Suge Knight's Son Fears for His Father's Life, Shares Gripping Details on Tupac's Death

Suge Knight's Son Fears for His Father's Life, Shares Gripping Details on Tupac's Death

He also dispels rumors about Eazy-E.

Published February 27th

A quick Google search of West Coast icon Tupac Shakur and CEO/co-founder of Death Row Records Marion “Suge” Knight, and the first three findings would explain why there are fistfuls of stones cast at the Compton native.

And while it’s nearly effortless to hurl the words “murderer,” “snake” and “traitor” around with a legacy as tainted as Knight’s, it’s a hell of a lot worse when those stones are cast at the man you’ve grown only to know and love as “dad.” 

Suge Jacob Knight, the illustrious industry executive’s 21-year-old son, would know about such an affliction firsthand. As if his father’s portrayals in critically-acclaimed films Straight Outta Compton and Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge and Michel’le weren’t enough to rampage hate storms against the Knight name, a fatal January 2015 incident might have been. Knight was arrested in connection to the death of famed actor and Heavyweight Records owner Terry Carter following video footage of Knight running over Carter and actor/director Cle Sloan with his red pickup truck during an altercation between the men. Held on $10.5 million bail, which was reduced from an original $25 million, Knight’s last two years have been spent behind L.A. County Jail bars as his defense team and prosecutors battle over the case’s motive: murder or self-defense.

But for the son of who some have dubbed the most feared man in hip-hop, fundamental humane treatment for Knight should transcend any hate or hearsay. Suspicion of prisoner abuse — which he says has nearly killed his father on three occasions — and universal neglect from law enforcement, corrections and the court have all arisen after Suge Jacob’s first time seeing his father or hearing his voice for an entire two years. Speaking out for the first time in honor of him, Suge Jacob’s verbal petition is simple: try Knight in the court of the law, not that of public opinion.

BET.com spoke with Suge Jacob, who carries his father’s name as heavy as every stone thrown at the Knight legacy, to uncover life as Suge's junior, the legal system’s treatment toward his father, rumors of Suge’s hand in Tupac and Eazy-E’s death and balancing the love and hate at the same time. 

What's life like when Suge Knight is your father?
I'm appreciative of the role that it plays. But, in the beginning it was great. Now that the image and the name is tainted because of myths and lies, it's kind of difficult. At the same time, there's a reason why my name is Suge. That's why he told my mother, "Sooner or later, he's going to have to hold up to this name." I think he meant in terms of speaking out and defending my father. I love my name and I love who I am. I will always respect that and take pride in it.

What about some of the values he taught you growing up?
My dad is really the only person that I look up to. People who praise him look at him like the big gangster guy. That's not who I see and that's not who I grew up with. I grew up with the first Black man who owned a business on Wilshire Boulevard. I remember my dad donating $250,000 to Bill Clinton's campaign. I remember him putting up millions for two rappers that people praise to this day for their legal cases. I remember him sitting in court during Snoop's murder trials never missing a day. That's why today, I don't point fingers, so I don't expect anyone to do that to us. I'm not focused on that. I'm focused on bringing justice to my father's name. 


"There's a reason why my name is Suge. That's why he told my mother, 'Sooner or later, he's going to have to hold up to this name.'"
 

So it must not be easy going so long without talking to him. The last you two were able to physically speak was before the arrest in January 2015, correct?
Yes, just a week before the arrest. He had actually dropped me off at the airport to return to school at Fisk University. We were talking about him visiting Nashville, where my school is located because I love it there. I really enjoy the hospitality down there. He was going to come and check out new cars for me that he planned on buying. Since then, going to court was the first I've seen or heard from my dad for an entire two years. They cut all communication with everybody. No one can speak to him, and he can't even choose his own lawyer. 

At the court, it was just a whole lot for me. As soon as I walked in there, I got hit with reporters and writers. Even when I sat down in the courtroom, people were writing notes and passing them to me saying not to trust this person and that person. At the same time, all I'm trying to focus on is my dad. Me and him locked eyes, and he's like, "Hey, how are you doing? I love you man, don't worry." But, as soon as he said that, the judge and the D.A. had the police officer in the room block our view of each other. That's when I felt like it was time for me to make the post and be public about what they're doing to him. 

