Jerry Heller
You Don’t Know Me

So who would you cast to play yourself?
Myself? You know, when we talk about the movie business, it’s a business of financing. So the people who are putting up the money sort of tell you who’s acceptable to them by what they mean in foreign markets. They wanted Bruce Willis. There were discussions with Bruce Willis or his agents. I sort of felt that I would like someone more like Tim Robbins or Sean Penn, somebody who had a little different kind of edge and maybe was a little more Jewish.

In Dre and Snoop’s video for “Dre Day,” the character that was supposed to be based on you was played by Steve Berman, an executive from Interscope. How did you feel about that casting choice?
How embarrassing for me to be portrayed by Steve Berman? It’s funny. The guy is 2 foot 4, I’m sure he didn’t want to do it. I’m sure he got coerced into that. I’m sure they made him feel like he would be a pussy if he didn’t do it. So, I don’t have real good feelings toward Steve Berman for playing that, but then I accept that for what it is. I’m sure that wasn’t his first choice. They didn’t say, “Oh, we’ll give you $100,000 and a piece of the gross.” I’m sure they said, “You gotta do this.” I wouldn’t go up and spit on him because he did it. I might give him some shit about it.

I read that you were talking with Eazy’s son about him maybe trying to put out an album of unreleased tracks with his father. Is there any truth to that?
No. I talked to him, but not about that. I don’t have any unreleased tracks.

That’s interesting. Do you think there will every be a posthumous Eazy album?
I have to tell you this: I have no comment on anything that has to do with Ruthless after 1999, when I worked out my disagreement with them. I have no part of what goes on over there, I’m not in the mix, the loop or anything else, and I don’t know what they have planned. I hope they have something big planned for Eazy, but I have no way of knowing, I don’t speak to any of those people. I’d go out and buy it though, just to support it.

If you were Black rather than White, do you feel like Cube and Dre would’ve felt that need to break away from you as strongly? Obviously there are lots of racial overtones to the whole situation.
Well, I think that it’s traditional way to get out of your contract. The White guy fucked us; he stole our money or whatever. Obviously it’s not true, because it would seem to me if we did what they said we did, they would’ve sued us or somebody would’ve sued us. It goes back to the days when the old gangsters in the music business had Jackie Wilson and Little Richard and Bo Diddley and they took their publishing. All those kinds of stories that we’ve all heard.

How did the African-American community react to your involvement in N.W.A.’s success?
I think that when I got started, all the important African-Americans like Clarence Avant and Jesse Jackson said, “Oh, wow, you’re doing this great thing,” because they just thought I was out of my mind, to be involved with a group called N.W.A. But then when we started to make money at Ruthless, it seems like everybody wanted to be on the bandwagon. Like, I ran into Clarence Avant one day at Neiman-Marcus. I said, “Hey, Clarence, how you doing?” He says, “I’m fine, how’re you doing, Jerry?,” because I’d known him for a long time, when I used to work at Associated Booking. I said, “Great.” He said, “I know you’re doing great, you’ve made a lot of money off of my people.” So right then and there, I knew that the days of Jerry Heller being a good guy were coming to a rapid close and now that gangsta rap was going to be big business, everybody wanted to be on the bandwagon. I’m not saying Clarence did, I think he could give a fuck less. But I think that he was making a third person observation. I think he had no aspirations to be involved with gangsta rap, he was the Chairman of the Board at Motown at the time. But I think he made an astute observation, and after that, people like Don King and everybody else just came after Jerry Heller.

In the book, you talk about your last ditch effort to get Dre involved in a new Ruthless deal with Warner, just before he left to start Death Row with Suge. Why didn’t that ever happen?
I had talked to Eazy many times about making Dre a partner. It just wasn’t in the cards with Eazy’s mindset. Eazy’s mindset was that he started the company, and that’s the way it was gonna be. Doug Young [former promotions executive for Ruthless] said to me, “You can’t just let this guy just slip away like this.” We had a lot of records that we wanted to put out and we were getting to the point where our distributors really couldn’t accommodate the plans we had for the future. I had lunch with [Giant Records founder] Irving Azoff and we worked out a deal for, I think, $20 million, of which Dre was going to get $12 million upfront.

