On October 25th the former first lady of Death Row Records Jewell Caples will release her memoir, My Blood, My Sweat and My Tears. The book is a tell all account of her time at the infamous record label headed by Suge Knight which released classic Hip-Hop records by Snoop Dogg, Tupac and Dr. Dre.
The controversial book makes claims about legendary producer Dr. Dre’s sexuality, fuelling claims of his homosexuality and documents the singer’s time with rap idol Tupac who was killed in 1996. The memoir will also be released with an accompanying soundtrack album, which will see the mother of two unleash a disc of new material.
TelaTela wanted to ask her about some of the latest Death Row revelations regarding Suge Knight and his new documentary, Tupac and Biggie’s death and the large amount of Dr. Dre fans not happy with the 49-year-old star…
I woke up to news this morning of the release of a 15-year-old Tupac sex tape, what do you think about that?
I haven’t seen it but if I see it, I will give you my views once I watch it…(laughs)
Most people are thinking why is that kind of material is resurfacing now, after all these years…
Wait, did you say sex tape or cassette tape?
So you haven’t seen the tape yet?
No, I haven’t seen it…have you?
No…what do you think about that kind of revelation coming out nowadays about a rapper that has been dead for over a decade?
Well I don’t know if it was something that he had professionally done. It was something that he did that got into the wrong hands. We all have our little skeletons and secrets in the closet…I just hope mine never come out! Hey hey…
…If it does…with this kind of material you read it, you watch it and you move on. It doesn’t take away from Tupac being one of the greatest rappers of all time, it’s not gonna take away from his productive abilities or his lyrical finesse but I would like to see it…maybe he had a cold doggy style back then – I don’t know! (Laughs)
How do you feel about the LAPD detective Greg Kading stating in his new book Murder Rap, that he feels Suge Knight and P. Diddy are responsible for the deaths of Tupac and Biggie…
Well honestly I think, and I am not saying this lightly… We all played a collective role in their deaths, I mean like their camps and everyone who was round the rappers at the time because that was some nonsense that could have been stopped. It was all over colors, beef and territory.
I wouldn’t just finger Suge Knight out and say that he is responsible – he didn’t pull the trigger and I'm definitely not going to get in the same car as somebody I supposedly set up – I will say that much on it, I can’t say too much because a lot of it is in the book. But Suge did love Pac like a son and unfortunately when you have a situation like that, the kids grow up and you have to allow them to leave.
Regarding his relationship with Suge, what makes you compare Tupac to a kid growing up?
Pac was a free spirit, and like me there were two sides to him; a serious side where you want to attack and handle business and execute a vision or a plan and a lighter side, other people don’t understand that because they don’t think like us. Then we have the loyalty thing, we take loyalty very seriously and that something that a lot of people in LA don’t exercise.
Pac got himself into a situation where Interscope left him for dead, and then came over to us at Death Row which a great decision for him because he was around people that were as talented as him. There was a lot of beef when he arrived between the Bloods and the Crips, Suge had already had issues with Puffy and all of that got stirred in with the music and when you mix the streets with music you reap nothing but havoc.
If Pac just came and said OK ‘My sense of loyalty only extends through the music’ and let everything else that was territorial go, along with Los Angeles, I can’t say that he would be alive today but he would have lived a little bit longer. It’s the same with Biggie – you have these huge issues that are controlling very powerful people in the music industry and not once did someone big like…Russell Simmons say ‘let me bring these people into a private session and hash everything out’ preserving what both sides – East Coast and West Coast – have built and try to end the beef - until it was too late.
What was your relationship like with Suge Knight then and how is it now?
Back then he used to say I was his sister; it was a blessing for me to be introduced to people that way. He also kept me sheltered, back then I thought that was a good thing because I was not burnt out like some of the other acts on the rota but when Death Row broke up that’s when that really began to affect me as an artist because the powerful players wouldn’t give me a deal because I was ‘Suge’s Sister’ so they wouldn’t f**k with me.
Of course, Death Row never paid me the money that I was supposed to get in order to keep up my livelihood and take care of my kids so it was a bitter situation for me and I was very angry and hurt.
I felt like if Dr. Dre went to Interscope, he should have taken all of us with him because Suge Knight was not in the picture anymore and Death Row was over and so the drama's gone but he didn’t do that – so I left California, I was like ‘I am outta here, because I’m gonna hurt somebody.’ (Laughs)
At that particular time of my life I hated everyone and everything around me, so I had to go back to my church roots, get on my knees, ask God to help me and release that pain and when I did I said ‘I can’t blame Suge for everything, I have to take some of the responsibly for myself’ and I let it go – I released it. That’s how I was able to write my book and do the soundtrack for the book that chronicles some of the pain that I went through and become vice-president of my brother Big Russ’ label. Things began to get better for me when I let it all go…
Has Dr. Dre contacted you about the claims you make regarding his sexuality in the book?
No, he hasn’t contacted me. You heard him say at the end of the record that I’m a “crazy little motherf**ker” so do you think he is gonna try and contact a crazy little motherf**ker?
