Artist Info

Suge Knight

The rap world is no stranger to controversy, but the vast majority involves its recording artists, and perhaps an occasional outbreak of violence at a show. Yet, few industry figures ever attracted the kind of notoriety that Death Row Records label head Marion "Suge" Knight did. A particularly flamboyant and visible executive, Knight built Death Row into the biggest hip-hop label of the early '90s, thanks to a stable of talent that included Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and 2Pac. Death Row brought gangsta rap to the top of the pop charts, and made the West Coast into the epicenter of '90s hip-hop. But along the way, Knight acquired a reputation for using threats of violence as a business tactic, and made little attempt to hide his gang connections. His public feuds with rivals and occasional run-ins with the law seemed to lend credence to his legend, and he was suspected by some of involvement in the murders of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G.; though no allegations were ever proven, elaborate conspiracy theories swirled in the wake of police failure in both investigations. By that time, Knight was already serving hard time for a parole violation, which effectively crippled Death Row. He returned to the music industry upon his release, though it remains to be seen if he will ever enjoy a similar level of success.