As the half-brother of legendary producer Dr. Dre, Warren G had an early view of life at Death Row Records, particularly the structure of the contracts being offered to the artists. In light of the culture at Death Row, Warren G recalls an instance in which he got into a physical altercation with Death Row co-founder Marion “Suge” Knight Jr. after warning his close friend, Snoop Dogg, about signing with Death Row.
“I’ve never told this story before, I might get in trouble for this,” Warren G said while prefacing his story, which he shared with rapper Talib Kweli during an appearance on Kweli’s Peoples Party podcast. “I told Snoop, ‘No, don’t sign that. You don’t know what you’re signing. You gotta get a lawyer to look at that stuff.’ And I was a young buck saying this!”
While Warren G doesn’t disclose who the culprit was, he says a “whistleblower” relayed Warren’s advice to Snoop to none other than Suge Knight, who approached Warren G about his comments while at the label’s headquarters at the time.
“He was like, ‘Aye, blood! Where Warren G at?!’ And I was like, ‘Sh*t, what’s up?’ He said, ‘Aye, blood. You told them not to sign that contract?!’ I took off! But the only way you could get down was the elevator, so I’m at the elevator like [hurriedly pressing the button]. He grabbed me and pushed me up against the wall and was like, ‘You told them not to sign that contract, blood?!’”
Warren G then says he was able to convince Knight to let him go, but that the encounter could’ve been deadly had a member in his entourage not carried a firearm at the time. “I said, “Ni**a, if you don’t get your hands off me, ni**a,” the renowned rapper G-Funk producer recalled telling Suge. “I’m calling my brother, ni**a. I’m calling all my homeboys.’ And he let me go. And I had one of my guys with me. Luckily, he didn’t have no gun ’cause he was a gunner. And he was just a short little motherfu**er, so if he’d have had something, he probably would’ve had shot him. And I didn’t want him to do it, but he probably would’ve.”
While Warren claims to have no ill will towards Suge Knight, he admits that his comments soured his relationship with Knight, resulting in him not being offered a record deal with Death Row. Warren G ultimately signed with Def Jam Records and released his debut album, Regulate… G Funk Era, in 1994, which was certified 3x platinum and spawned the classic single “Regulate” featuring the late Nate Dogg. “Regulate” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned Warren G a Grammy nomination. It remains his biggest hit to date.
Watch the clip from Warren G’s People’s Party podcast episode below.