As some who boasts being a former Death Row artist, DJ Quik knows the ins and outs of the infamous record label. During its heyday, Death Row was the collective to beat; several of its artists were floating at the top of the charts, and the demand was unending. It was easy to flip through radio stations and find songs by Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Daz Dillinger, and more. However, with the success came stories of Suge Knight’s intimating ways. Quik remembered those Golden Era days on the All the Smoke podcast.
Expectedly, being a member of one of the hottest labels in Hip Hop came with its perks, but everything that glitters isn’t always gold. Quik had a front-seat look at Death Row’s downfall and blamed the ‘keep it real’ mentality. “Sometimes it was cool, and then it just became the streets,” he said. “All the stuff that I got away from, all the gang-banging and all that, just met me right there head-on at the office.”
DJ Quik Wanted To Do Business, Not “Hood Sh*t”
For decades, people who knew Suge Knight during that time have shared frightening stories of their encounters. There are tales about him taking to music executives’ offices with threats and hanging artists over balconies. Knight’s presence would shake the room, and it didn’t benefit his artists. “It was hood sh*t,” Quik added. “You had to kind of be hood to deal with it because they were in there. Them n*ggas was detecting fear.”
“They just wanted to see if you were scared, make you feel some kind of way,” the rapper said. “It’s like, that energy doesn’t go with making the right songs. Songwriting is a beautiful process. You know what I mean? And it’s a lot of thought involved. You got guys in here gang-banging and sh*t and threatening you. Saying crazy sh*t.”
Things Could Have Been Different
Quik further noted that Death Row fostered a dangerous environment, but it didn’t have to be that way. “It was the greatest record company, at one point, in the world,” he said. “It was going to be the biggest thing in the game.”