Suge Knight: who is Death Row Records CEO, and how was he involved in Tupac Shakur and Notorious BIG deaths?
Last Man Standing: Suge Knight and the Murders of Biggie and Tupac will air on BBC One on Saturday 2 October
It remains one of the most controversial events in music history, with the murder of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls remaining continuing to provoke questions.
The music mogul and key figure behind the influential Death Row Records has links with both tragic events.
Here’s all you need to know about who Suge Knight is and why he is linked with the deaths of the Notorious B.I.G and Tupac.
Who is Suge Knight?
Suge Knight, whose real name is Marion Knight Jr, was the CEO of Death Row Records.
The record label was responsible for launching the careers of hip hop artists Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur. Some of the albums that gained commercial success include Dr Dre’s The Chronic (1992), Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle (1993), and 2Pac’s All Eyez on Me (1996).
Before entering the music business, Knight was an American Football player, appearing twice for the Los Angeles Rams in 1987.
Whilst playing, he worked as a bodyguard for rapper Bobby Brown, marking his first entrance into the music industry. He went on to found Death Row Record with Dr Dre and The D.O.C, after they left N.W.A and their label Ruthless Records.
Suge Knight’s involvement in Tupac Shakur and Biggie Small’s death?
Suge Knight was with Tupac Shakur the night he was killed in 1996.
Shakur was killed in a drive-by-shooting in Las Vegas after attending a Mike Tyson boxing match. Knight was driving the car at the time of the shooting.
Three hours prior to the murder, a group that included Knight and Shakur assaulted Orlando Anderson. A Southside Compton Crips gang member. Knight was affiliated with the rival Bloods gang.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Dr Dre and Snoop dogg left Death Row Records.
Suge Knight reportedly claimed Death Row Records’ former security chief Reggie White Jr and his ex wife killed Tupac while insisting he himself was the real target of the shooting in 1996.
Fellow rapper Notorious B.I.G was killed less that a year later in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. The murder took place in the height of the East Coast vs West Coast hip hop rivalry.
Knight’s name has been linked with both murder, with leaked FBI interview files revealing that the music mogul had orchestrated for both Biggie and Tupac to be killed.
Claims about his involvement have come into question after it was revealed that Tupac was planning on leaving Death Row Records, and then had Biggie killed to deflect attention from the first shooting.
He has always denied any involvement in either murder.
Where is Suge Knight now?
Suge Knight is currently serving a 28 year prison sentence.
He was sentenced to 28 years in prison in October 2018 for running over and killing music executive Terry Carter.
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