The Turbulent Life and Times Of a Rap Mogul

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

1965 Marion "Suge" Knight is born in Los Angeles.

1984 Knight, a good student, earns a football scholarship to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

1987 Knight pleads no-contest to charges of attempted murder and car theft. Signs with the Los Angeles Rams as part of their replacement roster during NFL players strike.

1988 Dr. Dre records "Straight Outta Compton," a gangsta rap album, with his group, N.W.A. (Niggaz With Attitude). It becomes an underground hit and eventually sells 2 million records.

1989 Knight rejoins the Rams; he's cut from the team the same season. He forms his own music publishing company. One of his first big deals involves persuading Vanilla Ice to credit lyricist Mario "Chocolate" Johnson with publishing rights to "Ice, Ice Baby." Rumors abound that Knight secured the deal by dangling Ice by his ankles over a balcony. Both sides later deny the story.

1989 Knight forms a management company; signs The D.O.C. and DJ Quik.

1991 Knight and Dr. Dre form Death Row Records after Knight persuades Eazy-E to release Dre from his Ruthless Records contract.

1992 Dre releases "The Chronic," an instant classic and bestseller featuring newcomer Snoop Doggy Dogg.

Knight is arrested for armed assault of aspiring rappers George and Lynwood Stanley at Solar Records Studio. They reportedly angered him by using a studio phone without his permission. He is placed on probation.

1993 Snoop releases his debut, "Doggystyle," which goes multi-platinum. Snoop, along with two associates, is charged with the murder of Philip Woldemariam. Dr. Dre is convicted of assault. Tupac Shakur is charged with sexual assault.

C. DeLores Tucker starts campaign to protest gangsta rap.

1994 Shakur survives being shot five times during a robbery at a New York recording studio; later he's also sentenced to prison after being convicted of the sexual assault charges. Knight opens Club 662.


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© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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