Now, Eazy and I were going to own no part of that company and we were going to commission 20 percent of the company, of which Eazy and I were going to split at 10 percent apiece, and Dre was going to own his own company called “Def Row.” I was going to file papers and everything for him, but a guy named the Unknown DJ owned that name. Irving kept saying, “Yeah we’re gonna do it,” but by then, not only did the “Cop Killer” [controversy] happen at Warner Bros, but that whole upheaval of [the company]. All of those things seemed to be coming down at once, and Irving told me [former Warner President] Mo Ostin refused to fund the deal. It sort of fell by the wayside at a very inopportune time, because now it’s the end of ’91, and it just gave our detractors more ammunition to entice Dre away.

How do you think things may have played out differently if Warner had done that deal with Ruthless and Def Row?

Certainly that would have undermined whatever efforts Suge had to circumvent us. Dre would’ve continued to produce Eazy and N.W.A, remained a member of N.W.A and still had his own company and do his own solo stuff on. I think it probably would’ve worked out at least for a couple more N.W.A albums, which was very important to Eazy.

In the late ’90s, there was a lot of talk about an N.W.A. reunion without Eazy. How did you feel about that?
I didn’t care. Eazy’s dead, and there’s no N.W.A without Eazy. So it meant nothing to me. They can go play their little games.

Why did you wait until now to write this book?
I don’t like to get involved with things unless I think they’re going to be important. And I’m so used to seeing books on the back table in the music section about the music business that I wasn’t interested in writing one of those kind of books.

What made you think this could be different?
One day I walked into Barnes & Noble and I saw this book on the front table called Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, which is Jeffrey Chang’s book. Not only was it a really good book, but it was significant to me that it was on the front table. He was doing a book signing in L.A. that night and went out and sort of caught up with him there and it was just packed, this little eclectic bookstore. It was just packed. I said to him, “Look, I think that your book is probably the best book I’ve read on the music business, but as usual, you East Coast guys trivialize the contribution of West Coast rap.” And I’m 65 years old. I’ve got gray hair, I don’t look like a kid. So for me to be talking about rap, usually is off-putting to most people. So he said, “I don’t know, I had nine chapters [on West Coast rap],” or whatever it was. I said, “Yeah, but that’s bullshit.” And then I asked him a couple more questions and he said, “By the way, I’m from San Francisco, not New York.” I asked him a couple more questions, and then someone said to him, “I think that’s Jerry Heller.” And then the word sort of got around in this book thing and it wound up that he stopped the thing and signed my book, “To the guy that’s been instrumental in all the important music in my life,” or something like that. And we’ve gotten to be very close. I teach at UCLA and he came and spoke in my class.

So even though people have been telling me that I should write a book for years, because I have such great stories, all of the sudden I said, “Well, maybe the time is right now.” And it’s been like, 11 years since Eazy died. Nothing has really happened to establish him as the important force I feel he’s been in the music business.

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  • Bol

    Stephen “Flounder” Furst.

  • myspace/3ndles3records

    Dat’s the shit right there. Lauren would be the perfect actor.

  • myspace/3ndles3records

    oh yeah..2nd bithces.

  • dronkmunk

    “The Game or Ving Rhames or Michael Clarke Duncan to play Suge.”

    No I don’t think so. Each one of those people looks less like Suge than the last

  • yo

    jesus this should be simple. hire uncle phil


    He robbed the Black Man!!!

  • Technique

    They should tell Common to get buffed up

    and dress him in red clothes and there

    ya go, a Suge Knight.

  • e

    They should tell Common to get buffed up

    and dress him in red clothes and there

    LOL @ Common bulking up too bad Common only eats tofu

  • Trae Bizzo

    Did he ever answer the question about him and eazy taking a bigger cut than the rest of the guys and the deals behind cube and dre’s back.

