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.....There are two people in this world. There is “The Man.” And then there is “The Man Behind The Man.” For every George Bush there is a Karl Rove. Michael Jackson had Quincy Jones. Richard Pryor had Paul Mooney crafting those brilliant jokes. Behind Dave Chappelle’s cult show was Neil Brennan. And for Dr. Dre there was Bruce Williams. Spanning a time period of nearly two decades, Bruce Williams was the proverbial fly on the wall during one of the most heinous, accomplished, controversial, successful and infamous situations that one could ever be a part of. He was the man who did all the grunt work for Dr. Dre. He answered the phones, dealt with the artists and was the buffer between Dr. Dre and the world. There’s only one man who knows everything about Dr. Dre aside from Dr. Dre. And that man is Bruce Williams. HipHopDX engaged in an extensive dialog with Bruce Williams dealing with his recently released book titled Rollin’ With Dre: The Unauthorized Account. In the book, Williams sheds light on various situations that have never been previously discussed regarding his time by Dre’s side. Whether it be the unfinished Snoop album that made it to the public, the truth about the Death Row/Bad Boy beef, Al Sharpton’s involvement with the 50 Cent/Game beef or what really happened with the Rakim situation, Williams has all the answers the doctor has yet to provide. In part 1 of this exclusive interview, Williams talks about the his beginnings with Dre and his time at Death Row right up until the infamous 1995 Source Awards debacle that shook up the Hip Hop industry for many years to come. HipHopDX: Give a little background on yourself for those who don’t know you. Bruce Williams: I worked with Dre for over 16 years. I started off with the Death Row era. I came out to Cali to be an actor and I met Dre through a chick named Robin. Robin was a girl that was interior designing Dre’s house. I went with her just to kick it for a minute. Me and Dre started talking and the next thing I know he was like, “Yo, what are you fittin’ to do now?” and then just said, “Why don’t you just roll with me?” We’ve been rolling ever since then.
He wanted me to roll with him to learn the business. And since I was already going to be trying to do movies, it just worked out like that. I was his right hand man from there. There was a time where you couldn’t speak to Dre unless you spoke to me first. It was that deep. I learned the music business from working with him.
DX: So why a book at this point in your life? BW: My inspiration behind writing this book was because I wanted to do this TV show but they decided that I should do a book first to get some interest.
DX: In the book you mention a paltry salary of $300 a week while working at Death Row. What was that all about? BW: I didn’t get a raise until we started Aftermath. I don’t put that on Dre at all because, at the time, I didn’t really need money. Everywhere I went, everything was taken care of. I stayed in a high rise building. Dre couldn’t give me as much money as he could help me make.
As time went by, we got deeper and deeper into the music and then Dre started Aftermath as well as got a new accountant, and I remember the accountant called me in and was like, “Uhhhh… Dre wants to give you a raise," Dre was astounded and didn’t know that I was making $300 a week and never opened my mouth. But to me, at that time I didn’t have no dependents or a wife or kids so it didn’t really mean much to me because everything was taken care of. "
"Spacey as he could be in those early days, Dre made one smart business decision that would make forgivable his countless bad ones to come: One day we jumped into my man’s ride and he took me to his accountant. There we completed paperwork that made me an employee only of Andre Rommel Young. I didn’t work for the label, Death Row, or for its distribution crony, Interscope.” – pgs 19-20
DX: How did you meet Suge Knight? BW: Me and Dre has been rolling for a month or so before I even met Suge. We was in this nightclub and all of sudden I’m standing next to Suge, and this guy walks up with a gun and pointed it at him. My instincts had me talking to the dude – trying to calm him down - and next thing I know the gun is on me. We made a couple movements and dude dropped the gun. I picked the gun up and passed it off to Sam Sneed.
DX: And that situation led to you earning Suge’s respect? BW: That wasn’t me trying to earn his respect. That was just natural instincts from me just being in the military DX: How was it having Hip Hop’s most feared figure in your entourage? BW: It was chaotic to the point where the people made it bad. Everywhere Suge went, people would say, “Oh man, there’s Suge!” and everybody was scared of him. The more people that say that, the more Suge was going to stick his chest out.
