Happy Birthday, Suge Knight!
It's not surprising that many are unsympathetic to Suge Knight's legal troubles right now. He's one of hip-hop's most notorious figures and has been accused of doing absurd things to get his way. Still, Knight is a legend for more than his intimidation tactics. The former rap mogul turns 50 today (April 19).
Knight's infamous reputation almost immediately grew from when he started his music publishing business in 1989. His first big score was pressuring Vanilla Ice to sign over the royalties from his 1989 song, "Ice Ice Baby."
But Knight will most likely be remembered for creating Death Row Records with Dr. Dre. The seminal West Coast label would go on to release classic albums like The Chronic and Snoop Dogg's 1993 debut effort, Doggystyle.
In 1995, Knight agreed to post the $1.4 million bail for Tupac Shakur who was in prison for a sexual assault case. A year later, the late rapper delivered All Eyez On Me, his epochal album that would become the final peak of Death Row Records' successful run in the '90s.
Dr. Dre would eventually leave Death Row Records after growing tired of Knight's increasingly violent ways. Then, on Sept. 7, 1996, Shakur was shot several times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. He spent six days in critical condition before being pronounced dead on Sept. 13, 1996.
Following Shakur's death, Knight found himself in a plethora of legal problems. In February 1997, Knight was sentenced to prison for violating his probation. With him no longer at the helm of his label, and his three superstars gone, Death Row Records quickly fell apart.
Knight's post-Death Row years haven't been great either. Just last year, he was shot multiple times at a pre-MTV Video Music Awards party and was arrested with comedian Katt Williams for stealing a female photographer's camera.
His most recent case can potentially be the most damaging. Knight faces decades in jail if convicted of murder and attempted murder for killing Terry Carter in the hit-and-run case.
For now, Knight's legacy seemed destined to become a footnote in rap history. This will certainly be a solemn 50th birthday for the once successful rap mogul.