With the label associated with several controversies, Knight finally was sentenced to prison for violating parole on the evening in which Tupac Shakur was killed. Knight has afterwards confronted fiscal problems and much more jail time.
He received the nickname “Suge,” short for “Sugar Bear,” from his dad, who had been also a vocalist.
Knight played briefly as a defensive lineman for the Los Angeles Rams before employed as a bodyguard—with one of his customers being vocalist Bobby Brown—and making inroads into the music business. He began his own publishing company from the late ’80s and had tunes which were reputedly employed by Vanilla Ice for his hit To the Extreme record (1990), using the rapper after signing over royalties to Knight in a balcony assembly.
With added hits had with Snoop Dogg’s 1993 record introduction along with the 1994 Over the Rim soundtrack, Death Row became a significant power in the establishment of West Coast hip hop on the ’90s graphs.
Not in the music sector, Knight was involved with an automobile hydraulics company and started the Vegas night spot Nightclub 662; he was noticed for his charity to local California communities at the same time. Yet much conjecture and controversy followed Death Row, with investigations directed by police authorities across the label’s engagement in racketeering, gang and drug-associated tasks. Knight himself had been put on probation multiple times with charges that contained weapons possession, assault and attempted murder, and claims circulated that he used intimidation to secure deals.
After having bond paid by Knight in regards to sexual assault charges, Tupac Shakur signed with Death Row in the mid-’90s, later releasing All Eyez on Me (1996). He was riding in a vehicle driven by Knight when Shakur was shot on September 7, 1996, using the rapper dying from his injuries. Earlier in the evening Knight was involved with a videotaped melee in the MGM Grand and had therefore violated his probation stipulations, receiving a jail term of nine years and serving less time, from 1996 to 2001.
Upon his release from prison, Suge Knight relaunched his label utilizing the moniker Tha Row, but received more jail time in 2003. Knight afterwards filed for bankruptcy protection in 2006 after a court ruling where he was to create a multimillion dollar payment into a company who claimed she was a crucial player in creating Death Row. The label was finally sold in 2008, and Knight has later faced more court charges.
In 2011, it had been declared that director Antoine Fuqua would be taking care of a documentary on Knight’s life to be featured on the cable network Showtime.