anyone else notice suge say to Arsenio that 2pac is still alive??

  • djbvax

    Yup Suge. You know ALLLLLL about bad deal right? You beat people with bats to them out of em. LOL!!

  • Anonymous

    looks like rick ross 10 years from now

    • Anonymous

      Ross would be extremely lucky to look that good in 10 years. Pause. Ross will likely have a heart attack before that.

  • imho

    what ppl don't get is..when ur coming up BROKE and u get a chance to put ur voice out there and be heard and have a chance to get movie deals, commercials, rap deals, concerts ect ect none of that shit matter. I wouldn't care how many ppl getting cuts off my early work coming up bc I had nothing. but when im a vet and put in my expect a re worked deal- like game.

  • Theodore

    Suge sound bitter. They said Tupac died with less than $200.000 in the bank, So I guess he didn't have a good deal either.

    • Young Guwop

      Pac died with $50,000 to his name. Suge exploited his ass and played him. But Pac wanted out of Clinton and signed the first deal in front of him to get his freedom back. Not knowing he was literally signing his life away.


    This nigga really serious? Do these fools not understanding the history of slavery? Motherfucker is dumber than the turd I just dropped in the toilet. SMH

  • azerty he earned as much as Macklemore and pharrell so no, he has a good deal

  • zee

    macklemore and kendrick both earned 10 mill last year, I'd say that kendrick has the perfect deal considering he is winning as much as an indie artist

  • Anonymous

    If Game and Kendrick got slave deals I feel bad for all these other rap niggas who been making less money and selling less albums... like say Future or French Montana.

  • Anonymous

    Game got busted for posting pictures of some rich white guys money on his instagram fronting like it was the inside of his safe!!!

  • Jay 026

    Net worth of Kendrick Lamar $10mil Net worth of the Game $29 mil Net worth of Suge knight $200.000 Who has the worst deal?

    • Anonymous

      That site is a huge joke! I know a guy that website lists as being worth 8 million and he will be the first to tell you he doesn't have anywhere near 50k in his bank account or own any property.

    • Anonymous

      where are you getting these figures? lmao thats a reliable source...

    • Anonymous

      well also comes down to the fact that he has had many successful artists signed. just down to pure success, its pretty obvious. death row is dead more or less, but cash money has been operating w/ money making artists since the mid to late 90s.

    • Anonymous

      the only labels that can be compared to that are def jam and aftermath.

    • Anonymous

      Birdman has twice as much money because he fucked over most of this artists and producers.

    • Anonymous

      Stupid comparison considering that Suge Knight isnt an artist signed to a recording contract. It all comes down to the fine print of your record deal and your publishing thats why Birdman has twice as much money as LiL Wayne despite Wayne selling 10x more albums than Birdman.

  • sayitaintso

    Dumb motherfucka he probably doesnt even know the kinda deal kendrick got and the game aint even signed anymore he's independant at the moment this nigga got a stale boring ass life so he gotta talk about other niggas lives lmao suge your broke as fuck get outta here heart condition diabetes havin nigga

  • *******

    uh got pork gravy in my maybach champagne glass, everytime i fuck a bitch they came last, if they came at all, i drain it all, she down to fall, molly with her gravy got her wet like the navy

  • e.

    lol. contracts aren't slavery suge. if you don't like the contract, don't sign the contract. don't sign and then bitch about being held to the exact things you agreed to.

  • Anonymous

    He looks like Ross

  • Anonymous

    Does he just hold that unlit cigar in his hand at all times when he can't smoke inside?

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone even take this guy seriously? He sounds like he's just hating.

  • Anonymous

    I saw Kendrick on the Forbes list last year his deal can't be that be that bad. 1. Diddy ($50M) 2. Jay Z ($43M) 3. Dr. Dre ($40M) 4. Nicki Minaj ($29M) 5. Birdman ($21M) 6. Kanye West ($20M) 7. Lil Wayne ($16M) 8. Wiz Khalifa ($14M) 9. Ludacris ($12M) 10. Pitbull ($11M) 11. Drake ($10.5M) 12. Snoop Dogg ($10M) 12. Eminem ($10M) 14. Kendrick Lamar ($9M) 14. Pharrell ($9M) 14. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ($9M)

    • jstizz

      can you read? it said last year only lmfao

    • lol

      this list is wrong. u really think em only got 10 mill? and diddy 50? haha. diddy got over 500mill dude

    • rahrahrah

      The income a person generates, versus the income a person keeps are two different things.

    • Anonymous

      i doubt the poor kid from compton gonna complain about only making 9 million last year but maybe in 10 years

    • 360 deal

      I don't think he's hating smh, people just can't handle criticism. There is probably some truth in this he is signed to three people jimmy, dre, and top dawg. Now those guys probably take 50 to 60 percent of his profit. Probably includes sales, merch, and a little bit from touring. But touring is where artists get most of their money. So I can't say he's wrong he's probably right. Making money, but not the amount what he is worth, cause I know Kendrick probably made more than 9m it's just that three people gotta eat before he does.

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