It's one thing for Snoop Dogg to take potshots at his former Death Row label boss, Marion "Suge" Knight. At least Snoop has security guards and bulletproof cars.
But a man without the benefit of professional protection filed suit against the rapper in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday for including a voice message he left for Snoop on last year's Paid Tha Cost to Be Da Boss album.
A California man identified only as "John Doe" filed the civil suit, claiming that his life is in danger because of the message, which taunts Knight using the nickname "Simon." Snoop also uses "Simon" in the song to identify the founder of Death Row Records, now called Tha Row.
The message, left in October on Snoop's answering machine, appears at the end of "Pimp Slapp'd," a harsh series of disses aimed at Knight. Doe is heard saying, "This is Big Jim Bob. I just heard that little cut you put out the other day. I got much love for you, boy. Expose that big old, fake-ass n---a Simon. That n---a ain't never been from the streets."
The suit claims Doe notified Snoop and his label in January that the message was sampled without his permission and that when asked why he used it, Snoop answered, "[because] it was so real."
According to the suit — filed against Calvin Broadus (Snoop's real name), Priority, Capitol and Doggy Style Records — "Unfortunately, it is so real that the plaintiff now fears for his life and that of his elderly mother, because it appears that he, as a Compton resident — where a rival of Broadus', 'Suge' Knight, apparently has a lot of 'pull' and is feared — is supporting Broadus in the turf war. ... Mr. Knight is a burly, convicted felon and is rumored to be involved with gangs, to threaten, assault and hurt people."
Knight was released from prison in February after serving two months for parole violations (see "Suge Knight Released, Must Do Anti-Gang Community Service").
The suit claims misappropriation of voice and intentional infliction of emotional distress and asks for damages and injunctions against distribution of the album. A Capitol/Priority spokesperson had no comment on the suit. A spokesperson for Knight could not be reached.
At first the song identifies Knight only as "Simon", claiming, "I got the word on you, Simon/ You need to just start rhymin'/ 'Cause you the biggest star on your label/ And them other n---as just crumbs off my table/ You're not able to compete with the sh-- that I drop/ And I still ain't been paid for 187 on the cop." The last line is a reference to the song "187," which Snoop recorded with Dr. Dre while both were signed to Knight's label.
Snoop later calls him out by name, rapping, "Suge Knight's a bitch, and that's on my life" (see "Snoop Calls Suge Knight A Bitch On Upcoming Album").