In a recent conversation with Nick Cannon, Suge Knight claimed he made a significant investment in Deion Sanders’ rap career during the Death Row Records era. Knight claimed to have poured over half a million dollars into supporting the former NFL star’s venture into the music industry, which included studio time and collaboration with renowned producer Dallas Austin. However, Knight said there was a twist in the story, suggesting that Deion Sanders, now head football coach at the University of Colorado Boulder, had reservations about working with a Black-owned company like Death Row–according to Knight.
According to Suge…
“When Prime wanted to be a rapper…I spent over half a million dollars of my own money,” Knight told Cannon on the Oct. 31 episode of “The Daily Cannon” podcast. “I put guys in the studio, I paid Dallas Austin, I did all these songs, did everything. Then one day he came to me and said, ‘Well, Prime’s deal with Nike and Death Row is a Black-owned company, and we don’t really want to deal with a Black-owned company, even though you paid for everything…We signed to you, put us on the Interscope label brand.”
In 1992, Interscope acquired the exclusive rights to market and distribute releases from Death Row Records.
According to Knight, he approached Jimmy Iovine, co-founder of Interscope Records, to transfer Sanders to the Interscope label. Iovine allegedly agreed.
“So I go to Jimmy [Iovine], say, ‘Look, I paid for everything. The contract’s with me but could you put him out on Interscope.’ They’re like, ‘Oh yeah, [I’ll] do that—anything for you Mr. Knight.’ And so if Prime performing somewhere, I’m taking a private plane to make sure everything’s good. But not one day did anybody give me a dollar back,” Knight claimed.
Deion Sanders, famed for his sports accolades, did release a debut album in 1994, “Prime Time” but it was through M.C. Hammer’s Burst It Records via Capitol Records, reported Forbes. There is no explanation how Sanders, if indeed signed to Death Row/Interscope, got out of his deal to record for Hammer.
According to Suge, Sanders seemed to want to work with Interscope to sidestep any issues with Nike, with which Sanders signed an endorsement deal in 1992.
Knight Back in Spotlight From Prison
Knight, serving out his 28-year prison sentence for a 2015 hit-and-run murder, currently hosts his own podcast, “Collect Calls With Suge Knight,” which he launched on Halloween. The podcast was created in with Dave Mays, co-founder of The Source and the CEO of Breakbeat Media.
Interestingly, it was announced in 2019, that Cannon was writing a book on Suge Knight. No word on when and if it will be published.