DJ Quik Says Suge Knight Had Diddy’s Child’s Mother In His Room After The Source Awards
On August 3, 1995, that year’s Source Awards took place at Madison Square Gardens’ Paramount Theater. The event is seismic in Rap music history, as it marks the shots heard ’round, disses from the podium at the magazine’s event. In the aftermath of the situation, for those in attendance and who would later see the footage, it started a declaration of beef between Death Row and Bad Boy Records, and artists from the nation’s two coasts.
DJ Quik performed with Death Row in a six-figure stage display that included a cardboard cutout of the then-incarcerated Tupac Shakur in a prison cell. While Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound, The Lady Of Rage, Sam Sneed, and Nate Dogg performed hits following 1994’s Murder Was The Case and Above The Rim soundtracks, DJ Quik joined the mix. Quik grew up in the same city of Compton that was home to Death Row’s co-founders, Suge Knight and Dr. Dre. He had begun working with the label the year prior on Above The Rim, and had started producing its fledgling R&B act, Danny Brown—who was also at the awards show.
To open the affair, Quik performed “Dollaz + Sense,” a scathing and physically threatening diss aimed at his crosstown rival, MC Eiht of Compton’s Most Wanted. Throughout the decade, Eiht had dissed Quik on album. As Quik was from a Blood neighborhood and Eiht belonged to a Crip set, there were genuine street implications to the on-wax beef.
As a guest on Questlove Supreme, Quik tells Quest’, Phonte, and the rest of the show about that night, and revealed some new details for the first time about what transpired after the show. Questlove, who was in attendance with The Roots, asks Quik about the performance. Watching the concert months after the soundtrack inclusion (which also appeared on 1995’s Safe + Sound album by Quik), Questlove admits that he had no idea that the two artists were at odds. Phonte adds that, as a fan, he was well aware.
Quik recalls that he knew where MC Eiht was going to be seated in MSG because the names were taped on seats during soundcheck. He also adds why he performed the song when he did. “[There] was a lot going on before that. There was a fight that I had at the El Rey Theatre, where I was [implicated] in a death [of Kelly Jamerson]. One of [MC Eiht’s] boys was in the audience and he was dissing me, and I started fighting with him,” says the artist around 1:01:00. The fatal El Rey event happened in March of 1995, nearly six months after Murder Was The Case‘s soundtrack released. “But it started this chain reaction where everybody started fighting in the club. So the club got tore down and somebody died in the club that night. It had nothing to do with me, but I felt like, ‘Damn, me and this dude [were] fighting and that energy just spread.’ So I was hot; I was just mad for some other reasons.” Quik adds that he had tried to end the beef “amicably” through conversation, something he referenced in the 1994 song’s lyrics. “Man, The Source is keeping this sh*t going. We could just dead this sh*t, and we’ll be like neighborhood heroes. We’re both from Compton; let’s do it. ‘I f*ck with you; I’ll even work with you on some records. Let’s just squash it.’ But he had people in his ear [as I later learned] that were keeping him from f*cking with me. They didn’t want that to happen.”
Without peace on the table, Quik doubled down. “I thought he was ‘Mr. Billy Badass.’ He just kept f*ckin’ goin’ at me [on records]. Enough’s enough. I wrote ‘Dollaz + Sense,’ and when I got a chance to perform it for him, I [took it]. You know you made a ni**a mad when…like, I was talkin’ gay sh*t [about him].” Quik’s graphic lyrics include accounts of oral sex and urinating on his rival’s face. Reflecting, he says, “I ain’t gay; it was over [anger]. I lost my mind! I went crazy! [Laughs] I was nutty.”
Questlove asks if Quik was concerned that C.M.W. might rush the stage during the set. He says that due to his closeness with another Crip artist, Snoop Dogg, he was not worried. However, he laughs in hindsight, recognizing that Snoop and Eiht were also close at that time. Of the performance, he maintains, “I had to do it. You say something, you gotta back it up. So I backed it up!” Quik also adds that he was careful with his styled hair for four days in New York, after getting it professionally done before leaving Los Angeles.
Questlove reveals that fearful of violence, he left the 1995 Source Awards following Snoop Dogg’s address to audience members having “no love” for him, his producer, and their label. At 1:05:00, he asks Quik what happened with his entourage.
