The former Death Row boss shared his memory on the most recent episode of his podcast Collect Call With Suge Knight, which aired on Sunday (November 19) via Dave Mays’ Breakbeat Media.
Suge said that he made a deal with Eazy where, in exchange for a cut of the proceeds — somewhere in the range of a quarter of the total, according to Knight — Eazy would receive a portion of all of Dre’s earnings, no matter how he made it.
Knight explained: “I did a deal for [Eazy] where…he gets a dollar off of anything that Dre does. In other words, if he do a movie, if he do a beat, if he promote some type of merchandise, if he do a commercial, if he produce — off of his part, [Eazy] gets a dollar.”
The former exec estimated that the deal may have been worth a billion dollars had it remained in place due to the lucrative moves Dre would go on to make, including launching Beats By Dre (which sold to Apple for $3 billion in 2014), producing albums for Eminem and 50 Cent, as well releasing his own solo LP Compton.
But, he said, that’s not what happened. Knight said that after Eazy-E’s death in March, 1995, the rapper’s widow Tomica Woods-Wright took over his estate.
Knight continued, claiming that Interscope Records was anxious to end the deal that was eating in to their star producer’s earnings, so they made Woods-Wright an offer.
Suge said: “Tomika met with Interscope, and Interscope said, ‘Hey, why you want to get a dollar off of everything Dre does? Me and you could do business later on. Sign off and just let Dre out of it. We’re gonna do business later.’
“She signed off. They ain’t did no business with that bitch later. And guess what? That fucked Eazy’s kids, his momma, at the time his father was still living. It’s fucked his family.”
You can hear the story beginning at the 15:34 mark below.
During his lifetime, Eazy-E commented on a deal similar to the one Suge Knight discussed. In a 1993 appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show, Eazy told the host about it.
“I had no idea that you make money off product from Dr. Dre and Snoop. Now, how did that work out?” Hall asked.
“Basically, I had Dre signed as exclusive producer and an exclusive artist,” Eazy replied. “So when Dre tried to make his deal over at Interscope, I was included for the next six years.”
The late rapper also alluded to the deal on his 1993 Dr. Dre diss track “Real Muthaphuckkin G’s”: “‘Damn, E, they tried to fade you on Dre Day’/ But Dre Day only meant Eazy’s payday.”
Knight has mentioned Dr. Dre on Collect Call before, including when the former label boss claimed that he covered for Dre in a federal gun case.
“My fed case is behind Dre,” he said. “If I had to do it all over again I still would do it again because that’s the kind of man I am. The other person, I don’t keep it 1,000 and keep it gangsta because of the next muthafucka, I keep it because that’s my DNA.”