DX: What about the horror stories saying people got beat down during that era? Isn’t that part of the reason why people were scared of him too? BW: Yeah, people got their ass whooped. But the ones that got their ass whooped was because they were doing some bullshit. I couldn’t understand why certain people would come to a crew that they knew wasn’t going to take their bullshit and after trying to do some work with us would try to beat us in the end. How can you not expect no repercussions?
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t just running around jumping on people. It wasn’t that type of thing. Going to clubs, Suge didn’t really give a damn. When we came to the door it was “Fuck security, fuck the bouncers, everyone move!” He just wasn’t out there fucking with people for no reason. A lot of shit that went down were because people were on his turf. Why were you on his turf?
“I walked to the suite down the hall. Inside was Suge, Party Man, and a couple of Death Row thugs. As soon as he saw me, Party Man had this look on his face like, ‘Please, whatever you can do, help me.' And I’m lookin’ back at him like, ‘Ain’t a damn thing I can do for you, man. You just fucked with the wrong niggas.’ ‘Bruce, how much money in that thang?’ Suge asked. Man, I don’t even wanna say it, but I have to: ‘We short.’ ‘How much?’ Suge asks ‘Forty Gs.’ …They took Party Man to the bathroom and fucked him up so bad he didn’t even press charges.” – pgs 62 - 63
DX: Aside from the obvious, what were the differences between Suge and Dre? BW: Dre was that laid back dude, but Suge was that go-getter. With Suge, if he got respect for you and you show him respect, it’s a whole different ballgame. You don’t have to deal with him on a bullshit level. When it came to business, when Dre said he wanted to do something, Suge was already hooking it up. But when it came to Aftermath, those things changed.
DX: I’ve heard that there was actually a different version of The Chronic. Is there any truth to that at all? BW: A different version of The Chronic album? Nah. Dre will make a song like this: you have a beat then some lyrics on top of it and everyone will think that’s the record. Then Dre will switch the whole beat up. People kinda got mixed up around the time when we left Death Row, and we had a beef with Suge when he wanted the masters. People got it misconstrued then but there wasn’t ever two different Chronics.
DX: What was it like being in the studio with everyone on Death Row back in the day? BW: The first day I stepped in the studio and saw everyone work was phenomenal man. Just imagine this: Dre’s going to be the first one in the studio and the last one to leave. He’ll start messing with a beat. As the beat starts pumping, the guys start filtering in. Everybody will get their little drink and smoke in. Soon enough the beat starts to make a presence. You’ll look around the room and every cat that was a rapper – from Kurupt to Daz to Snoop – will grab a pen. They would start writing while Dre is making a beat so by the time he’s finished with the beat, they are ready to hit the booth and start spittin'. To see those young cats – they were all hungry and wanted to make something dope. The atmosphere that was there, you couldn’t be wack.
DX: Anything that nobody knows about that you can bring up? BW: Snoop’s first album [Doggystyle]. A lot of people don’t understand that the album was never finished. They were demanding that album so much that it came to a point where the distributors said, "We’re going to cancel our orders if you don’t get this to us." In 48 hours, Dre mixed the album and did all of the skits. So they had to record all of that and it was done in 48 hours straight. For me, that was the most phenomenal shit in the world. You could just see a line of Hennessy bottles in the studio. You saw lobster and stuff everywhere. But nobody touched it. Everything for that 48 hours was all about music. I remember that Dre laid on the sofa for about 15 minutes and Snoop looked up and saw him laying down. All I remember is Snoop with a pool cue hitting the sofa saying, "Come on Dr. Dre! Get your ass up! You gotta mix my album!” So in a 48 hour period we went from mixing the album from top to bottom, putting the skits in and getting it out there.
