If you’ve been a fan of rap music for years, you probably know who Suge Knight is. The music executive and record producer is known for his association with hip hop moguls like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Knight is also the co-founder of Death Row Records, and is the former CEO of the label. Suge Knight is also known as the man who helped to launch the career of legendary rapper Tupac Shakur. There are also several theories surrounding the notion that Knight was involved with Shakur’s murder, as well as the murder of rapper Notorious B.I.G. For this reason, he’s been regarded as a mafia boss of sorts.
Suge Knight has spent significant time in jail for a variety of reasons, including probation violation. Knight has also had some money problems over the years, which affected the success of the artist's on his label. It’s pretty safe to say that Suge Knight is a complex individual. He’s been known for his friendships with famous artists, and for burning bridges with these same artists. Yet, there’s still so much we don’t know about him. Ever wonder if there was more to Suge Knight than meets the eye? Here are 12 shocking facts you may not know about him.
12 He Was a Football Player
When Knight was in high school, he played football. He was pretty good, too. So good, in fact, that he received a football scholarship to go to the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. He played football at the school for several years, then went on to play for the Los Angeles Rams in 1987, as a replacement during the NFL strike. Considering all the trouble Suge Knight got himself into after his athletic career, he may have done better to stay on the football field. Then again, we wouldn’t have some of the music that helped to shape the hip-hop genre. Then again (again), Suge Knight probably wouldn’t be a convict, either.
11 He’s Been “In The System” Since the 1980s
Suge Knight has been getting into trouble for decades, and the crimes have escalated in nature. In 1987, he had his first run-in with the law. He faced auto theft charges, and was also charged with carrying a concealed weapon and attempted murder. It’s plain to see that Suge Knight has a fiery temper, and he often views “wiping people out” as a way to solve problems. In 2015, he was charged with both murder and attempted murder, but he pled not guilty to both charges. Most of the people that Suge has worked with in the past have separated themselves from him, in an attempt to regain and maintain a favorable reputation. We can’t say we blame them.
10 He Was a Bodyguard
When things didn’t quite pan out the way he’d hoped in football, Suge Knight decided to become a bodyguard. It was a pretty practical way to make a living from having a strong and burly physique. He also had a pretty intimidating look, so we’re guessing his clients didn’t have too many problems when going into public places. Knight was a bodyguard for a few famous artists, including Bobby Brown. These days, Knight is the person people need to be guarded from. He’s pretty serious about protecting the people he calls friends, but it’s a real bad idea to get on his bad side.
9 He Has Four Children
Suge Knight is father to four children, two boys and two girls. His son, Andrew, has the same birthday as him (April 19). Knight also has a son named Taj, and two girls, named Posh and Bailei. Bailiei is the daughter he had with Michel’le. Michel’le has recently appeared on a reality show on TV One, where it was revealed to many that she was the mother of one of Knight’s children. However, the singer was hesitant to discuss her past relationship with Suge Knight. Some speculate that she didn’t want to give too many details on television, for fear that Knight would retaliate.
8 He Was An Artist Manager
Before Suge Knight became Death Row Records’ CEO, he had his own artist management company. He helped to shape the careers of artists like DJ Quik and the D.O.C. Obviously, Knight is pretty good at spotting talent. He’s also got a knack for promoting his artists well and turning them into stars. However, he also tends to have conflicts with some of these same artists, and once he counts them as enemies, Knight is known for doing everything he can to destroy them. Perhaps Knight could have stayed out of trouble if he’d chosen a career where the odds of success were higher. But, we can’t quite picture Suge Knight in corporate America.
7 He Was a Club Owner
Suge Knight opened a club in 1994 in Las Vegas called Club 662. The club was appointment-only, and only the hottest celebs were allowed in. Allegedly, Knight got the name for the club because the numbers 662 coordinate with the letters M-O-B the letters stand for Member of Bloods, which is the gang that Suge Knight is affiliated with. While the club was supposed to be a place where people go to have a good time, it’s pretty safe to say that those who were allowed in the club weren’t always at ease there. This was only one of Suge Knight’s questionable business ventures.
6 Suge May Spend The Rest of His Life In Prison
In 2014, Suge Knight and comedian Kat Williams were accused of second degree robbery when they stole a camera from photographer Leslie Redden. The incident occurred in Beverly Hills, and Knight pleaded not guilty. He was also involved in a hit and run where his friend was killed. Because Knight already has a record, he could face up to 30 years in prison because of the crime. This likely means that Suge Knight will spend the rest of his life locked up if he is convicted. It’s hard to figure out why Knight continues to live a life of crime well into his adult years, but some people never seem to learn. Because the majority of people in the music industry know his tendencies, they’re also pretty scared to cross him, so we’re guessing it balances out (?).
5 He Was Shot Six Times
In August of 2014, Suge Knight was shot six times when he attended a pre-Video Music Awards party hosted by singer Chris Brown. Investigators confirmed that after looking a video surveillance from the shooting, Knight was the intended target for the shooting. There are several people who want to kill Suge Knight for obvious reasons, but Knight was able to walk to an ambulance despite his injuries. That’s part of what makes him a gangster (and a little scary). Knight has refused to cooperate with police about the shooting, also for obvious reasons. Rapper Jeezy stated in a radio interview that it he wouldn’t have been pushed out of the way, he would have been shot. This provides even more proof that someone was targeting Knight.
4 He Has A Different “Theory” On Tupac’s Death
Even though most people think that Suge Knight had something to do with the shooting death of Tupac in the mid-1990s, Knight has a different theory. He says that Sean Combs (aka Puffy, aka Puff, aka P. Diddy, aka Puff Daddy) is the one who had Tupac killed. Death Row Records and Combs' label, Bad Boy Records, were rivals, and many believe that the beef between the West Coast and the East Coast caused the deaths of both Tupac and Biggie. A former officer for the LAPD also claims that Combs was behind Tupac’s death. Knight maintains that he had nothing to do with Tupac being shot, even though he and the rapper had some issues in the past. The murders of these rappers have still not been solved.
3 He Went Bankrupt
After all his success in the music industry, Suge Knight actually went bankrupt in 2006, which likely made him even angrier. Knight’s remaining property was auctioned off on an episode of Storage Wars: High Noon In The High Desert. The episode aired in 2010 on A&E. Knight was probably embarrassed by this, but hey, he had to find a way to pay off the rest of his debt. A host of shady business dealings and getting money under the table is likely what led to this. Hopefully, Knight has learned from the error of his ways and will make smarter financial decisions—if he can manage to stay out of jail.
2 He’s Threatened A Lot Of People
It’s probably not a big shock that Suge Knight used scare tactics to get his way in the music industry. When artists Michel’e, the D.O.C. and Dr. Dre were on Ruthless Records (which was headed by the late rapper Eazy E), Suge and his crew threatened Eazy E and Heller with baseball bats and lead pipes in order to get “the job done.” His tactics worked, and the artists were released from their contracts. That’s when the D.O.C. and Knight formed Death Row Records in 1991. The label was so successful that it was called the “Motown of the 90s”.
1 He’s Known By His Childhood Nickname
“Suge” is actually short for “sugarbear”, which was Knight’s nickname as a child. When you look at him, he does actually look like a bear. This likely means that he looked like, well, a little “sugarbear” as a kid. How could someone so adorable turn out to be so…edgy? Maybe he wanted to shake the whole “cutesy” image and let the world know that he’s a hard-hearted gangster who is not to be toyed with. We want to believe there’s good in there somewhere. Maybe one day, Suge Knight will prove us right.