Author Topic: Sanyika Shakur reflects on his behind-bars conversations with suge knight 1997  (Read 3181 times)

aerroc

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In his first few days in prison, Suge Knight confided in fellow convict Sanyika Shakur (a.k.a. Monster Kody). Sanyika, now a free man, reveals what Suge told him really happened the night Tupac was shot.
I been in these stoops since i was fifteen. This is what i said to Suge as we ambled down the massive central corridor at the California Institute for Men (CIM, or Chino) in Chino, California. He and I both had our hands cuffed behind our backs as we were escorted by two correctional officers with P-24 battle batons.

"Face the fucking wall," barked a jar-headed correctional officer in army fatigues. Prisoners who'd been traversing the corridor just prior to our exit from Segregated Housing Unit edged closer to the yellow wall while stealing glimpses in our direction.

"Man," said Suge, swaggering in an attempt to look comfortable, "this shit is hectic.".

Yeah, I responded, trailing behind his big frame. Welcome to the terror zone.

Constructed in 1941, Chino is not simply a prison but a complex of many prisons. A monument of razor wire and cinder block, it stands as one of the tightes maximum-security facilities in southern California. The archaic cell blocks that extend from the central cooridor stretch threee tiers above the floor with as many as thirty-six cells to a tier. Each eight-foot-by-nine-foot cells holds two men for up twenty-three hours a day.

On the east end of the corrior sits Plam Hall-or the Hole, as prisoners call it-CIM's answer to disciplinary problems and security risks. The Guards in Palm Hall don't wear the usual uniform; they floss around the block in army green jumpsuits, spear-proof flak jackets, and combat boots. As the guards' gear suggests, the Hole has seen its share of warfare. It was under all this concrete, steel, and animosity that i met Suge Knight.

I knew he'd be coming to Palm Hall perhaps even before he did. I reasoned that as a celebrity he'd be held in Involuntary Protective Custody (IPC)-just as Makaveli, then known as Tupac Shakur (no relation to me), was in 1995 at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York. Before my honorable discharge from the Eight Tray Gangster Crips (when i was known as Monster Kody), I had rund up a karmic debt myself-which i repaid during many years behind bars-but the poetic justice of Suge's fate seemed even more profound.

The last time I had seen Makaveli was in April of 1996 during the vidoe shoot for the X-rated version of "How Do U Want It.". I was on the run, about to go back to prison for a parole violation, and Makaveli was blowing up. But even then his stress was evident. We both had our demons.

After Makaveli was shot, I procured an avenue for news clippings to trickle in so I could keep up with the case. On hearing of his death, my first thought was that Suge had him set up. I had no evidence but had heard that a feud was brewing over contractual matters, including Makaveli's firing his lawyer, David Kenner, and his wanting to leave Death Row to start his own label. I read and reread all the news clippings about the shooting. Things kept fitting ill to me.

I'd read that he had no vest on and then saw a photo in VIBE to substantiate this fact. Yet in my experience, Makaveli went nowhere without a vest or his heat. And if his killers were the Southside Crips, with whom he's supposedly fought that evening, why didn't the shooter dump on every car in the caravan? Suge's entourage was allegedly made up of top-ranking (Blood) Pirus, so why would a Crip pass up all those points to shoot someone who wasn't even a Blood? These thoughts ran through my head before i met the man.

In December 1996, Suge came to Palm Hall as i predicted. On top of his never having been in prison-despite his numerous convictions-Suge was staying in the Hole, where he would find it hard to breathe. I knew I'd be able to extract some inside information on Makaveli's shooting.

We'd never met on the streets. Although our sets don't get along, we never had any combat because of the distance between South Central and Compton. Besides, we were both in our thirties and had no time for red and blue rivalries. Out on the street, I'd heard that Suge was "on some Piru shit." But in here, neither his wealth nor my reputation mattered. We were equals, and that's how I approached him.
I knew that coming from L.A. County Jail he would have nothing. I wrote him a brief letter introducing myself and explaining the politics of the Hole. With the letter I included soap, deodorant, lotion, and a few Top Ramen soups. I put all of this in a big envelope and had it rushed to him. The next day he replied:

A Monster,
Good looking out. I wish we could hook up on the streets but it is never to (sic) late. My homeboy Poc (sic) had love for you so you know how it go if he had love for somebody I did too. He told me he would have been playing you in your life story. When the time is right we will talk.
Suge

I couldn't believe it. This man was the CEO of a hundred-and-twenty-five-million dollar company, yet his writing was no better, perhaps even worse, than my seven-year-old son's. Perhaps the brotha was just stressed out and wrote the letter in haste. I sent him a kite-a letter weighted with soap and tied to a long strip of bedsheet that gets delivered by being thrown from cell to cell-acknowledging receipt of his note and advising him to push the issue of going to general population. The following day he responded with a note that said I should let Death Row do the soundtrack for a movie about my life. The writing, like before, was in clumsy stick fashion.




I used some prison connections to get Suge and I put on the law-library list together. This way we'd be next to one another for at least three hours a week. I was a bit apprehensive preparing for our first meeting. After all, I'd seen men in and our of prison actually tremble when speaking about him.

