In the first part of BET.com’s exclusive interview with Suge Knight, the former CEO of Death Row Records praises YG as the de facto leader of the new West Coast.
“YG is in a class by himself [when it comes to] new West Coast artists,” noted Suge. “I think the difference is that, some people have a script, some people have a motive. They turn around and say, ‘OK, I’ma be from this neighborhood and I’m going to represent this neighborhood because I’m trying to get on as a rapper.’ YG really represent that s**t.”
Suge also gave the “My Hitta” MC credit for being the torchbearer of one of hip hop’s most notorious cities.
“YG really pushing ‘Bompton.’ Other than that I can’t think of one Compton rapper [doing the same], even if it’s Game,” said Suge. “Game in an article saying that he’s a ‘former’ gang member. You’re not old enough to really be a gang member yet you say you’re a ‘former’ gang member. YG is a guy that, he represent his music, he represents the city. YG is the only one that made it that has not bowed down and showed he had panties.”
While holding the My Krazy Life rapper above all others, Suge still credits the new generation of rappers with keeping the fight that he helped start with Death Row Records alive.
“I have more than a little love for them,” Suge proclaimed. “I have all the love in the world for [the new generation of artists] because they’re the ones who’s fighting the world in the war that we started.”
Suge, once the most powerful music execs in hip hop, is not talking about the East Coast-West Coast rivalry that divided the rap world during the mid-’90s. He’s referring to the battle to make sure artists get their just due and are able to showcase their talents on their own terms. Suge expressed his vote of confidence for the long term success of hip hop in the hands of these new artists.
“The war we started (for) hip hop and gangsta rap and rap is not over, it’s just beginning,” said Suge.