DX: What exactly is Dre’s mentality when making an album? BW: If you really listen to a Dre album, Dre doesn’t make an album to bump in the club. His songs crossover to the club. All of his songs are riding albums. It’s something you can throw in your tape or CD player and roll with. Never have to take it out. What a lot of producers don’t understand about this game is the flow of your songs. You can have dope songs but if you don’t have that one to lead off, then you don’t have anything. Your songs can’t jump from one place to another. With Dre, each songs levels out to the next song. They all blend in good. A lot of people didn’t understand that. He made the game different and nobody could stop him or top him because he had those ears. Even when an album wasn’t finished, it was dope. Everyone always asks why does it take him so long. He will - still to this day, in the studio - go over a song word for word to make sure it is pronounced exactly right. You’ll be listening to it and say that you don’t hear any difference but he does. DX: I’ve heard Dre uses his car to test a record's sound. Is that true? BW: It has to bump in the whip. When he mixes a song, he always rolls with it in his car. For Dre, that’s his peace of mind. It’s just him and the song. Then we used to hit a spot called the Red Rock on Sunset Boulevard. Like an old dingy white people spot, you wouldn’t think we’d ever be there. We’d go to the upstairs area that had its own bar. And we would always play music up there. People would come up from all different nationalities. We’d test music that way also to see what they would be jamming to.
DX: Explain the atmosphere of the now infamous Source Awards incident. BW: I’ve been to hundreds of award shows. But [The Source Awards] was by far the number one. It had a stigma where some shit was going to go down. But it also had some excitement to it. You know how they have an intermission in between filming? Usually it would be quiet at other award shows. But here? You heard “fuck Queensbridge,” “Brooklyn!” You would hear all of this conversation “Wu-Tang!” and you’d hear people saying, “Fuck them west coast niggas,” and we’d be like, “Aw shit. It’s going to be some shit up in here!” We started the show off with everybody locked in cells like they were stranded on death row.
When Suge walked up on that damn stage and said what he had to say about Puffy; The whole crowd erupted. It was about to be some shit. I looked around and said “Man, how the fuck are we going to get out of this spot.” You know how there’s chaotic tension? Where you feel like something may jump off but it doesn’t? It had that feeling. It took us to the point where we thought the whole arena was ready to throw down but it never got past that point.
DX: How did you get out of there that night with all that hostility? BW: We stuck out like a sore thumb. We are looking like L.A. niggas. I came out of the arena looking for that limo and all I could see was a sea of east coast brothers hollering, “Fuck Death Row! We gonna catch them niggas!” I’m hoping one of them doesn’t find out I’m from Cali. I find the limo and I go back to get Dre. So we walk outside and things changed. They were now like, “Fuck Death…oh that’s Dr. Dre, man! He’s cool. Ya’ll go ahead on then. That’s Dre. Fuck them other niggas though!”
HipHopDX: Who do you think was at fault for the east coast/west coast beef? The media, the artists or the fans? Bruce Williams: With that east coast/west coast thing, a few things happened. Media did what they had to do. Hip Hop is the only entertainment connected to the streets, so therefore, street niggas take that shit serious. We had a bunch of rappers that couldn’t sell a record. When beef time came, every west coast rapper that couldn’t sell a record would just say, “Fuck the east coast,” so people can jump on the bandwagon and get their name out there. Same thing happened on the east. It made things escalate way higher than we thought of. The street niggas really wanted to be in it.
DX: Was there any conversation between B.I.G. and Suge before things happened that night at The Source Awards? BW: It’s always like that. It was always about peace. This is the music game and you gotta sell records. Suge felt that Puffy copied The Chronic and didn’t give Death Row enough props. He was upset about that. With him being upset and nobody saying anything, he was going to find a spot in that show to take the spotlight. He said what he said. That’s just the way things work.
DX: Did Suge ever make a pitch to sign Biggie? BW: Suge would have brought anybody that could sell to Death Row. He ain’t crazy. He’s all about making some money. He could have said, "Fuck B.I.G." all day, but if he could have gotten him on Death Row? "Come on baby let’s roll!" That’s the name of the game. We see it every day. These cats denounce each other all day long. Next thing you know they are all hugged up. That’s how it goes. Take all the personal stuff out of it.
“Sam Sneed had been on his way to a meeting he’d been hastily informed of by a sketchy-sounding Death Row underling. He stopped along the way because something just didn’t feel right to him. We were telling Sam that he was right to trust his gut instinct.
‘Sam,’ Dre told him, ‘you’s a dumb muthafucka if you go to that meeting.’
