Bruce Williams: The REAL Doctor's Advocate Pt 2
In comes Tupac with Suges boys and a dude from Puffys camp. Tensions had risen even higher since The Source Awards. Tupac was accusing Biggie of having set him up and shot prior to his prison stintIt was a hectic time, so if youre in Puffys camp, why be at a Death Row party?They sat dude down in the chair and just started punchin him in the grill. Blam, Blam, blam.
Wheres Puffys mom live?' Suge asked. pg 77
[click to read Part 1]
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 couldnt sell a record. When beef time came, every west coast rapper that couldnt 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: Its 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 didnt 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. Thats 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 aint crazy. Hes 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 lets roll!" Thats 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. Thats how it goes. Take all the personal stuff out of it.
Sam Sneed had been on his way to a meeting hed been hastily informed of by a sketchy-sounding Death Row underling. He stopped along the way because something just didnt feel right to him. We were telling Sam that he was right to trust his gut instinct.
Sam, Dre told him, yous a dumb muthafucka if you go to that meeting.
Dude, dont go there, I cosigned. You know whats about to go down.
Seriously, dont 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 dont think its a good idea.
Well, the kid wasnt trying to hear this. He was trying to be a stand up guy. So he went out to Can-Am [Studios] to screen that (1994s 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. Wed see Suge out in Malibu and wed 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 wouldnt 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 youre 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, Weve clowned enough, lets 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 hes 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 Im going to do something with Suge, were 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 Iovines 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 wasnt 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 didnt change. He got more at Aftermath. Suge used to have a garage full of cars and Dre would have only two. He didnt really start making money until he started Aftermath.
DX: In your book you say Dre is not a businessman. Some may think thats a shot at Dr. Dre in the music biz
BW: When I say Dres not a businessman, I say that because hes a producer and a man that loves music. Dre loves the studio. He didnt want to do anything else. Hes outgrown Hip Hop. Ive got ideas that he had of blending Opera and Hip Hop together thats 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 wasnt happening at Death Row. When we switched to Aftermath, you didnt 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 didnt 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. Thats 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 hes going to stick with through thick and thin. And the reason hes 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 dont 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; hes 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 dont 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.
Id give him a raise, Jimmy said.
Give him a raise? I asked out of confusion.
Yes, a big raise and then Id encourage him to buy a big house. Then after he was fully committed financially, Id 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, Id 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. Whats 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 wasnt 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 didnt 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 hed be able to come back to Aftermath. We know Dre said that he and Mel Man wouldnt work together again. Recently, Mel has been back working with Dre for the last three or four months.
Dres biggest problem is his communication skills. Dre was the good guy, I was the bad guy. Hes 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 dont like that, give me another beat. Michael Jackson didnt get any beats for one simple reason: If you cant roll with Dre and go kick it, then we cant 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 nothey aren't really thinking about paying that are they?
Dre never really charged like that. If he liked you, Dre didnt charge you like that. Look what he did for Xzibit [Man Vs. Machine]. He didnt have to executive produce his album when he was on Loud Records. But he liked his whole vibe and what he was doing.
Part 3 reveals why the Rakim and Dr. Dre relationship didn't work out, Al Sharpton's role in the 50 Cent/Game beef, why Game and 50 had problems in the first place, why Bruce left Dr. Dre and if Detox is EVER going to be released. [click to read]