“You wanna know what really happened? Okay. That night, when the feud started, when Suge [Knight] got up there and said what he said, that was a wild pitch for us. We didn’t know what was gonna happen; we just wanted to represent L.A.” A fan of music, Quik says that while his ego was thumping, he had no beef with New York or the East Coast. “We was in Madison Square Garden; that was my first time there. So we was in awe; we’re fans too. We know Hip-Hop started out in New York. We know exactly what it is, we just felt like finally, we got some money, we’re furthering Hip-Hop, and we love y’all ni**as. I [wanted to] work with Rakim [and my Profile Records label-mates like] Poor Righteous Teachers, Special Ed [and] Dana Dane. I wanted to work with them ni**as. So when Suge got up there and threw that wild pitch, we felt that heat from the audience behind us [in the crowd]. So me and Nate Dogg was sitting next to each other. We stood up and just stood back-to-back. Nate Dogg said, ‘Quik, if you don’t let nobody hit me in the back of my head, I won’t let nobody hit you in the back of your head.’ I’m like, ‘Bro, you ain’t gotta say nothin’ else.’ We knew it was [bad].”
Quik goes to on to recall that the Death Row entourage was staying at the Parker Meridien Hotel in New York City. “We were there, and Suge had Misa come over—Diddy’s baby-mama. A lot of people don’t know this; this is only on your show, Quest.'” Quik is referring to Misa Hylton-Brim, the mother of Sean “Puffy” Combs’ oldest son, Justin. “I’m goin’, ‘Suge, what are you doin’? Like, what the f*ck? Like, that’s Diddy’s baby-mama.’ She was just like, hangin’ out, whatever.” Knight also invited artists that had worked closely with Puffy. “Mary J. Blige popped up. I didn’t get it; it just got weird to me.”
Co-host Laiya St. Clair suggests that maybe Hylton-Brim came to the hotel to calm down the escalating situation. Quik responds, “I hope so.”
The guest continues that around that time Suge started managing Jodeci, who Puffy had signed to Uptown Records before launching Bad Boy. “He started managing everybody. He got in [Jodeci’s] business with MCA [Records] and took up their management. He wanted to be everybody’s manager, ’cause he wanted to shake down every record company. His intentions was good, but I think at some point it started driving Suge crazy too, [because] of the fame, and everybody trusted him. He had everybody wanting to do business with him—it would be me, M.C. Hammer, [Zapp’s] Roger Troutman, [The Impressions’] Leroy Hutson—everybody went to Death Row. Everybody.” Asked why artists, including Quik did business with Knight, the guest says, “He was giving everybody results. He was gettin’ mothaf*ckas paid from their record companies. He was shaking their record companies up, and they’d write a check to you.”
In late 2016, Puffy spoke about the night of August 3, 1995. He told N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN on Drink Champs, “We gotta break some news here. [Suge Knight] picked me up from the airport and the whole entire thing [before that]. So [the 1995 Source Awards speech] kinda had me taken back because I spoke to [the Death Row Records entourage] as they were there.” Puffy recalled, “We went to The Tunnel [afterward The Source Awards]. Homeboy was in The Tunnel. We go and have a conversation. This is our town; we run The Tunnel. The whole bar is mine. Let’s not get it twisted; I’m ordering garbage buckets of champagne.” He continued, “I ran up, and I asked [Suge Knight if he was talking about me]. He said, ‘Nah, I was talking about Jermaine Dupri.’”
He continued the two parties separated, despite strong tension, especially on the part of the Bad Boy entourage. “Me knowing that I could do mass destruction, that wasn’t something that was authentic to me. That wasn’t who I was. I just wanted everybody to get money, be fly, and dance, and have pretty girls smilin’, and have everybody getting treated with respect.”
In early 2015, Puff Daddy, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Lil’ Kim, Jermaine Dupri and others performed at Madison Square Garden, as a symbol of peace. “I also came here to set some sh*t right, as y’all saw on the screen,” Puffy told those in attendance after playing Knight’s 1995 rant on screen 20 years later. “That negative energy started right here, right on this very stage…If you about positivity, make some noise. So that’s what this is about, man. This is setting that scene straight, as if we can go back, but we can’t. But we get to celebrate on this stage.” The incident took place just weeks after Knight was in custody for a fatal hit-and-run in Compton. Today, he is serving a 28-year sentence for the subsequent plea deal.
Ex-lovers is a tactic that Suge Knight has been accused of before. He had a child with Dr. Dre’s former fiancée, Michel’le. Former Death Row employees have also alleged that Suge later had a romantic relationship with a Daz Dillinger’s one-time wife. In 1996, Tupac Shakur verbally attacked Bad Boy Records superstar, The Notorious B.I.G., claiming he slept with Biggie’s wife, Faith Evans.
Elsewhere in the just-released Questlove Supreme conversation, DJ Quik recalls receiving a million-dollar contract from his underground Red Tape. Some of that tape was reused on 1991’s Quik Is The Name. He discusses why he eventually distanced himself from 2nd II None, maintaining a friendship with the Jacksons, and a short-lived beef with Ice-T and a pre-House Of Pain Everlast.