The following is taken from Interviewmagazine:
EHRLICH: In the early ’90s, the infamous rap industry tough-guy Suge Knight allegedly paid you several visits, to intimidate you into signing over some of your songs to him. What do you remember about those encounters? Did you feel physically threatened? I believe the story was that at one point he took you out on a balcony implying that he might throw you over the ledge.
VAN WINKLE: Yeah, well, first of all, that’s a lie. I read the story, and I heard it, and I had to defend it nine million times, but he never took me to the balcony, threatened to hang me over, or anything. In fact, the guy didn’t have to be mean or anything, I got it. Rap music is gangster, it’s been gangster from the beginning. Um, I did go to a balcony, so there is a little bit of truth to it. Um, yes, Suge Knight took some money from me, and he did take me to the balcony, explained it to me. He was actually nice to me. It’s completely different than the story that’s been posted out there in the media. I look at it like I’ve invested in some of the greatest hip-hop music in the world. I mean, from the money that Suge got from To the Extreme from me, he started Dr. Dre. The Chronic record came from the funding from my record; Tupac came from the funding of my record; Snoop Dogg came from the funding from my record. It produced some great, historical hip-hop music and legends out there. So I gave back to my community that made me. I look at it like it’s a positive. I can’t go back and change that. And, to be honest with you, I’ve made great investments, so it ain’t like I needed that money. People look at it like, God, they think I’m so bitter about it—I never went to the police, I never did anything like that. I knew better.
EHRLICH: But when you say that was an investment, you didn’t get returns on the Tupac and Snoop records. In other words, you gave him money, so indirectly, you helped fund those albums, right?
VAN WINKLE: Indirectly, exactly. Indirectly I helped fund some of the greatest hip-hop music without a return on my money, but I didn’t care. Look, it was a price that I had to pay, and it’s funny how this story has evolved and been polished up and changed around to make him a monster and everything—hell, I’m still friends with Suge Knight. I never was bitter about it. But the way the story goes is that, like, he’s hangin’ me over some balcony and my change isfallin’ out of my pocket—you know, come on.
Read the whole interview here, it’s dope, and enlightening.