Kurupt Opens Up About Suge Knight & The Man He Killed (Video)
Of all the Death Row Records artists, Kurupt was the most prominent to be with the label for stints in the 1990s and 2000s. While the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native MC only released one solo album at the imprint (2005’s Against Tha Grain), he was hugely responsible for the label’s success in the mid-1990s, thanks in large part to Tha Dogg Pound’s multi-platinum 1995 debut, Dogg Food.
In a recently-released video interview with Vlad TV, the artist who would leave the label shortly after Tupac Shakur’s 1996 murder spoke about its founder Suge Knight, and the January 2015 incident that may cost him his freedom for the rest of his life. “I wish him the best, it’s a good nigga that was taken away, cuzz,” said Kurupt. Notably, the veteran MC eluded questions surrounding his early 2000s role as president at Death Row, during a stint when Crooked I, Lisa Left-Eye Lopes (as “N.I.N.A.”), and Petey Pablo were among the roster talent. Joking that it was “1974” and “1988,” the DPG co-founder opted not to speak on that tenure, during which Suge Knight was newly-released from prison following his late 1996 probation violation, which took place the night Tupac was fatally shot and the label mogul was also struck by gunfire in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The interview pressed Kurupt about his knowledge of Terry Carter, the California man who was killed when Knight’s Ford truck ran over him during an altercation in Compton, California earlier this year. Carter, a music industry executive himself was fatally injured, as Cle “Bone” Sloan was severely injured following an interaction with Knight that started on the set of Straight Outta Compton. Video surveillance of the incident has caused speculation as to whether Carter was engaged in the altercation, or trying to avoid escape. The deceased’s family has encouraged the video be shared to suggest he was fatally attacked, while Knight’s defense has referred to Carter as “a friend.”
Kurupt is somebody who knew both men. He publicly elaborated, “We all knew Terry [Carter. He was] a very good man. I’m gonna tell you the truth: California loved Terry Carter, cuzz. He was loved by all neighborhoods…he was a very well-loved man in these streets.” DJ Vlad included interview footage from Tha Eastsidaz’ Tray Deee, who revealed that Carter had managed the Snoop Dogg-backed group during their early 2000s reign. Tray was previously signed by Doggystyle/Death Row Records during his mid-’90s days in The LBC Gang. Tray called Carter “a mentor” to would-be Death Row co-founder, Marion “Suge” Knight. Carter also managed onetime Ice Cube protege, Mr. Short K-Hop.
“Ain’t too many people in this game and in these streets that didn’t have love for [Terry Carter], or didn’t look up to cuzz. He was a big boy in this game; he was not your normal fish in the pond. He was in the sea,” Kurupt declared. “Two real ones was taken away; I love Suge [Knight].” Looking at the success of Tha Dogg Pound, Kurupt stated, “He changed our lives. He took us out of the streets.” In the film Straight Outta Compton, a scene involving Knight alludes to a real-life dispute surrounding Kurupt’s previous management. However, the heralded bi-coastal lyricist maintains, “If you was on Death Row, and you was on our level, you was taken care of.”
Further elaborating, Kurupt recalled a 1990s arrest in Inglewood, California after he evaded police while in traffic. The Rap star was apprehended in Inglewood and detained—a local holding cell with rival Blood gang members to his own Crip affiliation. “It’s over right there; I’m done!,” Kurupt recalled thinking as fellow inmates mistook him for band-mate Daz Dillinger. As Kurupt’s girlfriend got in touch with the Death Row brass, the MC was released on bond. “Suge got me out just like [that]. He did his thing like that. We had a gangsta boss. All of us was just bad as fuck.” Kurupt, who later signed with Antra/A&M Records said, “We was from the streets, man—just young Crips. He loved that shit about us…When we got in sticky situations, Suge always came through.”
Speaking of the forthcoming trial that could put Knight behind bars for the rest of his life, Kurupt declared, “I wish him the best. Basically, it takes two niggas off the streets, either way it goes. Terry’s gone. And now Suge [could] be gone. I mean, the police get what they want out of it, no matter what. Hopefully it’ll be good for him, no matter what. Because the [public] image of Suge is not really who Suge is. He always been cool with me, man.”