Suge Knight

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Marion "Suge" (pronounced like "sug[ar]") Knight (born 1965, Compton, California) is an entrepreneur in the hip hop music industry and co-founder of Death Row Records with Dr. Dre. The record label rose to dominate the charts after Dr. Dre's breakthrough success The Chronic in 1992. After several years of outstanding chart success for artists including Snoop Doggy Dogg, Tupac Shakur, Tha Dogg Pound and at one time even MC Hammer, Death Row Records disintegrated after Knight's incarceration on parole violation charges in 1996. His father was a custodian and his mother was a schoolteacher.


Early life

Knight went to UNLV on a sports scholarship, and played football as a replacement player for the Oakland Raiders during the NFL strike of the early 1980's. He then retired from professional sports and decided to become a bodyguard for musicians like Bobby Brown, where according to him, he learned that the key to artistic and financial freedom is owning your masters.

Accusations of violence

A physically huge man, standing 6 feet and 2 inches (1.88 m) tall, and weighing 320 lb (145 kg), Knight has been accused of acts of violence including forcing business rivals to drink urine and having extensive ties to street gangs, specifically the Bloods. Rapper Vanilla Ice has accused Knight of dangling him out of a window of a high-rise building several stories up. Vanilla Ice claims that he was forced to agree to grant him a majority of Ice's own royalties from his signature hit "Ice Ice Baby", which a friend of Suge's claimed he had written. Even though Suge Knight had business relations with him, Vanilla Ice later denied the whole balcony story or has told a toned-down version.

Alleged involvement in murder

Knight has frequently been implicated in the murder of Death Row artist Tupac Shakur and his business rival The Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls. In 2002, British documentarian Nick Broomfield made a film called Biggie and Tupac, which explored the theory that Suge masterminded Tupac's killing because he was planning on leaving Death Row and wanted to retain his unreleased tapes and royalties, and that Biggie's murder was a cover-up to make Shakur's death look like part of an East Coast-West Coast conflict. Suge has vehemently denied this on several occasions, calling Tupac his "brother". Whilst in the film Broomfield never explicitly accuses Suge himself, when asked "Who killed Tupac?" in a BBC Radio interview dated March 7, 2005, Broomfield stated "The big guy next to him in the car...Suge Knight."

Further time in prison

In 2001, Suge Knight was released from prison and tried to to re-start his label by signing new artists such as Crooked I, Tha Realist, Eastwood, and, under the pseudonym "N.I.N.A.", the late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes of TLC, before her untimely death in a car accident in 2002. However, in December 2002 he was jailed again for allegedly violating his probation by associating with gang members. After his release, he was arrested and jailed yet again in 2003, allegedly for assaulting parking lot attendant Mehdi Lazrak, even though Lazrak was punched in the back of the head and was admittedly unable to identify the perpetrator.

Knight was released on April 23, 2004. Original artist Kurupt is now the label's headliner, and his new LP Against the Grain is currently on hiatus. After his release, Knight announced Death Row Records would join with other labels to produce a Christmas hip-hop album to benefit families of soldiers serving in Iraq.

Recent history

Suge is currently planning his autobiography "American Dream/American Nightmare" to be released this holiday season. He has hinted that he will describe his experiences as a bodyguard and rap impresario and relate stories about John F. Kennedy, Jr., Jennifer Lopez, and the "scoop" on Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, as well as his first public statement about the deaths of Tupac and Biggie. Suge has also planned a movie to tell the "real story" of Death Row. [1] (

In October 2004, Suge attended the VIBE Awards to support Petey Pablo, whom he manages, but was not formally invited. That night Dr. Dre was to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. With Suge in the audience, a man approached Dr. Dre shortly before being called up for the award and feigned interest in an autograph before punching him. In the resulting scuffle, G-Unit rapper Young Buck stabbed the man. Immediately, stories pointed fingers at Suge, who went on The Late Late Show and insisted he supports Dr. Dre.

On the evening of February 5, 2005, Knight was arrested in Barstow, California after police pulled him over for making an unsafe U-turn and found marijuana in his Ford pickup truck. He was booked on suspicion of violating his parole. Sheriff's officials detained Knight pending his transfer to state prison, where it will be decided whether Knight will be charged or released.[2] (

The New York Post broke a story in early February 2005, surrounding the mystery of the fight at the VIBE Awards, where Dr. Dre was punched by a "random" audience member pretending to want an autograph. The man, Jimmy James Johnson, faces life in prison due to the three strikes law in California, after Dre insisted he be charged. Johnson is now claiming that Suge paid him $5,000 to punch Dre in order to humiliate him before receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award from Quincy Jones and Snoop Dogg.


Throughout his career in the music business, Suge has been both entrepreneurial and charitable. He insisted on owning master recordings, for instance. He also oversaw non-musical businesses that had ties to the gangsta rap way of life, notably the custom auto-hydraulics shop Let Me Ride, named for Dr. Dre's Chronic ode to cruising. At the same time, Suge embarked on ambitious programs--some not realized--ranging from entertaining single mothers on Mother's Day to caring for soul singers left poor after their careers were Knight fr:Suge Knight


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