Suge Knight To Pen Autobiography

Penguin Putnam imprint Riverhead Books has acquired the rights to Death Row Records head honcho Marion "Suge" Knight's autobiography. The mogul will begin work on the volume in the coming weeks, with

Penguin Putnam imprint Riverhead Books has acquired the rights to Death Row Records head honcho Marion "Suge" Knight's autobiography. The mogul will begin work on the volume in the coming weeks, with a target hardcover release date of late 2003. Knight was released from prison last August after serving more than five years for a probation violation. He is back at the helm of Death Row, now renamed Tha Row Records.

The as-yet-untitled book will detail Knight's rise from the streets of Compton, Calif., his stint as a professional football player, and his eventual creation of Death Row, which was home to Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and the late Tupac Shakur in the '90s. "He travels through this world of the inner city and then into the world of the music business and does it in utterly maverick way," Riverhead co-editorial director Julie Grau tells Billboard.com. "That's what makes his personal story so compelling. There's real highs and real lows. Fame, money, bottoming out, and betrayals. Every element is present here for an unbelievable story."

Just as hip-hop's appeal has exploded into mainstream culture, Grau says Knight's autobiography should have a similar draw to readers of all types. "I think he is in a unique position to illuminate what has been a bona fide revolution in music and culture in the past couple of decades," she says. "Suge's story -- and in particular, him telling his story -- is a rare opportunity to understand why hip-hop has captured American culture, regardless of race. Kids in the malls in Indiana are going to be buying this book."

"I see this book as another opportunity to give back to the community," Knight said in a statement. "I want young people to know how terrible prison is. I want them to understand the importance of education -- that there are more ways to get out of the ghetto than by being an athlete or a rapper. I want them to dream about success and then make it happen."