‘Dude, don’t go there,’ I cosigned. ‘You know what’s about to go down.’
…‘Seriously, don’t go to that meeting,’ I urged Sneed.
‘You know we left Death Row,’ Dre chimed in. ‘You know them niggas know you wanna be with us. I just don’t think it’s a good idea.’
Well, the kid wasn’t trying to hear this. He was trying to be a stand up guy. So he went out to Can-Am [Studios] to screen that (1994’s “U Better Recognize”) video.” –pg 101
DX: Was there really beef between Suge and 2Pac with Dr. Dre? BW: Just imagine Dre and 'Pac without Suge. [2Pac and Dr. Dre's] beef was manufactured. There was nothing really to that. We’d see Suge out in Malibu and we’d just talk and go on about our business. If Suge would have done anything to us, [the people] would have been on his ass. It wouldn’t have been nice.
“The stylized black-and-white footage rolled, and there was Dre rapping in close-up, just as expected. Negativity sucked the conference room empty, just as expected…
…But the music sounded like a Death Row track, by which I mean it was a Dr. Dre track. And Dre was doing the hook. That was bad enough. Then the East Coast niggas started showing up in cameos. First some East Coast basketball cats, big and impressive names if you’re from Brooklyn. This was the San Fernando Valley, though. And there was a war going on.
Tupac said, ‘If I see one more East Coast nigga in this motherfucker…’
…Then Kool G. Rap entered the video frame.
‘What the fuck!’ shouted Tupac.
And everybody began to beat the shit out of Sam Sneed.
…Suge made Sneed put in an appearance at a party for Snoop that night. He even gave a toast. Then he flew home to Pittsburgh. Sam was never the same. Death Row never released the album. Not too long ago the nigga had brain surgery, just to get his ass back to some semblance of normality.” – pgs 102 – 103
DX: As a centerpiece in this beef, was Tupac the man that was portrayed in the media? BW: 'Pac was a real level-headed dude. You could talk to him about everything. The only thing about 'Pac that was fucked up was that he had too many “yes” men. He had nobody to pull his coat and say, “We’ve clowned enough, let’s move on.” 'Pac was going to be a politician. He would rap on wack beats and make them dope. You listened to 'Pac to see what he said. How many rappers do you really listen to what he has to say. Like Eminem. Nobody really listened for his music. They want to hear what he’s got to say.
DX: Was there ever a time when you thought the Pac/Suge/Dre beef could be reconciled? BW: Before the stabbing incident at the Vibe Award show, Dre turned to me and said, “I think I’m going to do something with Suge, we’re young black men that did so many great things together, maybe we can turn it around,” and then (the Vibe Awards stabbing) happened.
DX: So what was the atmosphere like when trying to figure out the next move after Death Row? BW: We would go back and forth to Jimmy Iovine’s house trying to figure out what to do. Then Dre called a meeting at his house to say he was going to leave Death Row. His mom was supposed to start a clothing line. Me and Phillip Atwell were supposed to do movies. I was going to help putting Aftermath together. I was the guy who started Aftermath with him.
We was first going to be called Black Market. There was a company in San Francisco with the same name and wanted a million dollars for it. So we changed that and came up with Aftermath.
DX: So what was your role now? BW: What I did for Dre was far beyond what an assistant would do. He wasn’t just my boss, he was my best friend. I did everything. Everything that everybody does at Aftermath, I did by myself for Dre at Death Row. When we went to Aftermath I hired some people to make my job a little easier. My title at Aftermath was VP of operations even though Dre said I could have whatever title I wanted.
DX: What about the money? Did the financial situation improve? BW: Dre was never signed to Death Row. He was just a co-owner. He was always signed to Interscope and to Jimmy. When Dre walked away the money didn’t change. He got more at Aftermath. Suge used to have a garage full of cars and Dre would have only two. He didn’t really start making money until he started Aftermath.
