During a recent interview, former N.W.A. manager Jerry Heller touched upon many topics surrounding him and his legacy, including allegations of stealing from the group and his thoughts on who really killed Tupac.
In the film Straight Outta Compton, which depicts the rise and fall of the legendary rap crew, Heller (played by Paul Giamatti) is seen as a shady businessman who ultimately caused the destruction and disbandment of N.W.A. Displeased with how he was portrayed in the film, Heller, 75, hinted at a possible lawsuit this past August. In an interview with Smashd, Heller spoke on the claims that the members of N.W.A. (Eazy-E, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre) were not compensated fairly. Eazy, who owned the group’s label Ruthless Records, was reportedly given much more than his group members, which upset Ice Cube especially.
However, Heller said that there’s no such thing as stealing from artists because business deals can always be negotiated and renegotiated. “Cube said ‘I’m not taking this check,’ then ‘Let me have the check, I’m going to send it to my lawyer.’ You can’t have the check until you sign the contract,” he recollected. “I said ‘Take the contract, show it to Lee Young, sign the contract, have him make your changes.’ He admits to that all the time. He says: ‘Jerry wouldn’t give me my check, he wouldn’t let me have the contract.’ That’s not true. I handed him the contract. And he took it to his lawyer. But he already made his decision to do his solo album. That’s what broke up N.W.A.”
Heller also took the opportunity to call out Suge Knight, the co-founder of Dre’s former label, Death Row Records. He said that the currently incarcerated Knight “had something to do with” Eazy’s untimely death in 1995, which was caused by AIDS. Conspiracy theorists claim that Knight had injected Eazy with the AIDS virus. He also said that Knight had a hand in the unsolved murders of the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. “Pulled Tupac in front of him, that’s how he got the glass in his head,” Heller said. “You don’t think the cops could have solved this if they wanted to? I think Suge got what he deserved.”