There is no doubt that the rise of Death Row Records and the artists signed to that monumental label can be attributed almost singlehandedly to Marion “Suge” Knight. His unorthodox methods of maintaining Death Row’s position at the top of the game may have contributed to the head of Death Row’s downfall.
With the current state of Suge Knight’s three year old murder trial looming along with the unsuspecting arrest of the former Death Row CEO’s fiancée Toi-Lin Kelly and the subpoena of the phone of the producer of the highly anticipated docu-series, Death Row Chronicles is a must watch for Hip Hop aficionados who are still unofficially investigating the crimes that followed the East vs. West rap wars.
After the subpoena for the cell phone of Death Row Chronicles producer Nora Donaghy was issued just weeks ago, the content of the phone conversations in question is what LA County authorities want to hear, but for viewers of the first episode of the BET documentary, Suge’s voice via jail phone is the most intimately accurate commentary in terms of the origins of Death Row Records. The urban legend stories about Suge hanging Vanilla Ice from a hotel balcony in order to sign song releases to having a reluctant Eazy-E beat up and threatened to the point of releasing Dr. Dre from his Ruthless Records contract are fables of hood lore that only Suge Knight could give specific details about that everybody wants to hear.
The documentary shows more in the spirit of a gangster story rather than that of a record label, with its financial beginnings starting in a federal prison visiting room between reputed gangster Michael “Harry-O” Harris and Knight. From the continuous mentions of the Bloods and Crips being so covertly woven among the who’s who of Hollywood to Bobby Brown allegedly asking Suge for help in order keep from getting killed, Death Row Records really lives up to the name that it was given by Harry-O back in 1992.
Check out the BET documentary Death Row Chronicles tonight at 8pm EST/7pm CST.