DX: In your book you say “Dre is not a businessman.” Some may think that’s a shot at Dr. Dre in the music biz… BW: When I say Dre’s not a businessman, I say that because he’s a producer and a man that loves music. Dre loves the studio. He didn’t want to do anything else. He’s outgrown Hip Hop. I’ve got ideas that he had of blending Opera and Hip Hop together that’s phenomenal. At one time he wanted to make an instrumental album about how the planets sound.
He really wants to be known for something more than just Hip Hop music. He wants to be studied by professors on his music. Since he has started to play guitar and learn to read music, it showed him an entirely different world.
“You might think it was all hunky-dory, escaping from the everyday Blood rawness to form Aftermath but you would be wrong. The game was still dirty at Interscope, only the beatdowns took place in boardrooms rather than alleys. “ – pgs 112-113
DX: What were the differences between Death Row and Aftermath? BW: With Suge, he was a figure that everyone was scared of. With that being said, it keeps a lot of bullshit away. No pettiness. That wasn’t happening at Death Row. When we switched to Aftermath, you didn’t have that big presence so everyone went their own separate ways. Everybody wanted to be the man. People wanted to be as close to Dre as I was. It just got so fake and phony and I didn’t want to deal with it anymore. Even though it was gangster at Death Row, it was a little bit better. At Aftermath, what Jimmy says, goes. That’s the bottom line.
DX: Were there any other deals on the table for Dre? And why stick with Jimmy Iovine? BW: Dre has turned down deal after deal. Jimmy is the dude he’s going to stick with through thick and thin. And the reason he’s going to stick with Jimmy is because after Dre did “Deep Cover,” he went to every record company out there. You know none of them motherfuckers gave him a deal? Sony told Dre “I don’t see nobody else knocking down your door.” Jimmy was the only one who would give him a deal. I got a lot of respect for Jimmy; he’s smart as a motherfucker and he understands that this is a business. He knows the things he has to do in order to keep his business.
“’I don’t wanna talk to that guy,’ Jimmy told the secretary. I was shocked. Gerardo, with his ‘Rico Suave’ song, made stupid money for Jimmy, back when Interscope was on shaky ground. That should have been my first lesson that it was never about personal relationships around there. Just business.
My second lesson was what went down next. Jimmy fielded a series of phone calls with abrupt put-downs. In a nutshell, each query got answered with the equivalent of a gruff, ‘Hell, naw!’
I asked Jimmy what he would do if one of the Interscope staff had talked to him like that.
‘I’d give him a raise,’ Jimmy said.
‘Give him a raise?’ I asked out of confusion.
‘Yes, a big raise and then I’d encourage him to buy a big house. Then after he was fully committed financially, I’d demote him.
I was starting to get the picture.
‘Because after that,’ Jimmy continued, ‘his family life would be fucked up. His pussy would be ruined. Everything. Yep, I’d give him a raise.’” – pgs 152-153
DX: There have been numerous rumors about Dre not producing his own music. You were there when some of the greatest songs in Hip Hop were made. What’s the real deal? BW: Dre is a hell of a producer and a mixer. A cat could do a couple of sounds inside of a beat and Dre could come and change the whole thing around and make it sound phenomenal.
Mel Man is phenomenal on the drum machine, their fallout wasn’t really about music, it was about money. Mel and all of us were like family. We did everything together. Mel had gotten pretty low on his funds and he had just felt Dre should give him some money. Dre didn’t give him what he wanted and the fallout started from there until Mel rolled off with Big Chuck. Mel thought that when he bounced with Big Chuck that he’d be able to come back to Aftermath. We know Dre said that he and Mel Man wouldn’t work together again. Recently, Mel has been back working with Dre for the last three or four months.
Dre’s biggest problem is his communication skills. Dre was the good guy, I was the bad guy. He’s not going to tell you bad shit.
DX: So how often did you have to tell people who wanted a beat from Dre “No”? BW: All the time man. From Madonna to Michael Jackson. Dre would rather work with a new artist than an old established artist. Dre is not going to have Madonna or Michael Jackson tell him, “I don’t like that, give me another beat.” Michael Jackson didn’t get any beats for one simple reason: If you can’t roll with Dre and go kick it, then we can’t do no music. I would have to tell everyone no. Sometimes I would hike the price up to a million dollars and they would say, “Let me talk to my people and get back,” and I would sit there and go "Oh no…they aren't really thinking about paying that are they?’”
