Was Marion ‘Suge’ Knight shot over a book proposal?

Marion "Suge" Knight inside his recording studio in 2002, at about the time he sold a proposed book that was never published.
Marion “Suge” Knight inside his recording studio in 2002, at about the time he sold a proposed book that was never published.
(Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)

It’s not often that you hear about assassination attempts linked to book proposals. Writing a book pitch, after all, is a notoriously quixotic thing to do. Publishers routinely “kill” books simply by rejecting them. And Americans are so blasé about books, it’s hard to imagine anyone would resort to attempted murder to prevent a book from making it to print.

But that’s one of the theories floating around to explain why a gunman opened fire on the former rap impresario Marion “Suge” Knight in West Hollywood last week. According to gossip collectors over at the New York Post’s Page Six, the shooting may have been an attempt to “discourage” Knight from writing a book.

Three people, including Knight, were wounded in the gunfire at the 1Oak club in West Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard, at a party in honor of Chris Brown and his new album.

“Music insiders are buzzing that Knight is shopping a story on his career, from founding Death Row Records in the early ’90s to his hard-handed business dealings, including the legendary tale of holding Vanilla Ice over a hotel balcony to obtain rights to his radio hit ‘Ice Ice Baby,’” Page Six writes. “Knight was also driving the BMW in which Tupac Shakur was fatally shot by an unknown assailant.”


Knight actually shopped that book proposal around before, and sold it, to Riverhead Books in 2002. The book had a 2003 publishing date, and a title: “American Nightmare, American Dream.” But it never appeared. You can find traces of that never-published work at Google Books.

“For the first time, Knight publicly addresses such subjects as the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls,” a summary for the 2003 book reads, and “his notorious run-ins with music executives and producers; and countless provocative incidents involving former colleagues and friends, including Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Vanilla Ice, Berry Gordy, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, and Jennifer Lopez…”

Two years after the release date for that book that was never released, Knight was shot in the leg at a 2005 pre-Video Music Awards party hosted by hip-hop artist Kanye West in Miami. Knight has also filed for bankruptcy, and had several run-ins with the law.

In the West Hollywood shooting last week, Knight was struck multiple times, but has since been released from the hospital.


Fox also reported this week that, according to “multiple sources,” Knight was at work on “an authorized biography” that would reveal new information about the infamous West Coast/East Coast rap feud of the 1990s. He was also at work on a “shocking” screenplay about the Shakur shooting.

As one souce told Page Six: “Suge doing a tell-all book would be a huge best-seller, and probably one of the few things he could do.”

Hector tweets about topics literary as @TobarWriter