Marion Hugh “Suge” Knight Jr. is a former American music executive and co-founder of Death Row Records. He was born on April 19, 1965, in Compton, California. Knight played a significant role in shaping the West Coast hip-hop scene during the 1990s but is also known for his involvement in various legal issues and controversies.
In 1991, Suge Knight, along with Dr. Dre, co-founded Death Row Records, which became one of the most successful and influential record labels of the time. Death Row Records played a pivotal role in popularizing gangsta rap and was home to notable artists such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur, and Tha Dogg Pound. Knight’s reputation for his imposing physical presence and alleged involvement in street activities helped establish Death Row Records‘ image as a label associated with gangsterism and controversy. However, his management style and business practices were also frequently criticized for being aggressive and at times violent.
In 1996, Knight was involved in a highly publicized altercation in Las Vegas, which resulted in the fatal shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur. Knight himself was in the vehicle with Tupac during the incident but survived the shooting. The murder of Tupac Shakur remains unsolved. Knight’s legal troubles continued, and he faced various charges over the years, including assault, weapons violations, and parole violations. In 1997, he was sentenced to prison for violating his probation. While incarcerated, Death Row Records faced financial difficulties and eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2006.
In 2015, Knight was involved in another incident in Compton, where he struck and killed Terry Carter with his vehicle. He pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and was subsequently sentenced to 28 years in prison.
Suge Knight’s career and personal life have been marked by controversy and legal issues. Despite his controversial reputation, he played a significant role in the success of Death Row Records and left an indelible impact on the hip-hop industry during the 1990s.