Dre never really charged like that. If he liked you, Dre didn’t charge you like that. Look what he did for Xzibit [Man Vs. Machine]. He didn’t have to executive produce his album when he was on Loud Records. But he liked his whole vibe and what he was doing.
“Detox is the concept Dre had been trying to fully conceptualize for years. He was so serious at one point just after the second Chronic album that he had T-shirts made up…It was the farewell album he would walk off to, the one that might show him graduating from gangsta rap, basically. It made sense, going from The Chronic to Detox , because that’s what Dre had done, basically. The problem was, he didn’t know what to write about. Who wanted to hear about his stable, suburban life?” pgs 144-145
DX: Detox. You already know my question… Bruce Williams: People are on Dre about Detox and Dre never really wanted to do Detox. He’s 40-something [editor's note: 43] years old, what’s he going to talk about? He’s gotta relate to these 13 year olds buying records. What is he going to talk about? He can’t come out here saying, "Fuck the police," he can’t keep talking about smoking weed, he’s been there and done all that. Where is there to go now? But it has to be done and he’s going to make sure that shit is right before he puts it out.
DX: Will we have to wait much longer to wait for Detox? BW: I don’t think so. If it comes out, I’ll be shocked - and I’ll also know that it has to come out.
“…But Rakim was not the rapper he once was. He didn’t even rhyme in the studio with the crew hanging out. Dude was writing only at home. Dre wanted to do tracks in a way that allowed you to feel the camaraderie. Rakim’s a legend, but he was a legend in his day. The chemistry between these two just wasn’t there…” – pg 128
DX: So what exactly happened with the whole Rakim ordeal? BW: Oh My God album? Every time Dre did an interview, they asked him what emcee he would love to work with and his response was always the same: Rakim. We went through all this stuff trying to get Rakim and finally, Dre got Rakim. And with a title like Oh My God, the public was waiting on some astronomical shit! And they just never meshed together. A few of 50 Cent’s songs on Get Rich Or Die Tryin' were Rakim songs. Like “Back Down” and “Heat;” there were quite a few of them.
I’ll put it to you like this: Rakim is a legend…let a legend be a legend. With all these new emcees and things sometimes the world is not going to appreciate this. We appreciate it because we grew up on it.
DX: What is the deal with Aftermath and the “revolving door” of artists? BW: Look at Aftermath. Are they a household name? No, they’re not. I can say Aftermath, and people will say, “Who is that?” but when I say Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Eminem then they get an idea. If you say G-Unit [click to read], everybody knows G-Unit. If you say Shady, everyone knows Shady. Aftermath is not a household name because we don’t put out enough stuff.
Everybody’s catering to Dre and he don’t have time to nurture new artists. Why do you think Game had so many problems? Game couldn’t do hooks. But for two years he was hustling by himself.
If you don’t push the acts that you have in your company, then your company will never be made whole. Dre is doing records for everyone else on Interscope and not building his own company up. That contributes to not really being a businessman.
“When that beef between 50 Cent and The Game went public, Al Sharpton called over and asked for a half a million dollars. Otherwise he was going to bring the heat on behalf of 'The Community.' We gave him $250,000. Then we had The Game and 50 make up in public, holding an elaborate press conference.” Pg. 148
DX: In your book you basically say that Al Sharpton hustled you guys for money in order to not go and publicly march about the Game/50 Cent beef. BW: He said if we didn’t have a million, we marching. It’s that easy. Look at C. Delores Tucker back in the day. They was sitting up there talking all that bullshit when behind closed doors they was trying to start their own label. But that isn’t what they were telling motherfuckers in the street! We got a lot of black leaders that don’t do shit to me. I don’t see what they do. In the [Game vs. 50 Cent] situation, you are going to come and say, "We need ‘X’ amount of money,” whether you are going to give it to charity or not. Why don’t you come and say, “Hey, let’s all of us sit down and figure this out;” don’t come and say, “Give me a half a million dollars or we marching!” That didn’t even get the situation resolved. You seen it. They didn’t even look like they squashed anything.
