Marion "Suge" Knight's life as a rap impresario was also closely aligned with legal problems.
His first appearance in the pages of the Los Angeles Times came in 1993, when he was accused of using a gun to attack two aspiring rappers.
Even as his role in the record business faded over the next two decades, he continued to have regular run-ins with the law.
Here is a timeline largely compiled by the Associated Press:
1996: Knight was sent to prison for nearly five years after the brutal beating of a rival of rapper Tupac Shakur's at a Las Vegas hotel; the beating occurred just hours before Shakur suffered fatal gunshot wounds.
2002: Knight was jailed for violating his probation by associating with gang members in Los Angeles.
2003: After punching a parking lot attendant outside a Hollywood nightclub, Knight was jailed on a parole violation.
2005: During an MTV Video Music Awards pre-party in Miami, Knight was shot in the leg. No arrests were made.
2006: Death Row Records, which Knight helped found and was chief executive of, filed for bankruptcy and a Los Angeles judge ordered its takeover by a trustee because of gross mismanagement.
2009: After a fight at a hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., Knight was hospitalized for treatment of facial injuries.
2013: Knight was arrested on an outstanding warrant and later released after being pulled over on a traffic violation in Los Angeles.
2014: Ahead of the MTV Video Music Awards, Knight was shot during an altercation at a Hollywood nightclub at a party not affiliated with the cable network.
2014: Knight was charged with a robbery involving a camera theft in Beverly Hills. He has pleaded not guilty and faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted.
2015: Knight is arrested on suspicion of murder after he allegedly ran over two men, one fatally, in Compton on Jan. 29.