During an interview this week, former bodyguard of Hip-Hop artist Eminem claimed that music mogul Suge Knight attempted to have the rapper killed during the 2001 Source Awards show.
Complex reports that in an eye-opening interview on the Murder Master Music Show, Byron “Big Naz’ Williams, Eminem’s former bodyguard, opened up about the incident, stating he had to pull the rapper away before an argument with Knight’s crew escalated into something much bigger, possibly murder. Williams, noting that the Source Awards were already known for having a violence problems, recalled how Eminem was forced to sit in an area without his bodyguards, in a sections with other artists and fans, where he came into contact with Knight’s crew.
“That was our first encounter with Suge Knight and his henchman. Em was going to his seat. The way they had the seating was all messed up and the bodyguards couldn’t sit with the artists. I think that was by design ’cause I think they really wanted the artists to be able to network with each other, but it also gives people who got beef with other artists to get at them.”
Williams indicated that he saw Eminem “beefing with all these guys in red shirts.” He eventually grabbed Eminem and pulled him to safety, but not before getting hassled by Knight’s people.
“I had to bust through the middle man and snatch him up. Like, ‘Hey, man. What the hell’s going on up here?’ This is exactly what they said, ‘Death Row, mother f******. Death Row.'”
The story, however, still wasn’t over. Sometime after the Source Awards show, Eminem and crew flew to Hawaii. According to Williams, they were stopped and warned shortly after departing the plane that Death Row was already there.
“When the plane lands we are greeted by 20 Honolulu police officers and they told us that Death Row is here, they tried to hem [Snoop Dogg] up. Suge Knight had sent 50 guys to try to break up the show.
“When we got there, vacation mode was over, we were locking and loading, putting on bullet proof vests with their wives and girlfriends sitting next to them. We had to have Interscope pick up the tab to put Honolulu police with each bodyguard, because of how deep Suge was over there.”
Whether the allegations are true or not remain unclear, but given Knight’s past history of violence, it certainly isn’t a far-fetched claim. Knight currently remains in jail, facing murder charges after he was accused of running down two people with his truck early last year, while on the set of Straight Outta Compton. One of the men ran over was pronounced dead shortly after.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Knight’s lawyer, James Blatt, argued that his client was “fleeing for his life” when the incident happened, and that a group of people were “attempting to drag him outside of the vehicle when he made an effort to escape… in fear for his life.”
Police disagree. Witnesses who saw the incident told authorities that the driver of the truck, identified as Knight, hit one of the men, and then backed up over him before driving away.
Prior records of violence that Knight was involved in include a 1987 domestic violence charge, followed by 1990 battery charge. In 1991, Knight was accused of beating up two men at the Solar Records’ recording studio in Los Angeles, followed by nine-year prison sentence in 1996 for probation violation after he was seen on camera, embroiled in a fight, along with rapper Tupac Shakur, at the Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Hotel. Tupac was shot several times later that night, while riding passenger in a car Knight was driving.
Knight was released after doing five of his nine-year prison sentence, but it wasn’t long before he was in legal troubles again. In 2003, he assaulted a parking lot attendant in Los Angeles, which landed him behind bars for 10 months. In 2008, he was arrested for beating up his girlfriend, but the charges were later dropped when she mysteriously vanished. Knight also faced numerous arrests for theft, traffic warrants, possession of controlled substances, and “consorting with a gang member.”
So far, representatives for Eminem or Suge Knight haven’t responded.
[Photo by David Buchan/Getty Images]