DX: So the so called squashing of the beef… BW: The entire thing was orchestrated by Al Sharpton.
DX: Come on…are you serious? BW: Yeah, they do that shit all the time man! [So-called activists] don’t want nothing but money. We had to go to New York for this big meeting. Quincy Jones, Colin Powell, dude who runs Black Enterprise magazine [Earl G. Graves, Sr.], one of Malcolm X’s daughters, Puffy. When Death Row was big. They were trying to tell us how to use our power and use our money. Where were you when we were trying to get this money? None of you were trying to get us a record deal, yet, all of you talk shit about us and then you don’t put a foot forward [in helping us]. They try to tell us how to use our money but they weren’t fucking with us before that.
“’You know what?' asked Busta Rhymes after taking in one particularly take, ‘When you’re rappin’, sometimes your shit is just so borderline disrespectful. I mean you really take it there!’
Everyone busted out laughing.
That’s what’s great about The Game. And that’s his problem too. His 2004 album, The Documentary, is the sound of someone struggling to keep up with the talent around him. He didn’t always respect his place in the process…” – pg 140
DX: So back to 50 Cent and Game. How real was this beef? BW: Game and 50 wasn’t cool with that situation from jump. Jimmy Iovine was the one who was the brainchild of putting Game in G-Unit because that gave G-Unit a bigger presence on the west coast, plus Game had a bigger buzz on the east than the west at the time. So that way Game could ride with G-Unit and vice versa. Just for bigger album sales.
But you gotta understand that Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo were soldiers for 50. Game already had a deal with Aftermath. Game already had his own people. Game and 50 are very similar in their ways, and never really did like each other. But they understood the game. 50 gave Game a few of his songs for Game’s album and those were Game’s biggest hits. [50 Cent] did the hooks. But 50 wanted Game to be a soldier and Game did not want to be a soldier. That’s just the way it was. 50 wanted to be the boss.
You gotta think about the timing of all this. At one time, everyone was talking about Game. 50 was pushing up his album. All the beef stuff was a little orchestration of jealousy.
The video for “This Is How We Do” was supposed to be like this: one side of the street would be Cali and the other side would be New York. 50’s on one side and Game would be on the other. 50 didn’t want to do the video. Reason why? [50 Cent said] “Game wasn’t on my level if people see me and Game doing a video together they will think that he’s on my level.”
DX: Damn… BW: I felt Dre should have stepped up to the plate on that. He’s the icon, he could have shut that whole thing down. Sometimes you have to take that role. But if you don’t, the beef is going to go where it’s going to go.
DX: So did you ever hear all these so called projects that were supposed to come out that never did? BW: Did I hear it? Shit, I still got it!
DX: Are there that many songs in the vault? BW: He has a whole bunch of songs that never made it out. I still have Rakim songs.
DX: What about the rumored Helter Skelter album with Ice Cube? BW: We didn’t finish the Helter Skelter album. If Dre ever decides to put out the shit that he has in the vault, you’d be like, “Wow!”
DX: So what finally led to your departure from Dre and the industry? BW: I want our whole crew to make it. Dre was supposed to be the roots of that strong tree and we were supposed to be the branches. Don’t tell me what we’re going to do. Seventeen years went by and nothing materialized. I got three kids and a wife. He didn’t want to hear my mouth anymore so he had me doing stuff for his wife. I started thinking that I was going to be a retired-ass dude who never got to do what he wanted to do. You want to step out on your own but you think about being around Dre for so long and how is the rest of the world going to accept me? I just finally made that decision. My last conversation in Aftermath with Dre was me telling him I had to go to a meeting…I just never came back.
“In hindsight, things have gone down between me and the biz exactly as they are supposed to. Experience was the salary at both Death Row and Aftermath. My genius friend can be irresponsible and self-absorbed, but the cat can teach a lesson in his own special way.
I’m happy where I am now. I helped make history with my man Dre. And I got to witness the strengths of street knowledge – and its weaknesses. And even if a part of me wishes I could have been there to watch the Doctor struggle through another album-patient, I’m not complaining in the least. It ain’t all bad being the man next to da man.” – pg 164
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