Before I'd be unarmed. I'm sure Suge had to go through the same routine: Lift your arms up; stick out your tounge; pull back your ears; lift up your nut sack; bend at the waist; spread your cheeks and cough; lift your right foot; now your left. Any false teeth, dentures, or partials? You either complied or never came out of the cell. On went the cuffs, open came the door. When I reached the bottom of the stairs, I saw Suge facing the wall to my left. I eased over to him, noting his dimensions-six foot four, 330 pounds-in case things got out of hand.

"What's up, homie?" I was momentarily taken aback by his jovial greeting. I expected a harsher "I'm Suge Knight" type of response. I said I was well and just taking it one day at a time. We were escorted through two security doors and out into the law library, where we were put into gray, telephone booth-size cages. After the cages were secured with Yale padlocks, the handcuffs were removed. Suge was in his cage; I was in mine.

"Eh, Monster," he said, breaking the ice, "I heard Geronimo Pratt was here too?" I told Suge that Pratt left the same day Suge came; in fact, he had taken Geronimo's cell. It sort of irked me that he called me Monster after I had clearly signed each letter Sanyika. What if i used his banging name and called him Sugar Bear? I asked how he was doing so far.

"Man," he said, exhaling a tremendous amount of air, "this whole thing is a trip. I'm losing weight. I can't use no phone or get contact visits. And what's up with that tier they got me on? Fools be yelling and shit." Clearly, he was going through it. They had no shoes to fit him, so his man from VNG (Van Ness Gangsters) gave him some shower shoes. In return he gave the guy a photo of a half-naked woman taken at Makaveli's birthday party in Vegas. Suge's orange jumpsuit was two sizes too small. And on this day, he had only one side of his head shaved.

"Ain't that cold," he said when I asked about it. "The razor broke. I asked the police for another one, but they never came back. Plus, how I'm s'posed to shave and shower in ten minutes?"
Perhaps I'd been in these stoops too long. Most prisoners I knew could shower, shave, masturbate, and get their shoes on before the door opened again.

"I read your book," he said, "and seen you and your family on that documentary. Your moms is a strong woman." I thanked him for the compliment about moms and then asked about Makaveli.
"That's my best friend," he said, speaking in present tense. "We go everywhere together." He started reminiscing about the wild times he and 'Pac had at Suge's Las Vegas nightclub. "We used to close up 662 at twelve, lock the doors, and give out free drinks and just get our freak on!"

How was my bo, though?

"He was the happiest he said he's ever been. Did you see the lowrider I got him?"

No, I hadn't seen it. Why all this talk about cars?

"Yeah, we got one just alike, 1961. He never drives it, thoug. I'm gonna get the engine and all that chromed up. "Why would you have his car?" I wanted to yell at him. And why would you still be working on it now? My mind was racing. So, y'all got some lo-lo's, huh? I asked just to see where he'd go with it.

"Oh yeah, we got everything alike," Suge replied. "The Jags, the Bentleys. We even had the contest to see who could get the most women to tattoo our name on them." He chuckled at this for a long while.
When we met the following week, Suge's jumpsuit was fitting slightly looser. No sooner had we made it through the door than the library clerk named Reverend Stern started yapping. "Hey, I just saw you on the news this morning." Both Suge and I asked who.

"You," he answered, indicating Suge with a nod.

"Oh yeah?" said Suge, his voice indicating more concern than he intended.

"The DA says he's filing a three-strikes case against you for an old assault charge." To this Suge said nothing, and the silence became pregnant.

"Whatcha think about that?" asked Rev. Stern, leaning over a graffiti-scarred banister.

"That's noting," replied Suge, his husky voice rising an octave. "Just the same old bullshit. I ain't worried. You know, it's like with this violation here: At first they said it was beause I lfet the country. Then they said I had a dirty test. When that didn't work, they brought up the fight in Vegas. They just fuckin' with me."

The cage squeaked against his shifting body weight. The supposed third strike stemmed from the beating of a Bad Boy Records promoer at a 1995 Death Row Christmas party. The case was filed but never prosecuted. Now, all Suge's prior infractions were being reviewed.

I'd heard that Afeni, Makaveli's mom, had gotten a three-million-dollar royalty check from Interscope, so I asked about this. "Naw," Suge said with a tone of disgust. "I gave here that money. She got some lawyer who says he's been a friend of the family for twenty years, talkin' 'bout 'Pac had a bad contract. That's bullshit. When he was on Interscope, he was only gettin' four points. I got him eighteen points. And they talkin' 'bout he was cheated. 'Pac was happy. You seen all his jewelry, right?" I felt Suge was changing the subject again.

"Monster, listen, when I went out to New York to see 'Pac, he was stressed out. He wanted to get out of prison. Don't you know, he told me that I could have all of his songs for thirty thousand dollars if I just got him out of jail? I told him naw, to keep his songs, but I'd get him out. He said he'd always wanted a rag Benz, so I got him one. Plus, I got his mother a house. I'll tell you this homie, God don't like ugly."
We'd all seen the black 500 droptop. And the house. Not one vehicle, however-not the Benz, the Jag, the Rolls, the Hummer, or the lolo-was in Makaveli's name. All the jewelry, the limbo bills, and hotel accommodations were stacked against Makaveli like an advance. According to Suge, Makaveli left owing him-after sicty million dollars' worth of album sales in 1996 alone. Imagine that.

