By Amanda Wicks
Rap villain and former Death Row Records head Suge Knight has a reputation for getting his way, even if that means allegedly taking out those who oppose him. In a new interview from Eminem’s former bodyguard, Byron “Big Naz” Williams claimed Knight tried to take down Slim Shady after an incident at The Source Awards in 2001 went sour.
Speaking with Murder Master Music Show, Williams recounted, “That was our first encounter with Suge Knight and his henchman.” The Source Awards wouldn’t let bodyguards sit next the artists they were guarding, which made him uncomfortable at the time. “I think that was by design ’cause 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 said.
From the sidelines, Williams noticed Eminem getting into something with a bunch of guys wearing red shirts, and Knight was affiliated with the Bloods. “So I come from where I was at—I had to come back around—I noticed Em’s face changing, he’s turning like tomato red. There’s a sea of red guys around him. 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, motherf—–, Death Row.'”
When he began questioning the men surrounding Eminem, Williams learned they were there thanks to Knight. Williams said they told him, “Man, Suge Knight sent us to strongarm him and it’s going down.”
Things reached such a fever pitch that Williams tried to get Eminem out of awards show altogether. “I had to snatch him up, I had to call Dre and his bodyguards and tell them what was going on because they was backstage,” he said, adding that he called their limo to come pick them up. “I said, ‘Look, I need you all to have that car around when I call y’all. But the way they had it set up, the limos can only stay seated for like 30 seconds at a time in front of the red carpet for security reasons. So long story short, we ended up going backstage, Eminem did his presentation and we had to watch out for guys backstage. So I pretty much had to have him stand behind me and I just had to be on knockout mode, man. So it was me, Dre, Dre’s bodyguards, we were in beast mode the whole time. So anybody that got anywhere close trying to get an autograph or trying to talk, trying to speak, they were gonna get laid out, man because that was the kind of atmosphere that was set up.”