Rap industry mogul Marion “Suge” Knight is in the Magnolia state attending a family reunion in the River City. He has upcoming projects involving Lisa Lopes and plans for promoting artists and other projects in the South.
“One thing about the South,” Knight says, “everybody is considered family.”
It was a hot steamy Sunday in Vicksburg where newly renamed The Row Records president Marion “Suge” Knight is spending time with family and friends at a special celebration….
His parents, Marion and Maxine Knight, are Vicksburg natives who moved to Los Angeles in 1967.
Although born and raised in L.A., the record label president often visited Mississippi.
“Far as my mother, my father, my grandmother, this is where our roots are,” Knight says. “I want to always come back visit with the kids.”
“My son Suge is the baby,” Maxine Knight said. “He was always spoiled, because that’s the only son we had. I’m very proud of my son. He’s the type of person that no one will ever forget. He loves kids and he loves everybody, and believe it or not everybody loves him.”
Time is precious for the 36-year-old, who was released from prison in April after serving five years on assault-related charges. While behind bars he says he grew more spiritually and continued to give back to the community, hosting annual Mother’s Day dinners for single mothers and their children and doing the same on Father’s Day.
“A lot of guys are incarcerated 15 or 20 years, never seeing their kids or their mothers because they can’t make it that far into the prison,” he says. “I think it’s really important for those kids to really get that message from their daddy, when they say ‘Look, stay in school, get your education and don’t end up in here in prison.’”
With the controversy behind him now, the multi-millionaire record executive is looking forward to the future.
“We have a great family at The Row,” he says. “I changed the name from Death Row to The Row — more positive.”
He will soon release the album Fantasy featuring the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of the hip-hop group TLC. Lopes died in April.
“The first single was her and Tupac called Untouchable, ” he says. “That’s a really hard project for me to finish because she really meant a lot to us.”
Knight was reluctant to embark on the project because of the singer’s tragic death, but he now he has plans for recording artists in the South.
“I want to do some blues stuff, give the older people some scenes to do,” the CEO says. “And I’ve definitely got to do some gospel, because that is where my heart is.”
But for now it’s about seeing relatives at the family reunion and spending time with kids like his cousin, nine-year-old Todd Baquet of Chicago.
“I like it, because he’s in my family and we played basketball against some people and we won,” Baquet says.
Knight says he does not consider himself a celebrity or a role model but does want to inspire young people to fulfill their dreams.
He says going to prison for five years gave him the opportunity to really get inside himself and know who he really cares about.
The chief executive of the $125 million record empire is in the process of writing a book about his life.
Proceeds from the Lisa Lopes single will go to her family and hospitals in Honduras, where Lopes had a home at the time of her death.