Gangsta rap has been influenced by many artists since it came to prominence in the 90s. However, some say this arena of the Hip Hop world would be nothing if it was not for one man, Marion ‘Suge’ Knight. And, we have some interesting facts that may change the way you look at the music mogul.
Who Is Marion Suge Knight?
Co-founder of Death Row Records, Suge Knight helped propel the careers of some of the best rappers to ever hold a mic, rappers like:
- MC Hammer
- Tupac Shakur
- Dr. Dre
- Snoop Dogg
- Tha Dogg Pound
Knight was known for his tough Compton gangsta persona. He was often seen wearing red suits with a cigar in his hand. In fact, in the documentary, Who Killed Tupac?, Daz Dillinger of Tha Dogg Pound referred to Suge as the:
“Devil in a red suit.”
However, the former record label owner is now in a dire situation.
At age 52, he is currently in the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail, suffering from poor health.
Housed under booking number 4223042, he is currently awaiting trail in which he is accused of running over two men in 2015 in Tam’s parking lot in Compton, California. His bail is a whopping $11,500,000.
5 Facts That May Change Your Mind About Suge Knight
Before the trial of Knight begins, here is five things you need to know about the Devil in a Red Suit:
1. Suge Knight: Football Success
Nicknamed Sugar Bear, which was later shortened to Suge, Knight had talent for football. Standing at 6’2″, he played defense for the University of Nevada and was actually voted Rookie of The Year.
Then in 1987, during the NFL strike, he was called up by the Los Angeles Rams as a replacement defensive end for two games.
2. Suge Knight: Bodyguard Days
After his football days, Knight began working as a professional bodyguard. One of his clients was Bobby Brown, one of the members of New Edition.
Working as a bodyguard helped Suge acquire connections within the music industry. This would someday prove to be very lucrative for the Compton-raised ex-football player.
3. Suge Knight: Vanilla Ice
By the late 80s, Suge Knight had already started his own publishing company with moderate success. His first high profit deal came when Robert Winkler AKA Vanilla Ice signed over the royalties to Ice Ice Baby to Knight’s client Mario Johnson.
To secure that deal, Vanilla Ice said that Suge had him look over a balcony edge and see how high they were, implying he could end his life if he refused the “deal”:
” I needed to wear a diaper that day.”
Suge Knight denies the claims to this day.
4. Suge Knight: Death Row Records
Suge Knight went on to be co-founder, along with Dr. Dre, of the notorious gansta rap music label known as Death Row Records.
Dr. Dre released his The Chronic album in 1992, considered by many to be one of the greatest Hip Hop albums of all time.
Afterwards came Snoop Dogg’s debut album in 1993 and then the Above The Rim album 1994. All of this established Death Row as one of the most influential Hip Hop labels of the 90s.
In 1996, Tupac Shakur released his legendary All Eyez On Me album, cementing Death Row Records and Suge Knight’s legacy in stone for life.
You might think that Suge Knight was just behind the scenes of everything at Death Row Records. But that’s far from the truth. Although Knight is not a rapper, he became a part of the West Coast vs East Coast rivalry by publicly dissing Notorious BIG and P Diddy.
On September 7, 1996, when Tupac was shot and killed, Suge Knight was in that same car with him. In fact, he was the driver as they rolled down that Las Vegas street.
That night was the beginning of the end of Death Row Records.
5. Suge Knight: Locked Up Again
Suge was arrested as an adult in October 1987 in Las Vegas, Nevada for:
- Auto theft
- Carrying a concealed weapon
- Attempted murder
The Compton gangsta went on to be arrested for new crimes and probation and parole violation numerous times over the next decade. Then from 1996 to 2001, Suge Knight was incarcerated due to violating parole on the night Tupac was killed.
This was related to the infamous beating he, Tupac and their entourage gave Compton South Side Crip Orlando Anderson in the lobby of a Las Vegas casino right before the fatal shooting occurred.
Once released he attempted to revive Death Row Records, renaming it Tha Row. However, he went to prison in 2004 for violating parole again. Death Row filed for bankruptcy protection in 2006. It was then sold in 2008.
Suge’s Current Situation
In 2015, Suge Knight was arrested once again. This time he was accused of running over two men with his vehicle in a Compton, California burger joint parking lot known as Tam’s.
Terry Carter, co-founder of Heavyweight Records, was killed in the hit-and-run incident.
Authorities believe the motive behind this fatal hit and run is due to an argument between Suge and Dr. Dre related to the way he was going to be portrayed in the critically acclaimed film Straight Outta Compton.
Suge could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.