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Suge Knight’s “Straight Outta Compton”

Cover Design James Copper (121136)
Cover Design James Copper

In the mid-1980s, the streets of Compton, Calif., were some of the most dangerous in the country. When five young men translated their experiences growing up there into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, they gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation. The movie—“N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton”—tells the astonishing story of how these young men revolutionized music and pop culture forever the moment they told the world the truth about life in the ’hood; they ignited a cultural war.

Starring O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell respectfully as Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E, Straight Outta Compton is directed by F. Gary Gray (“Friday,” “Set It Off,” “The Italian Job”). The drama is produced by original N.W.A. members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, joined by fellow producers Matt Alvarez and Tomica Woods-Wright. Will Packer serves as executive producer of the film alongside Gray.

The above paragraph was taken from the official website for “Straight Outta Compton,” a documentary about the meteoric rise and fall of the Compton, Calif.-based group, whose initials stood for N—–z With Attitude (N.W.A). The members included former drug dealer-turned-record-label founder Eazy-E (Eric Lynn Wright), a DJ known as  Dr. Dre (Andre Romelle Young) and the urban poet Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson) plus MC Ren (Lorenzo Jerald Patterson) and DJ Yella (Antoine Carraby). Another member, Arabian Prince, left N.W.A before the group released the groundbreaking debut album “Straight Outta Compton” in 1988.

N.W.A. fell victim to the familiar divisive issues of being a newly successful music group—paranoia, egos, jealousy—and the group eventually dispersed in 1991. Eazy-E’s 1995 death from AIDS created an atmosphere of reflection and may have set the remaining ex-members on a mission to reunite and forget past issues, according to Borys Kit of the Hollywood Reporter.

Long-time Compton resident Gary Johnson, who resides on Elm Street where some of the film’s production is taking place, had a gut-level feeling there was going to be trouble, when he was told by a security staff member that rap impressario Marion “Suge” Knight (who had a somewhat sordid history with members of the group as a result of his unfavorable business practices) was not going to be a part of the production team. Johnson also felt that due to the close geographical proximity of Blood and Crip gangs to the taping of the film, that Knight would likely stop by the location during filming, feeling safe because of his affiliation with the neighborhood.

Though Knight is rumored to be portrayed in the film, conflict allegedly arose because Dr. Dre never asked Knight for permission to use his likeness. This was purportedly a catalyst to the conflict that resulted in the death of Terry Wayne Carter.

Sources connected to Knight told TMZ that the rap mogul got word he was included in the film, and wanted to talk to Dr. Dre about how he was being portrayed. Carter, who many have referred to as a “well liked” individual was attempting to set up a meeting to resolve the issue. Most individuals who have had dealings with Knight felt he was upset at being excluded from a production that was taking place in Compton, a city he felt he controlled.

In researching this article, individuals from South Los Angeles and Las Vegas (Los Angeles natives)—many gang members or gang-affiliated individuals—were interviewed under condition of anonymity.

What seems to have happened is on Friday Jan. 30, Knight was involved in a fatal pedestrian crash  in Compton. Carter died at the hospital following the crash. The other victim, a 51-year-old actor named Cle Sloan sustained undisclosed injuries.

The majority of people interviewed believe Knight did not intend to run over Carter due to their amiable relationship. The incident reportedly occurred when a conflict with Sloan escalated and individuals in his entourage began to approach Knight who then panicked and attempted to flee, striking Carter and Slaon in the process.

It is unclear why the incident between Sloan and Knight escalated to violence. Rumors are circulating that Knight felt slighted about being completely left out of the film; he felt he should have played himself.

Carter has been identified as a tow truck driver, an actor from the 1970s science fiction series “Battlestar Galactica” and finally by his true calling as a peacemaker.

A South Bay Harley Davidson shop is bursting at the seams with motorcycles painted in bright fluorescent colors. Operated by a former Knight rival gang member, Nate, speaks passionately about Carter. He attended the service to pay his respects hoping to get a last glimpse of his former friend, that he had not seen in years. He was saddened because it was a closed casket service. He did not stay long because he knew Carter was not there to protect him if he was approached by former rivals (Bloods). He remembers how Carter got out of the drug game and dedicated the remainder of his life to keeping the peace and putting together entertainment deals. Carter always felt that the industry had enough money for everybody. He had respect and contacts into the inner circle of the “West Coast” rap industry. By the time Carter left the game many years ago, he and his signature Red Bentley were well known throughout Compton and South Los Angeles. What was more memorable than his Bentley was his reputation. As long as he was in the game, he never messed anyone over, said Nate. Carter was indeed a friend of Knight and was instrumental in attempting to mentor Suge. One project they had discussed was a movie about the life of Tupac Shakur some time ago, said Nate.

