Clarifying comments he made about Game and Kendrick Lamar’s record deals on The Arsenio Hall Show in February, Suge Knight explained not wanting to put either of the artists down in an interview with BET.
“I was on Arsenio Hall—by the way, Arsenio Hall is a friend of mine, I think he got one of the best shows out,” he said. “One of the things I said, not to put the artist down, it was to put the company down, saying, ‘Why is you treating my people like slaves?’ Now, at the time these artists were signed to Interscope and they pretty much are signed to Interscope. So, we know it’s not Game making decisions over there. We know it’s not [the person] who Game signed to his production company. We know it’s not [Dr. Dre] who don’t know what goes on at Aftermath. We all know it’s Interscope and Universal. The person who’s dictating what’s going on at Interscope is Jimmy Iovine.”
Suge Knight went on to reiterate his perspective on the trickle-down effect of the artists’ relationships with their respective labels.
“So when I turned around and said, ‘Wait a minute…Kendrick Lamar the best artist today, he from Compton. And Game was the best artist over there at Interscope and he from Compton.’ And I said, ‘Why is it they got the worst fucking deals over there?’ I broke it down and said that Game is signed. Universal get their money. Interscope get their money. Aftermath get their money. G-Unit get their money. And then the production company get their money. And then there’s Game. It’s not that much money moving around in the pot.
“Even when I said with Kendrick Lamar, well, if it’s Universal there’s the guy who really bring the deal over to Jimmy Iovine which is Mike,” Knight said. “Then there’s Interscope, then there’s Aftermath, then there’s Top Dawg productions or whatever, then there’s Kendrick. And not only do these companies get the royalties and publishing, if they do a show [and] $100,000 comes in, the manager of those guys get 20%. Now it’s eighty grand. Kendrick get half, the record company get half. Which is ridiculous because the artist should be able to live off their tours. If you can’t live off your tour money, how can you survive by being a slave? Prince was able to survive by being a slave because he was able to tour. If Prince had a deal like these new guys’ deals—it’s that the record company get half of your tour money—Prince would have been fucked…It’s not fair for the two niggas in Compton to be getting fucked. It’s not good for me to have knowledge and don’t pass it onto them. It wasn’t about embarrassing anybody. It wasn’t about putting them as men or as artists down. It was about putting the person who’s in control down. Saying, ‘How is you fucking over these dudes from Compton when they making the difference for your company?”
In February, Suge Knight detailed his view that Game and Kendrick Lamar have “two of the worst deals in the industry.”
“The deals are still messed up,” Suge said during an appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show. “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.”