Suge Knight Released From Prison for Probation Violation in 2001: Today in Hip-Hop
On this day, Aug. 6, in hip-hop history...
2001: The most feared man in the music industry makes his return to the outside world after spending nearly five years in prison for probation violation.
Sentenced on March 1, 1997, Suge Knight's latest bid seemingly went hand-in-hand with tragedy and the downfall of Death Row Records. The incident that led to his sentencing, which a judge handed to him because of a probation violation, took place in the lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Earlier that night, Suge and his Death Row inmate, Tupac Shakur, had assaulted a rumored South Side crip by the name of Orlando "Baby Lane" Anderson.
Hours after their assault, Shakur was shot multiple times as he and Suge were driving to Vegas' Club 662. Shakur would die six days later, on Sept. 13, 1996. Suge's head was grazed by a bullet in the attack.
Unfortunately for Suge, he was caught on camera taking part in the assault of Anderson, and that turned out to be a violation of a probation he'd earned himself after allegedly assaulting a couple of rappers at a recording studio in 1992. For this 1996 case, Suge claimed that he'd actually been trying to end the scuffle. Neither the judge nor the jury bought his claim, though, and on March 1, 1997, Suge was sentenced to nine years in prison.
With the death of Shakur and the recent departure of Death Row icon Dr. Dre, Death Row was in some very murky waters by the time Suge was sentenced. Adding to the label's unravelling, Snoop Dogg, who was unsatisfied with what was purported to be an unfavorable Death Row Records contract, left the label after dropping off his sophomore album (The Doggfather) and heading to Master P's No Limit Records in 1998.
The dissolution of peak Death Row pretty much ensured that Suge would be returning to a considerably diminished level of authority upon his release from prison. Since getting out, his legal issues have only continued.
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