  • jon-jon 23

    Even though I think Jerry Heller’s a crook (along with all the other managers and record company personnel) I would love to see a movie made about Ruthless Records. That was real rap shit. He hit dead on with the actors– Ving Rhames would be the only well-known actor that could play Suge, Larenz Tate would make a perfect Eazy (see O Dog Boyz in the Hood toned down a bit), Terrence Howard could pull off Dr. Dre. (get it)…That leaves Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella.

  • Sushi K

    Er… Ice Cube could play Ice Cube?


  • Killa

    Gayme as suge Knight muahahahaha, thats the most rediculous shit LOL

    Gayme is the exact opposite of Suge



    yo, its dangarous in da musik biz

  • Lex

    FUCK JERRY HELLER the lyin’as son of a biatch. He’s only after the money. you are too old 4 this shit man, go and have a hart-attack or sumthin’…

  • lil eazy

    jerry shoulda let me play my dad!

  • H-MAN

    I think tha Game should play dead

  • jon-jon 23

    It is ridiculous to think the Game could play Suge Knight. He doesn’t have that same larger than life sinister presence.

  • Clyde Barker

    though he might sound genuine, i still think theres something fishy about jerry’s side of the story. I think Cube and Dre are more believable

    Then again im black so im naturally biased

    i think ving rhames or game would be aight..they got that “dark” acting persona


    what a snake he sould sit his old

    ass down some whare talking about

    gangstar rap he can he can give a fuck

    fuck him

  • OG Frank

    This Guy is a bitch ass

  • Dermeezy

    I have one question, what is the difference between Jerry Heller, and Suge Knight? They both were out for themselves, and they were willing to steal from their own artists. Jerry Heller did help gangsta rap get to the main stream. Even with all the bad shit he did he was still responsible for getting people like Cube, Easy, Dre, etc… out in to the main stream. Without Heller, their might not be the west coast rap scene like their is today.

  • Indigo Kid

    He seems like a weasel fucker who’s just trying to make himself look like the good guy in the story. Ice Cube was right, don’t believe this rat.

  • LLLim

    i cant honestly believe cube went 2 a upper class jewish high school,sounds like a description of jerry.


    go vote nov 7 if you want a change vote dem if you want the same vote rep but go vote this is ptobaly one of the most important vote of you life




    H-MAN Says:

    October 19th, 2006 at 9:14 pm
    I think tha Game should play dead



  • Trae Bizzo

    This guy is good, he want’s to set the record straight by dissin ice cube first and then telin his made up story. And didn’t cube go to College in Arizona before he moved out west.Old ass still lyin.


    This book is tyte as hell.

  • rap-artis

    Hey, wat about 50 Cent starring as Suge?
    Ha Ha Ha……

  • aftermath

    i would laugh my ass off if the game played suge haha im defiantly getting the book and ima see tha movie Dr. Dre Nas and Eminem best lyricsiscts alive
    R.I.P. Eazy E

  • pat

    lol at game chiling at starbucks for hours

  • Detroit City Playa

    i bet game drinks a latte with soy, he’s so weak

  • dat cracka dan

    1st off, this guy’s bullshit… i’d still read the book though…
    and yeah ice cube went to college to study architecture or something… so what??? he just wanted something good for himself…

    2nd, the whole movie idea is fuckin’ great… and as someone said above, casting suge knight is easy… uncle phil… he’s the spitting image and we all know from the fresh prince that this guy can be VERY imposing onscreen… i can imagine him hanging vanilla ice off a balcony… and fuck it, cast jim carey as vanilla ice… loool…… did anyone see that “in living” color performance?….

    it is well known by now that music biz executives are crooks… and u ain’t no different jerry…


    you people are not on par go vote

  • SouthSider

    I hope Bone Thugs could play apart in the movie, maybe like at the end cause Eazy died just when Bone was about to blow up even more with there East 1999 Eternal album.

  • http://XXL MOOKIE

    It’Z TYME 2 remove all U wack azz NIGGAZ frum Tha shelf 4 ReeL!!!!


