Eazy-E, and former manager Jerry Heller were making a fortune from Ruthless Records at the height of their fame, but for the other N.W.A members, it was a different story.
“Dr. Dre was the producer behind hit after hit after hit on Ruthless Records, but he was getting paid like a very low-level employee,” says N.W.A Biographer, Ben Westhoff in a teaser for REELZ’s new docuseries, Breaking the Band: NWA.
While they were caught in a fabulous new word of fame and adoration, other members of the gangster rap band felt underpaid, and became vulnerable to outside sources. Their bodyguard, Suge Knight, took full advantage of that vulnerability.
“Well-informed bodyguard, is your worst nightmare because he’s close to the artists and he can make him think—and I think that’s what Suge Knight did,” adds N.W.A Biographer, Donnell Alexander.
“I think Suge got a good whiff of how successful the music business could be,” explains Tracy Jernagin, Eazy-E’s ex-fiancée & Ebie’s mother.
As OK! Magazine readers know, Knight decided to set up a record label and brainwash Dr. Dre into thinking bandmate Eazy-E was using him. To lure him in, he convinced the producer that he was getting a bad deal at the N.W.A.
“When Suge came in, then it changed the whole dynamic… so it wasn’t that we weren’t getting paid, we were. It just wasn’t what we were supposed to be getting paid,” recalls Michel’le, Dr. Dre’s ex-girlfriend.
Breaking the Band: NWA airs Sunday, July 1, at 10:00 ET / PT on REELZ.