Can you walk me through what took place during the hearing and what was requested on Suge's defense? 
At the court, it was just a whole lot for me. As soon as I walked in there, I got hit with reporters and writers. Even when I sat down in the courtroom, people were writing notes and passing them to me saying not to trust this person and that person. At the same time, all I'm trying to focus on is my dad. Me and him locked eyes, and he's like, "Hey, how are you doing? I love you man, don't worry." But, as soon as he said that, the judge and the D.A. had the police officer in the room block our view of each other. That's when I felt like it was time for me to make the post and be public about what they're doing to him. 

That entire hearing was about my dad begging to have his rights. It's more than just neglect; it's like they're completely taking all of his rights away from him. That's what the world doesn't know. And that's why I chose to be public about that. As soon as we walked in, my father acknowledged and greeted everyone. But when he was able to speak, he said to the judge, "Your Honor, I wish I could choose my own lawyer. The only way I can choose my own lawyer is if I see a lawyer and ask him for a minute." They don't allow him to talk to anyone. He also talked about his blood clots. They haven't allowed him to fully heal. The person that calls all of the shots for that is the D.A. And the D.A. is sitting next to the prosecutor. Can you believe that? My father's lawyer isn't even allowed to sit next to him, but the D.A. can sit next to the prosecutor. The judge was laughing at my father during the trial. The prosecutor was like, "I'm too busy for this. I have a lot to do today." But no one really spoke about anything important. The whole hearing was just my dad begging for rights and visitation for his family. 


"They’re obviously trying to break his spirit. It's simple stuff: not giving him utensils for food, not allowing him TV time. There's just so much."
 

When the officer blocked your view, did you ask to be moved or relocated, perhaps?
No, because I was afraid to be kicked out of the courtroom. Previously, my grandmother and my dad's sisters have had their phones taken and been kicked out. I didn't want to be removed from the courtroom or banned, and I really just wanted to play it safe. I didn't know what to do. Nobody's going to have any secret hits out on anyone or anything like that. They're trying to paint this picture with no evidence around him. I'm not a lawyer or anything like that. But as his son, I want to do my best to help my dad. I obviously don't have the bail money, so I figured that's why I'd make an Instagram post and be public about it. One thing I know is that what’s currently going on is not right. 

With respects to the case, have you seen the actual footage of the hit-and-run?
I did. What I saw was the [person who was struck] run up to the car. If that's anyone who fears for their life, if that's anyone who fears Suge, I don't think they would be running up to his car. Me knowing my father personally, I paid attention to the angle that he drove at. He is partially blind in his left eye because of his diabetes. My dad has really bad health. So, seeing the person pick up a gun in the video and going into trials with people crying and this "no-snitch" policy, it makes everything questionable for me. This was obviously a self-defense case and they know that in the court. That's why during the hearing, they rush everything out. 

Aside from being morally correct, there’s some things that don’t quite seem legal either.
Well they’re obviously trying to break his spirit. It's simple stuff: not giving him utensils for food, not allowing him TV time. There's just so much. He started off telling the judge with a question: "How do you all want to treat me? Do you want to put me with regular cell mates and treat me regular, or do you want to treat me like a celebrity in a cell?" It's almost like they don't know what to do with him. All they're doing is keeping him in solitary confinement and keeping him locked away by himself. Anyone knows that alone will make somebody go crazy. I acknowledge my father for staying strong for that. Another thing that really got to me is that they're not allowing him to heal his blood clots. That's really serious because his health, again, is really bad. What I do know is that when you're in jail, you're covered by the government because you're now their responsibility. How can you do that when you send the D.A. to override the doctors? When the doctors are saying that he's in no condition to return to solitary confinement? This is why when I was told he almost reached fatality three times, it was definitely believable. 

I was going to call my lawyer to go to the USC Medical Center because I've been told there were incidents where officers have snatched a needle out of his arm without a nurse or anyone present. 

Hearing that tears me apart. It sounds inhumane. I don't see why anyone would deserve this. He's getting worst treatment than anyone else. You have people like Brock Turner, the kid who raped the girl and left her at a dumpster. He was sentenced only six months and still only did three? That's why I want everyone to question themselves. If Suge didn't do anything to you, let's change the perspective on this situation just as human beings. Other than that, I don't see why people are going so hard against him from myths and stories that they've heard.