    UCLA eh? Kinda makes me wanna go to college

  • Trae Bizzo

    dat cracka dan Says:

    “and yeah ice cube went to college to study architecture or something… so what??? he just wanted something good for himself”

    I got a co sign on that one Jerry Springer Heller is a lier, and an old one at that. He is trying to make a comeback in the business by useing them again. These behind the scene snakes are not to be trusted.


    he needs to get RICKY RO$$ to play SUGE!


    Say what you want about Heller. But he has a way of bringing the importance and the legacy of EAZY-E’s life to light.

    His wife is on myspace, ya’ll are gonna feel stupid sayin all that shit cuz she is cool as hell!

  • trae bizzo

    What about the other four members? they where holograms huh, didn’t exist? they all brought something to the table thats why they called it a group. And your right i just go off of my space and i am ashamed of my self. SHINE ON i think you should shut your sesame street soundin ass the f**k up.

  • Layz-E MC

    This man waited for so long to write his book coz he never felt it was the right time? If someone has to speak on some shit that happened back in the day then it’s only coz they got no paper and the bills aint getting paid. The way he’s bitching about Dre and Ice etc. is pathetic, they’re all passed that, he’s just pissed off because his money came from NWA’s efforts and Easy’s efforts and NOT his own. Any jackass can manage accounts, you don’t need an upper class white dude.



  • SEAN P


  • trae bizzo

    Nobody responded to him but us.
    sounds desperate tho on his part.

  • Hussein Mad aSS

    True. Uncle Phil is the only one good for that part. The best to be honest just with a tan and beard die. I don’t think it has anything to do with lokkking like Suge Knight anyway. I think he’s trying to money-bait The Game or something. I can’t see the claim that he’s lying. To make his claims you have to know what you are claiming or it’s a civil case and lawsuit. That” why interviewee say a ‘certain someone’ or ‘known few’ instead of names. Shit This guy FINACED and made Ruthless so he’s more familiar with them than perhaps some of their kin. But I do believe The Game is looked at for a snare. Perhaps to get back at Dre for leaving Ruthless which was technically Jerry’s Label. Look at the signs folks both black and white Suge as the part as well????

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  • Papi

    well about those guys that were sayin jerry heller and eazy e had sex i think thats direspect to eazy and i agree wit everyone about dat stupid old ass white talkin half pipe dick suckin bitch jerry heller cuz he is a snake he shouldnt own ruthless cube and/or dre should own ruthless to put it back on the map hes jus gettin money and credit off eazy to look good to like he was eazys partner wen he was really gettin in between NWA and fuckin up everything and fuck suge knight 2 him and jerry heller r alike backstabbin dey homies like suge killin tupac and jerry heller gettin in between NWA and dat movie hes talkin about there should be a sex scene wit him and suge havin sex cuz dey got a lot in common
    R.I.P EAZY E

  • Shorty G

    He’s a white man that made a whole lot of money off some black kids. Now the money has ran out and he just trying to make some more. Don’t by that shit.

  • Solja

    the game as suge no fucin way the only thing thay have in common r thay r both slobs but other wise i will watch the movie

  • JonnyE

    Pinky from Friday should play Eazy haha


    Man fuck Jerry!!! He played the fuck outta Easy. How in the hell you have one of the tightest producers in the game and you don’t pay him? N.W.A.’s last cd dropped at #1. The album ever to debut at #1 w/o a video or radio play. And this greedy as Jewish bitch made motherfucker fucked it up. On the real it is Easy’s fault for letting that motherfucker pimp him.
    “I never had dinner with the president punk and when I see your ass again I’ll be hesitant. Now I think your a snitch Throw a house nigga in the ditch you half pint bitch. lil maggot, easy e turned faggot, with your manager fella fucking mc ren dr. dre and yella, but if they were as smart as me easy e would be hanging from a tree, with a match and a lil bit of gasoline flame on till that jerry curl is gone. Can’t be the niggas for life crew with a white jew telling you what to do, heard you both got the same bank account dunmb nigga what you thinking about

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