Suge Knight life and biography

Suge Knight picture, image, poster

Suge Knight biography

Date of birth : 1965-04-19
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Compton, California, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-10-27
Credited as : Business man, Death Row Records, Tupac Shakur

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Marion "Suge" Knight, Jr. (a.k.a. Big Suge or Big Simon) is the co-founder and former CEO of Death Row Records. The record label rose to dominate the rap charts after Dr. Dre's breakthrough album The Chronic in 1992.
After several years of chart successes for artists including Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tha Dogg Pound, Death Row Records stagnated after Knight's incarceration on parole violation charges in September 1996.

Knight's legal problems began in 1987 when he faced auto theft, concealed weapon and attempted murder charges, ultimately receiving probation. Two years later, he formed his own music-publishing company, and allegedly made his first big fortune in the business by coercing Vanilla Ice into signing over royalties from his smash hit "Ice Ice Baby" owing to material that he supposedly sampled from Freddie Mercury, one of Knight's company associates (the possibly apocryphal story holds that Knight held Ice by his ankles off of a 20th-floor balcony, though in Ice's version, the threat was more implied). Knight next formed an artist management company and signed prominent West Coast hip hop artists The D.O.C. and DJ Quik.

Through the former, he met several members of the seminal gangsta rap group N.W.A. In 1993, Suge would have a son, Andrew, born on April 19, sharing the same birthday as him. Andrew is currently living in the Greater Los Angeles area with his mother, "Tia". Another son, Taj, is said to be living in Atlanta with his mother, Davina Barnes. He also has daughters named Posh and Bailei, the latter with R&B singer Michel'le.

Dr. Dre and The D.O.C. wished to depart from both the group and their label, Ruthless Records, run by Eazy-E, another member of N.W.A. According to N.W.A's manager Jerry Heller, Knight and his henchmen threatened Heller and Eazy-E with lead pipes and baseball bats in order to secure Dre, Michel'le & The D.O.C.'s release.Ultimately, Dre and DOC co-founded Death Row Records in 1991 with Knight, who vowed to make it "the Motown of the '90s."
Initially, Knight fulfilled his ambitions: he secured a distribution deal with Interscope, and Dre's 1992 solo debut, The Chronic, has sold over three million copies. It also made a career for Dre's protégé, Snoop Dogg, whose debut album, Doggystyle, was another multi-platinum album.

Meanwhile, Death Row had begun a public feud with 2 Live Crew's Luther Campbell, and when Knight traveled to Miami for a hip-hop convention in 1993, he was apparently seen openly carrying a stolen gun. The following year, he opened a private, by-appointment-only nightclub in Las Vegas called Club 662, so named because the numbers spelled out MOB, which reportedly stands for Member Of Bloods, Knight's gang affiliation, on telephone keypads. In 1995, he ran afoul of activist C. Delores Tucker, whose criticism of Death Row's glamorization of the "gangsta" lifestyle may have helped scuttle a lucrative deal with Time Warner.

Additionally, Knight's feud with East Coast impresario Sean Combs (aka P Diddy) progressed when Knight insulted the Bad Boy label founder on air at the Source Awards in August 1995. Openly critical of Combs's tendency of ad-libbing on his artists' songs and dancing in their videos, Knight announced to the audience, "Anyone out there who wanna be a recording artist and wanna stay a star, but don't have to worry about the executive producer trying to be all in the videos, all on the records, dancing, come to Death Row."

The same year, Knight offered to post a bail for Tupac Shakur if the troubled rapper agreed to sign with Death Row. Shakur agreed, setting the stage for his 1996 double album All Eyez on Me and the songs "California Love" and "How Do U Want It".

The label suffered a major blow when Dr. Dre, frustrated with the company's increasingly thuggish reputation and Knight's violent inclinations, decided to leave and form his own label. A stream of Dre-dissing records followed, but things turned tragic in September 1996, when Shakur was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, NV.

When Shakur's East Coast rival, The Notorious B.I.G., was murdered in a similar fashion in March 1997, speculation immediately arose that Knight was involved and that B.I.G.'s death was a revenge killing; although former Death Row artists like Snoop Dogg would later state that Suge was involved in Tupac's murder as well.
Subsequent investigations exposed a web of connections between Death Row Records, gang members who worked there, and LAPD officers who sometimes worked security for the label. Author Randall Sullivan claimed that the majority of clues found by investigators assigned to B.I.G.’s killing “pointed... directly at Suge Knight”. Mario Ha’mmonds, a convicted felon who shared a cellblock with Knight at California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo, CA in the late 1990s, claimed that Knight took credit for the murder, and quoted him as saying, “My people handled the business. They took care of him. . . ” No one has ever been charged in connection with the crime, however, and Suge has denied any involvement.

After the death of Tupac Shakur and the release of Tha Doggfather, Snoop Doggy Dogg openly blasted Suge Knight for the murder of Shakur and he decided to leave the label, which he did in 1997, moving to Master P's No Limit Records and then forming his own record label, Doggystyle Records. In 2002, Snoop released the song "Pimp Slapp'd", in which he repudiated Suge and Death Row. In 2006, Snoop again attacked Knight verbally, charging him for the death of Tupac Shakur. Suge responded, stating that Snoop is a "police informer" as he "never goes to jail".