I got people under my comments saying he killed Eazy-E, when I thought Eazy-E died of AIDS. Rest in peace to Eazy-E, but I just want my father to be free. 


"I got people under my comments saying he killed Eazy-E, when I thought Eazy-E died of AIDS. Rest in peace to Eazy-E, but I just want my father to be free."
 

Are you aware of whether his health has improved since the blood clot and emergency appendix surgery?
No, I wouldn't know. My only way of finding out information from my dad is through his lawyer, Thaddeus [Culpepper]. Recently, my father wrote me a note saying, "Suge, I thank you for coming. I love you, son, don't worry. Stay strong, and try your best to honor me. I know you can do it." That's my only communication with him. No one can speak to him. The only people that have really been to the hearings are his lawyers who sit behind him with my grandparents who are my dad's parents. These people, they treat them with no respect either. They don't assist them with anything. My grandmother, she needs wheelchair access. My grandfather is 77 and he still works now. He has to be there to help out, and he's old with bad knees. People don't really know what's going on. There's no revenge-seeking. We just want some peace. That's all I'm fighting for is peace. 

I'm trying to also put together a peaceful protest for the next court date on March 27. 

That’s a lot for a 21 year old.
Without a doubt. I wouldn't want anyone else speaking for my dad other than me, though. There's a reason he gave me this name. 

At any point, did you ever second-guess posting it because of the attention it might bring?
Before I posted the picture of him I did. I'm really private about my personal life, especially with things like that. Those things still hurt me. I'm not really an emotional type of person, and I didn't drop a tear yet. I didn't want my dad to see me broken and we don't cry. But it still hurt me. It took a whole lot out of me. I didn't want him to see me in tears, you know? I just gave him a smile and tell him that I love him. Those were really the only few words I was allowed to say to him in the hearing that was only 15 minutes. After that, we were rushed out by the prosecutor who said nothing but how busy they were that day.

To me, it just makes no sense as to why they're prolonging everything anyway.


"He went into deep depression after Tupac died. People don't know that 'Pac actually tried to save my dad's life, and when he tried to go through the sunroof of the car, my dad ducked."
 

In the midst of you asking for mercy on him, there were those who dug up old rumors about Suge’s involvement with several deaths — including Tupac and Eazy-E — and how he spared no mercy on others he is rumored to have killed. Does that affect you at all?
They say he killed Tupac. Well, I don't know how he killed him when my father took a bullet to the head while he was in that car. He went into deep depression after Tupac died. People don't know that 'Pac actually tried to save my dad's life, and when he tried to go through the sunroof of the car and my dad ducked. That's why most of 'Pac's gunshots were in his abdomen area on the side. People don't understand anything but what they've seen or heard from documentaries not the facts. I still don't let it get to me because fans are misguided and oblivious to what really goes on. But there's still people coming on my post saying, "F**k your dad. He's a murderer, he's an anti-Christ." I want everyone to think back and understand who is really the monster. Is it Suge? Suge hasn't done anything to anybody. Yeah, there's stories of what he's done. But now that he's locked up, there's people coming out saying what he's done to them without him having a chance to defend himself. If I'm lying, God strike me right now. This isn't about money or anything. It's simply about giving someone a fair shot.

And it sort of affects me because it's like, who wants to hear that? But then it doesn't really hurt me all the way because I know those are not his actual fans. His real fans would know that no sense is made of that. Anyone who's a real businessman would ask, "Why would you put so much money into someone then hire for them to be killed?" That makes no sense. I question why they're going so hard at my dad when there are other rappers and artists who charge their fans thousands of dollars for tennis shoes or concert tickets and still support them. Rappers with actual rape cases, and they still get support. These people don't have actual evidence of my father killing Tupac or Eazy-E, so fans pick and choose what sins they want to support and which ones they don't. 

Is there anything you’d currently like to communicate to your father, his fans and even those who have thrown stones at him?
Please keep him in your prayers. If you want to help out, be vocal and pray. A voice is important. If I'm being vocal about it, I have no problem with others following behind me and I'll make sure everything is OK. I've chosen to speak out and take that role.

Written by Diamond Alexis

(Photos: Suge Jacob Knight)

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