Eazy-E was no fan of Suge Knight. At one point, he wanted to kill him, according to Ruthless Records co-founder Jerry Heller.
Eazy's feelings towards the ex-Death Row Records head was revealed during an interview with UGS radio's The Master Music Show. Apparently Eazy had a vendetta against Suge over Dr. Dre. "Eazy said, 'You know this guy Suge Knight?' I said, 'Yeah,'" Heller recounted. "'Well, I'm gonna kill him! This guy is gonna be a problem and I think I should kill him.'"
Heller of course tried to discourage the N.W.A. rapper from carrying out the hit, on the strength that the label was on an upswing. "I said, 'Let me think this thing through. First of all, we're doing $10 million a month with six employees. We don't even have a typewriter in the office. I said, 'We're the most successful start-up record company in the history of the music business and you want to kill this guy?' I said, 'That just doesn't make any sense to me.'"
Looking back, Heller said if Eazy had committed the heinous crime, it could've been better for the music industry. "You know something? I should have let him kill him. I would have done the world a favor." He went on to add that it would've been a solo job. "He [Eazy] would have done it for sure by himself. He always rolled by himself and he was fearless … I think that he was going to go do it. I took him seriously. I talked sense to him because he did listen to me. Logic always worked with Eazy, he was a logical guy himself. He was very emotional, but he was always logical."
The two discussed a potential retaliation from killing Suge, but Heller still regrets changing Eazy's mind. "I shouldn't have talked him out of it. Ruthless would probably still be around. Dr. Dre. and Ice Cube would probably still be with Ruthless. It would have been an empire."
Ruthless Records was founded by Eazy and Heller in 1987. Also on the roster at one point were Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and will.i.am — who was signed to the label with aple.de.ap before their Black Eyed Peas days. Ruthless later fell into financial ruin, and in the end, Eazy passed away from AIDS in 1995. He and Dre feuded up until his death at the age of 31.
After leaving Ruthless, Dre spent four years on Death Row before founding his Aftermath Entertainment label, cultivating the careers of Eminem, 50 Cent and other music stars. Over the last several years he's added hundreds of millions of dollars to his net worth, thanks to the growing the Beats by Dre empire.
Cube went on to release several solo albums, led by 1989's AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, and found success in the acting world. Today, the father of two boasts more than 50 film and T.V. credits to his name and is working on bringing the N.W.A story to the silver screen.
Suge was once prominent on the West Coast rap scene but is now broke. Death Row records was sold, and the Southern California native filed for bankruptcy in 2006. Four years later he had personal belongings auctioned off to cover a debt to a storage company.
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(Photos from left: Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage, Walik Goshorn / Retna Ltd.)