(Laughs) I know what really went down, so I respect his position. A lot of people who know me, that really, really know me - know that I have never done anything purposely to hurt anyone else. Dr. Dre knows me and so he hasn’t contacted me, there is nothing malicious behind it…but I am sure I will be hated (laughs)
What do you think of all the Dre fans coming at you, saying you’re this and that online – do you think that they can’t handle the truth?
I think for the most part no matter what you do in life, that you’re gonna have congratulators and you’re gonna have haters. I love both because they both let me know that I am doing the job that I supposed to do. People love Dre, I love Dre – if I say anything about him it’s not going to discredit him as a producer, or as an intellectual and talented…Doctor because that’s what he does – he operates on music. I do believe that people’s personal business is their personal business but when it involves me or is around me and when I’m coming clean with describing some of the situations that happened back in the day then that’s something Dre is going to have to deal with.
There has been much talk lately with certain rappers commenting about down-low homosexuality in Hip-Hop – what are your thoughts on that?
I think people are having a lot of fun behind closed doors, that’s not something I would do because I wasn’t raised like that…I was raised in a church. Have I ever been in a situation where a girl tried to kiss me in my mouth? Sure, you’ve got some crazy people in the music industry! (laughs) I was strong enough to say that is just not for me. I know a lot of people in the industry who do cocaine – but I don’t do that. We are all grown and what you do in your personal business is your personal business but unfortunately if you’re in the limelight whether you like it or not you’re considered public – so just make sure that if you’re doing something that you can stand up and take ownership of what you do.
Do you feel Dre is not doing that?
I gotta plead the fifth until you read the book (laughs) you’re not gonna get me on that one…(laughs)
What are your thoughts on the recent Suge Knight documentary?
People are always asking me, ‘Do you think he will talk about you?’ I don’t see him doing a documentary and not talking about me because I was a lot to deal with back then because I was unhappy. If somebody is taking my money I am not just going to sit still and be quiet. I can’t talk about the other artists and them not standing up for themselves but if you look at him, he is a big guy but I never was intimidated by him or afraid to speak up. So he always used to say that I am crazy – why? Because I have to go into the office and demand my monthly cheque to pay my bills so I don’t get evicted with my child? But you’re sending a Rolls Royce and a hundred dozen roses to Halle Berry because you like her? I don’t think that is fair.
But he can say whatever he wants to say, he is the reason that Death Row broke up. He is the reason that his artists have been overworked and underpaid. He is the reason he is in the position he is in today because he did not take care of his business and did not take care of his artists.
Do I think Suge got fu**ed in any way? Yes, Jimmy Irvine got a lot of money off of Death Row records, somebody should have cared enough about him to sit him down and say ‘This is getting out of hand and you’re going to ruin everything that you created’ but they didn’t because they don’t care about Suge Knight as a person. I respect him as a man but I don’t like what he did to me and the other artists.
What do you think power does to men like Suge Knight?
Sometimes when you’re so overwhelmed and you have so many people coming at you from so many different angles you get a little confused in with the decisions that would be best appropriate for the situation. You’re only has good as the people are around you, so if no one around you tries to say ‘that is not a good route to go, this is gonna be your results’ you keep moving at a fast pace and eventually just destroy yourself.
Suge began to only hang around people that would see him as a God and ‘the man’ so you’re on a crash course…people with real power don’t have to demonstrate it, we use it.
P. Diddy went on to deny all of the detectives claims, what do you think about Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs, Bad Boy Entertainment and his alleged involvement in Tupac’s death?
Well there was a situation to where Suge Knight and Puffy had began to beef, and everybody knows it. Suge represented the Bloods side of the gang activity and so when Puffy came to LA he got involved with some respected Crips and got them to go with him to some places and hang out with him giving him a sense of being protected by another entity.
I think Puffy just went about that the wrong way and these particular people might have made him seem like a prospect or whatever but he didn’t have anything to do with it.
You don’t believe Puffy was involved with the death of Tupac?
No, no I met Puffy through LaChelle Sanders who is Suge’s first cousin. We hung out with him in New York, people don’t know that in the beginning Suge and Puffy were friends and they were cool. I hung out with Puffy, I know what he is about, he has good character as a man, and shooting Tupac is just not something he would do.
One thing about Puffy is that he is a businessman, and he wouldn’t let anything ruin his business. I know it was a major loss for him to lose Biggie but he respected Pac. A lot of the beef has been puffed up but it wasn’t like that, the media played a major role in keeping that beef going – if you see it on TV it has to be true right? The kids need to know that you don’t have to die for music.
Well why did Kading, the detective, come forward? What do you think is his intention?
I think they are following leads…the real people that know what happened in that situation are not talking and they think that if they reveal something in a certain way the truth will come out. These are the strategies that the LAPD and other detectives have to pull in order to try and get some information. I don’t think that they are gonna get it that way…these people in the streets won’t talk to the police because they don’t trust the police…but good luck to him.
Do you think for that reason the real truth about these murders will never come out?
I wouldn’t say never ever…I would say get the book (laughs)