On April 4, 2006, Suge Knight filed bankruptcy due to civil litigation against him in which Lydia Harris claimed to have been cheated out of a 50% stake in Death Row Records. Prior to filing, Knight had been ordered to pay $107 million to Harris. Under questioning by creditors, he denied having money tucked away in foreign countries or in an African company that deals in diamonds and gold. Bankruptcy documents filed showed Knight had no income this year from employment or operation of a business.
According to financial records, his bank account contained just $12, and he owned clothing worth $1,000, furniture and appliances valued at $2,000, and jewelry worth $25,000. He also testified that the last time he had checked the label’s financial records was at least 10 years prior. Knight’s lawyer said that his client was still “at the helm” of Death Row and had been working on securing distribution deals for the label’s catalog. Harris told reporters she had received a $1 million payment but had not agreed to settle the matter. "I'm telling you, I didn't do a settlement for $1 million. That's ridiculous. Let's keep it real," she said.

Knight skipped a meeting with his creditors after injuring himself in a motorcycle accident. Another scheduled meeting with the creditors had been missed after Suge said he had experienced a death in his family. Finally on July 7, 2006, the federal judge, Ellen Carroll, ordered a bankruptcy trustee takeover of Suge Knight's Death Row Records, saying the record label had undergone a gross amount of mismanagement.

In June 2008, he sold Death Row Records to New York-based company Global Music Group, which confirmed it had purchased the firm in a statement to the Associated Press news agency.
On January 25, 2009, an auction was held for everything found in the Death Row Records office after the company filed for bankruptcy, including some of Suge's personal items.
In 1996, Knight was sent to prison for a probation violation. In 1997, he was sentenced to nine years for the violation. He was released on August 6, 2001.

In 2003, he was sent to prison again for violating parole when he struck a parking lot attendant. Death Row Records' income rapidly declined due to Knight's incarceration. It managed to save itself from complete bankruptcy by releasing archived Snoop Dogg compilation albums and posthumous Tupac albums. Despite signing new artists, Suge never released any of their albums.

In 2006 Knight was engaged in another dispute with former friend and ex-associate Snoop Dogg after Snoop insulted him in Rolling Stone. Suge responded on calling Snoop Dogg "a rat" and "a crybaby", accusing him of not serving time in prison due to his close relations with the police and running away from "real" fights.
On May 10, 2008, Knight was involved in an altercation involving a monetary dispute outside of a nightclub in Hollywood. He was knocked out for 3 minutes, taken to the hospital, and reportedly did not cooperate with the LAPD.

On August 27, 2008, Knight was arrested on drug and aggravated assault charges after leaving a Las Vegas strip club. When police arrived on the scene, Knight was beating his girlfriend of three years and brandishing a knife. Reports also allege that he was under the influence of both ecstasy and hydrocodone. He was later released on $19,000 bail. Knight's girlfriend, Melissa Isaac, who was scheduled to testify against him in the assault case, has since gone missing, leading to speculation that Knight is involved in her disappearance.
As of October 31, police and prosecutors had still failed to contact Knight's girlfriend, Melissa Isaac, and no formal charges have been brought against Knight. On December 5, 2008 Suge Knight was cleared of all charges. Knight’s attorney, David Chesnoff, said the prosecution had "discovery problems and witness problems." Prosecutor Susan Benedict did not immediately return a call for comment. When Knight was asked about the positive verdict he replied "God is good, Happy Holidays".

As part of an October 30, 2008 bankruptcy claim, Suge also filed a lawsuit against Kanye West and his associates. The lawsuit concerns an August 2005 shooting at Kanye's pre-Video Music Awards party, where Knight suffered a gunshot wound to the upper leg. The lawsuit cites damages of mental and physical pain caused by the shooting, costs of surgery, loss of income and the theft of a 15-carat (3.0 g) $147,000 diamond earring.

On February 16, 2009, Knight was extensively beaten at a private party at the W Scottsdale Hotel, held in celebration of the NBA All-Star Game. He was taken by ambulance to an Arizona hospital for treatment of extensive facial injuries including broken facial bones. Robert Carnes Jr., who identified himself to police as the business manager of hip-hop star Akon (but was later denied by Akon's publicist), was arrested along with Thomas Anderson Jr., and charged with assault and disorderly conduct. Officers were called by hotel security and arrived to witness Carnes punch Knight in the face twice before subduing him.

In late March, 2009, Knight was implicated in the robbery of Akon producer, Noel "Detail" Fisher. According to Christopher Walker, an employee of Detail, on the morning of March 25, 2009, five armed men broke into Detail's house, stating that they were collecting a debt on behalf of Knight. $170,000 worth of jewelry was stolen, along with a locked safe, stereo equipment and the key to a Mercedes vehicle. Walker claims the incident is related to the altercation at the W Scottsdale Hotel in February.

Knight started a new record label called Blackball Records, with its first artist Young Life and featured it in a reality show, Unfinished Business. The show was based on Knight dispelling long-standing rumors in sit down interviews, his days with Death Row and the artists he worked with, and finding new talent for his record label. As of April 2009, the show had not been picked up by any major network.

Remaining items from Knight's personal property were auctioned in the first episode of Storage Wars: High Noon in the High Desert, on A&E TVP (aired on December 1, 2010).

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