Suge Knight denies ties to accused cannibal rapper. He says he's being wrongly targeted in lawsuit filed by victim's mother

April 15, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Rap mogul Suge Knight says it’s unfair that he’s being bitten by a lawsuit filed around the alleged cannibalism of aspiring rapper Big Lurch. Knight denies the suit’s claim that his label gave drugs and encouragement to Big Lurch (real name: Antron Singleton) to incite him to commit violence that would make him more marketable as a gangsta rapper. In fact, he says, he has no connection at all to Singleton, who’s accused of killing his roommate and eating part of her lung.

”I don’t know this guy,” Knight told Reuters on Monday. ”Nobody from our company knows this guy. I never even heard the guy rap.” Knight, who recently changed his label’s name from Tha Row to Death Row’s Back, said Singleton may have boasted erroneously about having a record deal with him. ”A lot of people out there want to have a production deal [and] think that they have a production deal even if they don’t.” Knight also said he had not heard of Stress Free Records, a label cited as a defendant in the suit as a supposed division of Death Row.

The lawsuit was filed against Singleton, Death Row, Stress Free, and two employees on Friday in Los Angeles by Carolyn Stinson, mother of murder victim Tynisha Ysais. Singleton, who police say had human blood and flesh in his stomach at the time of his arrest on the day of the murder last April, is awaiting criminal trial on charges of murder and torture. The suit alleges that Death Row plied him with drugs ”to encourage [him] to act out in an extreme violent manner so as to make him more marketable as a ‘Gangsta Rap’ artist.”

Responding to Knight’s denial, Winston McKesson, Stinson’s lawyer, admitted that the filing might have been based on a faulty assumption of a connection between Big Lurch and Death Row. ”We’re continuing to investigate,” McKesson told Reuters. ”If it turns out that Death Row is right, that there is no connection, we will drop them [from the lawsuit] immediately.”

That might not be enough for Knight, who hinted that Stinson and McKesson might face legal action themselves. ”They’re just looking to get paid,” he told Reuters. ”It’s not only just slander. It’s fraud.”

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