Suge Knight, born Marion Hugh Knight, Jr., has been active in the music industry since 1989 as a record producer and music executive. Specifically, he founded Black Kapital Records and co-founded Death Row Records. His associated acts are big names such as the late Tupac Shakur and Dr.Dre, but unfortunately his legal problems have garnered him more attention as of late than his career successes. As a result, his net worth is shockingly low.
Suge Knight earned a reputation very early on in his career for being a ruthless business associate when he had his first big pay-day after getting royalties from Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby”and other songs on his debut album. Mario Johnson, a client of Suge Knight, worked with Vanilla Ice on the single and Suge Knight aimed to get his cut. This would be Suge Knight’s very first industry success.
Knight’s real success would come with the founding of Death Row Records with former N.W.A member, Dr. Dre and the release of his album “The Chronic” in 1992. The Chronic would go on to be a triple-platinum album. The label would later host such talents as Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur. In 1996, the label generated more than $100,000,000 annually.
Unfortunately, 1996 would represent that last outstanding profitable year Death Row Records would have. In September of 1996, Tupac Shakur was infamously shot to death in a drive-by shooting while riding passenger in a vehicle driven by Knight. Shakur’s death was proceeded by a brawl at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and Knight was found to be violating the terms of his parole. He was sentenced to five years in prison and Death Row Records severely suffered in his absence. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg moved on to other career endeavors, and the label itself was generally mismanaged.
After his release in 2001, Knight did not avoid trouble for long. In 2003, he faced various charges of assault and in 2005 he was shot in the leg at a pre-VMA party hosted by Kanye West. But this was the least of Knights’ problems, because in 2006 he would face a crippling lawsuit that would completely strip him of his monetary worth.
In the very beginnings of founding Death Row Records, Suge Knight borrowed upwards of $1 million from cocaine kingpin Michael Harris, who was serving a 28-year prison sentence. The money certainly helped Knight get his start, but it would also help solidify his demise. In 2005, Harris’ wife Lydia filed suit against Knight for her husband’s share of Death Row’s success and was awarded $107,000,000.
Shortly after the decision, Knight filed for bankruptcy and it was made public that not only could he not come up with this large sum of money, he only had $11 in his bank account, $4.4 million of assets and $137,000,000 of debt. To bring an end to his legacy, he was forced to auction off Death Row Records. It went for $24,000,000 to Global Music Group.
After the whole bankruptcy debacle, Knight has managed to restore his bank account.
This is pretty inconsequential, however, because Knight could currently be facing life in prison. In January of 2018, he was responsible for the hit-and-run death of Terry Carter.