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By Geoff Boucher and Geoff Boucher,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | December 10, 2002
HOLLYWOOD - The party at the Playboy Mansion was over hours earlier, and as the clock ticked toward 4 a.m., Marion "Suge" Knight was back in his darkened office and puffing on a Cuban cigar. Over his shoulder, the framed platinum albums glinted like chrome rims in a low fog. It was then, as happens with the rap music mogul, that the topic turned to murder. "I'm a product of the inner city, and if you're from off the block, more than likely, you're going to go in a violent way or spend your life in prison," he said in a near whisper.
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By Geoff Boucher and Geoff Boucher,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | December 10, 2002
HOLLYWOOD - The party at the Playboy Mansion was over hours earlier, and as the clock ticked toward 4 a.m., Marion "Suge" Knight was back in his darkened office and puffing on a Cuban cigar. Over his shoulder, the framed platinum albums glinted like chrome rims in a low fog. It was then, as happens with the rap music mogul, that the topic turned to murder. "I'm a product of the inner city, and if you're from off the block, more than likely, you're going to go in a violent way or spend your life in prison," he said in a near whisper.
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By J.D. Considine and J.D. Considine,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC | September 21, 1996
Originally, gangsta rap was all about attitude. It was about acting tough and living large, playing off ghetto stereotypes to come on like the baddest mothers ever to walk into a recording studio.Sure, some gangsta rappers originally were gangbangers. Eric "Eazy-E" Wright admitted to having pimped and dealt drugs before turning to the music business, and Ice-T has alluded to even darker doings during his gang period. But gang life wasn't a part of their rap career; it was just an image, and an attractive one at that.
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By J.D. Considine and J.D. Considine,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC | February 10, 1997
Things ought to look pretty good for Death Row Records right now. This week finds the Death Row soundtrack to "Gridlock'd" -- which features the late Tupac Shakur both as co-star and musician -- atop both the Billboard Hot 200 and R&B Albums charts.Moreover, the "Gridlock'd" album kicks off with a duet between 2Pac and the label's other big name, Snoop Doggy Dogg. Add in a new, MTV-friendly single from Snoop himself (a cover of the Biz Markie oldie "Vapors") plus continuing strong sales for Makaveli's "The Don Killuminati" album (another 2Pac project)
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By J.D. Considine and J.D. Considine,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC | February 10, 1997
Things ought to look pretty good for Death Row Records right now. This week finds the Death Row soundtrack to "Gridlock'd" -- which features the late Tupac Shakur both as co-star and musician -- atop both the Billboard Hot 200 and R&B Albums charts.Moreover, the "Gridlock'd" album kicks off with a duet between 2Pac and the label's other big name, Snoop Doggy Dogg. Add in a new, MTV-friendly single from Snoop himself (a cover of the Biz Markie oldie "Vapors") plus continuing strong sales for Makaveli's "The Don Killuminati" album (another 2Pac project)
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By Tom Moon and Tom Moon,Knight-Ridder News Service | August 26, 1995
Near the end of "The Show," an up-close look inside the world of hip-hop, a group of old-school rappers sharing war stories at a coffee shop are asked to discuss the meaning of hip-hop.Their answers center on expression -- the craft of creating new rhymes, capturing all kinds of situations, performing. Somebody gets up and imitates a gangsta rapper by moving from side to side, implying that the new stars don't work very hard to entertain. "You come to see us, you see a show," says one veteran.
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By LOS ANGELES TIMES | December 30, 1996
LOS ANGELES -- Death Row Records, the most successful rap label in the country since its founding in 1992, is under investigation by the federal government, which is trying to determine whether Death Row is being run as a criminal enterprise.Sources said that authorities suspect the rap label is tied somehow to organized crime in New York and Chicago.It is increasingly apparent that the company faces even more serious problems than the recent jailing of company founder and owner Marion "Suge" Knight.
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By Neil Strauss and Neil Strauss,NEW YORK TIMES | April 15, 2001
NEW YORK -- On a recent Monday afternoon, Adam Gassman, 14, stood amid a gaggle of teenybopper girls outside MTV's Times Square studios, as he does almost every day after school. While the schoolgirls begged producers to let them into the studio for the day's taping of "Total Request Live," Adam looked on dour-faced. In his hand was a large white sign with two words sloppily scrawled in thin black marker: "Tupac lives." At the same time in the East Village, at the New York Theater Workshop, tickets were on sale for "Up Against the Wind," a play about Tupac Shakur's life and 1996 death in a drive-by shooting.
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By J.D. Considine and J.D. Considine,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC | March 10, 1998
In the wee hours of March 9, 1997, Christopher Wallace -- a man known to millions of rap fans as Biggie Smalls or Notorious B.I.G. -- was shot to death while sitting in a black Chevy Suburban outside the Petersen Automotive Museum in the Wilshire district of Los Angeles.Coming barely six months after the similarly violent demise of fellow rap star Tupac Shakur, Biggie's death left the rap world reeling. There was an immediate outpouring of grief -- and a flood of rumors. Many wondered if the two deaths weren't an outgrowth of the much-hyped gangsta rap "war" between the West Coast crew of Death Row Records (of which Tupac was a part)
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May 3, 2002
Haggard halts online sale of `stolen' work An Internet auction of a Merle Haggard cassette has been halted after the country music star won a court order in Dallas claiming the tape was stolen from his tour bus. Kathy Schroeder of Fredericksburg, Texas, a concert promoter, had offered the cassette on eBay for $325,000, according to the Dallas Morning News yesterday. Information about the tape was removed from the auction site Wednesday. Haggard's lawyers say they plan to turn the case over to police, but their first priority was to stop the possible spread of bootleg copies.
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By J.D. Considine and J.D. Considine,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC | September 21, 1996
Originally, gangsta rap was all about attitude. It was about acting tough and living large, playing off ghetto stereotypes to come on like the baddest mothers ever to walk into a recording studio.Sure, some gangsta rappers originally were gangbangers. Eric "Eazy-E" Wright admitted to having pimped and dealt drugs before turning to the music business, and Ice-T has alluded to even darker doings during his gang period. But gang life wasn't a part of their rap career; it was just an image, and an attractive one at that.
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By Ian Spelling and Ian Spelling,NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SYNDICATE | March 4, 2004
They call me `Ross Perot,'" Snoop Dogg boasts. "You know why? You know why they call me `Ross Perot?' Because I got a whole lot of money." Dogg doesn't laugh at his own joke, but then he can afford not to. A gangsta renaissance man, the rapper/producer/actor/porn purveyor may stoke the flames of controversy, but everything he touches seems to turn to gold, and he's laughing all the way to the bank. His latest project, however, is downright benign: He plays Huggy Bear, the ultra-hip informant to detectives David Starsky (Ben Stiller)
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By J.D. Considine | November 6, 1997
Gang RelatedThe Soundtrack (Death Row 53509)With many in the music industry wondering about the future of Death Row Records after the death of Tupac Shakur, the departure of co-founder Dr. Dre, and the incarceration of label chief Suge Knight, the soundtrack to "Gang Related," Shakur's final film, ought to be enough to silence the naysayers. Instead, it only adds weight to their doubts. Despite reports that Shakur had recorded several albums' worth of material before his death, the "Gang Related" soundtrack hardly counts as a 2Pac album; after all, he's only featured on four of the double-album's 24 tracks.
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