Impatient, I asked about the shooting.

"Earlier that day," Suge began in a solemn tone, "dude snatched a necklage with the Death Row coat of arms. 'Pac was upset about that. You know how we gets: when it's on, it's on. Then, later that night, 'Pac sees fool. So we touched him up a bit, you know. Still didn't get that necklace, though. The we go on back to my spot, change, and hang out a bit; trying to find some freaks to come to the club. Tyson had won, and we was going to celebrate. 'Pac was trippin', though. All that day, he was talkin' 'bout how he never wanted to go back to prison. Never.

"Anyway, we rollin'; everything is tight. We talkin' 'bout this and that when all of a sudden, boom, boom, boom, boom! We start takin' heavy hits. I punch it; bust a U-turn, but realize I got a flat. Then I see 'Pac is hit. But he still talkin', like it ain't nothing. My head was bleedin', and 'Pac said I should be the one sweatin' it 'cause I got shot in the head. Then the Vegas police come and draw down on us; they f'in to shoot us! We trying to tell 'em that we the victims, but they make us get down on the ground anyway."

He fell silent, as it overwhelmed by the rush of memories. I too was still talking after the shooting. Who shot him? I asked, feeling myself getting angry.

"You know who did it?" Suge said, grittin' his teeth. "Them niggas that's catchin' heel right now." I knew he was talking about the Southside Crips. In the days following Makaveli's shooting, their 'hood was practically overrun by shooters. Yet his answer was insufficient, and i pressed again: Who specifically dumped, though?

"Baby Lane," he said and exhaled. I assumed he meant Orlando Anderson, the Compton resident who'd already been named as a suspect in the shooting. By the end of our conversation, Suge's legendary bravado was gone. A humble respect descended over him that reminded me of a defeated man who'd lost his most prized possession in the game of life. For some of us, there just ain't no sunshine.

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what are your thoughts about it? lets discuss this interview ;D
 

DeeezNuuuts83

It's an old interview that has been available for the past fifteen years... was there something specific about it that you wanted to talk about?
 

aerroc

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It's an old interview that has been available for the past fifteen years... was there something specific about it that you wanted to talk about?

no just posted for those who may have missed it
 

kuruptlon

Thanks for posting never seen this before. Interesting perspective on the situation. Sounds like Suge was pretty delusional at the time. Where's this interview from?
 

Black Excellence

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Thanks for posting never seen this before. Interesting perspective on the situation. Sounds like Suge was pretty delusional at the time. Where's this interview from?
vibe magazine wit puff on the cover '97.
"Summa y'all #mediocres more worried bout my goings on than u is about ya own.... But that ain't none of my business so.....I'll just #SipTeaForKermit #ifitaintaboutdamoney #2sugarspleaseFollow," - T.I.
 

DeeezNuuuts83

^ And it was reprinted in the VIBE biography of Pac.
 

The Predator

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Interesting throwback read.
 

h2k4

Never saw this before, thanks.  There's always going to be two sides to every story: one that says Pac hated Suge and felt like he was being screwed and the other is that he loved Suge and there were no problems.  I'm sure the truth is somewhere down the middle but nobody will know for sure.  It's just a shame what Afeni is doing to Pac's music/legacy.  I wonder if Death Row was still around, what Suge would do with the original material.
 

PhunkyDoob

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These are facts, nothing split in the middle. Only conspiracy theorist believe Suge set him up.

Lane, his uncle and 2 other dudes was in that car & blasted, thats it. Due to him naming himself Makaveli & the media making Suge a suspect people started to question things. If anyone killed 2pac
Suge had nothing to do with it. Now with Biggie i cant tell. I dont know. But 2pac? No, smh. Everybody knows this but wanna spin shit around to let impressionable internet cats eat shit up, just like the "2pac is alive" shit was & still has been spun around for over 15 years & ppl actually believing it. But of course, these are the same ppl who act like 2pac was the face of "anti-illuminati" even though he didnt even believe in it & was trying to denounce those theories, hence the name Killuminati. But weirdos took it another way of course.
 

h2k4

These are facts, nothing split in the middle. Only conspiracy theorist believe Suge set him up.

Lane, his uncle and 2 other dudes was in that car & blasted, thats it. Due to him naming himself Makaveli & the media making Suge a suspect people started to question things. If anyone killed 2pac
Suge had nothing to do with it. Now with Biggie i cant tell. I dont know. But 2pac? No, smh. Everybody knows this but wanna spin shit around to let impressionable internet cats eat shit up, just like the "2pac is alive" shit was & still has been spun around for over 15 years & ppl actually believing it. But of course, these are the same ppl who act like 2pac was the face of "anti-illuminati" even though he didnt even believe in it & was trying to denounce those theories, hence the name Killuminati. But weirdos took it another way of course.

I'm talking about the relationship that Suge and Pac had.  Not about whether Suge was involved in his death or not.