Suge Knight. The name alone sends shivers down my spine. Suge Knight is 6 feet, 4 inches, and 315 pounds. Believe me, this guy is is frightening. He scares me...
Born as Marion Knight, Jr. on April 19, 1966, in Los Angeles, California, Knight is professionally known as “Suge,” which is short for “Sugar Bear,” a nickname given to him by his father. His father, Marion, was a truck driver from Mississippi, a college football player, and R&B singer. His mother was Maxine Knight. Suge married Sherita, who was a rap manager, and had one daughter. He attended University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He became CEO of Death Row records and ran a night spot in Las Vegas known as Club 662.
Raised in Compton with his two older sisters in a two-bedroom house, Suge’s passion for music and sports were inspired by his father. In high school, Knight devoted most of his energy to playing football and securing an athletic scholarship to college, and dreamt of joining the NFL. Knight made the dean’s list at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, and in 1985, he won the Rookie of the Year award there. After his college career, Knight went to Japan with the Los Angeles Rams for an exhibition game. It became clear that Knight would not have a huge career in the NFL, so he quit football in favor of concert promotion.
In 1987, Knight was arrested for auto theft, carrying a concealed weapon, and attempted murder. After pleading no contest, Knight was placed on probation. He was arrested again in 1990 for battery with a deadly weapon, but these charges were dismissed.
Knight, after working as a bodyguard and on the concert circuit for a while, decided to form a publishing company in 1989. Within a year, Knight had made a significant amount of money from ownership rights to several songs on Vanilla Ice’s debut album. Knight then went on to represent turntable maestro DJ Quik and the D.O.C. Through these two musicians, Knight met Dr. Dre, who was, at that time, a member of N.W.A. (Niggers With Attitude).
N.W.A. was signed to Ruthless Records, and several artists on that record label were short on cash. Knight, through “persuasion,” was able to secure releases for Dr. Dre and two other Ruthless musicians. Eric “Eazy-E” Wright, also a member of N.W.A., and president of Ruthless Records, claimed in court that he was forced to sign the release contracts after Knight and two henchmen had threatened him with pipes and baseball bats.
In 1991, Knight and Dr. Dre founded Death Row Records, whose logo features a man strapped to an electric chair, and his face is hidden by a sack covering his head. For about a year, the duo searched for a major label who would distribute their products, and eventually found Interscope Records. In 1993, they grossed more than 60 million dollars, after releasing Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, and Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggy Style. Then, the following year, the label released the motion picture soundtrack for the movie Above the Rim.
Knight convinced Mary J. Blige, Jodeci, and DeVante Swing of MCA-owned Uptown Records to sign deals with him. Knight also signed Tupac Shakur (or 2Pac) after posting $1.4 million bail to get him out of prison in October of 1995.
In 1995, Time Warner signed Knight to a long-term contract through Interscope Records. This deal was dissolved later on that year when Time Warner yielded to political pressure over the issue of reducing the prevalence of violence, misogyny, and pornographic entertainment. Much of this was due to the release of the controversial release of Dogg Food by Tha Dogg Pound.
Knight had been placed on state probation since 1995, when he entered no-contest please to two counts of assault after the 1992 attack on two rappers. Also in 1995, Knight pleaded guilty to federal charges of attempting to commit a drug-related offense and conspiracy. This incident had sentenced him to a month in jail and three years supervised release.
After the Tyson fight in Las Vegas in September 1996, Knight was sentenced to nine years in prison. He had violated probation on assault charges from a fight at a Las Vegas hotel. Hours after the fight, Tupac was killed in a drive-by shooting while riding in Knight’s car. On August of 2001, Knight was released after serving five years of his nine year sentence.
Now back from jail, Knight has changed the name of his label from Death Row to Tha Row. Knight is back to doing what he does best, and has several projects in production.
There are many theories circling around suggesting that Knight had something to do with the murder of rapper 2Pac, but Knight claims that he had nothing to do with it, and him and 2Pac were great friends at the time.
Information gathered from www.africanpubs.com and www.mtv.com