When asked about his years of selling drugs, Nate said society can not judge him and those like him for selling drugs, because jobs do not exist and people have to survive. “I guarantee if you talk to anyone who knew Carter, they would tell you this: ‘He was a great guy and a peace maker. ‘”

One gang member of the Las Vegas Blood organization referred to Carter as the “true Godfather of South Los Angeles.” “He believed in unity and worked with both Bloods and Crips in an attempt to empower them as productive individuals. This is why you are getting positive feedback from the community.

James David, one of Carter’s friends, believes the Compton resident knew he had to leave the game, and one of his first business investments was TWK Auto Exchange, on Crenshaw Boulevard. He was also very instrumental in assisting inner-city residents with financial literacy. He would assist individuals in completing credit applications. If you needed a car he was capable of getting you one with financing, he was a whiz at helping you establish credit during the mid-1980s. Later Carter would be instrumental in helping Bret Mitchell Chevrolet get off the ground by turning his initial car lot location in Compton over to Mitchell.

A former Centennial High School baseball teammate described Carter as “golden with an impeccable reputation for making peace and helping others in high school.” The teammate was employed at a beauty salon Carter had invested in. He remembers the salon was fully staffed and figured hiring him was Carter’s way of keeping him off the street and forcing him to attend barber school. He now has his own shop in Inglewood.

The involvement of the other victim, Cle Sloan’s involvement, isn’t clear. However Sloan suffered injuries all believed to be non-life threatening.

Former Five-tray Crip Robert “Doc Rob” Jackson met Sloan during the gang truce following the 1992 riots often referred to as the “92 Rebellion.” According to reports, Sloan was a security staff at the “Straight Outta Compton” film site and instructed Knight to leave. Many individuals interviewed believe Sloan, who also produced “Bastards of the Party,” (A documentary covering the history of African American gangs) may have been more involved in the production than working as security staff because of his connections to Hollywood.

Jackson believes it was wise to have Sloan on the set: “He is a OG Blood with connections going back to the gang truce, and in a situation like Compton where Crips and Bloods are separated by no more than a few blocks, it is wise to have OG representatives from both Crips and Bloods to neutralize any gang issues.

Jackson described Sloan as a person who also is a peacemaker. “He met with myself, my friend Michael “Hungry” Hughes (deceased) in South Park (Crip Turf) in an attempt to solidify the truce which Jackson said only lasted a few months.

“He was passionate about de-escalating Crip and Blood gang wars. I remember he asked why this bloodshed was happening; let’s stop it now and prevent it from passing down to our younger generations.” Jackson smiled and said he may have been apprehensive about going to South Park that day in 1992 because he did not drive his red El Camino; he drove a brown car. “Maybe Sloan and Knight had old beef or their personalities clashed. I do know Sloan loves his race and is tired of gang violence. I believe Sloan is a good person.”

In “Bastards of the Party,” an interview took place between Sloan and Jack Blum, former special counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In the meeting, Sloan asked Blum what happened to South Los Angeles during the crack epidemic and the response was “the United States turned a blind eye as drugs from Central America were imported into the United States ghettos.” This was the only time a government official admitted to the involvement of the Reagan Administrations Contra connection.

Having OGs present as production staff may have been the result of an earlier shooting. Just seven days into filming on location in Compton, a drive-by shooting took place directly in front of the cast and crew members while they were on set. It was determined by the Los Angeles County Sheriffs department that a group of men standing outside the Compton Courthouse flashed gang signs at a passing car and occupants in that car discharged weapons at the group. No one affiliated with the film was injured but one civilian near the set was hit, according to Journalist Peter Walsh of XXL Magazine.

The only unofficial comment regarding  the incident comes from Greg Kading, a retired Los Angeles police detective who investigated Knight for racketeering, and also investigated the killing of East Coast rapper Biggie Smalls. “He brings too much negative drama. Nobody wants to deal with him. People are tired of him, and many of Knight’s recent problems have arisen because he believes he’s owed money from his Death Row Record days.”

According to TMZ Knight reportedly now has video footage of the whole parking lot altercation that led to Carter’s death. Sources connected to Suge say the footage shows Cle “Bone” Sloan holding and pointing a gun at Knight right before the hit and run.

According to reports, the video footage was shot in the Tam’s parking lot and clearly shows the entire altercation leading up to the fatal hit and run. In the video, it shows a man taking the gun from “Bone” after he was hit and walking away with it.

Sources believe the video clearly shows the fight leading up to the fatal hit and run was an ambush. We’re told you see a gun in Bone’s hand … and it looks like another person is also there holding a gun. Sources also say based on the video and information … they now believe Carter was part of the ambush.

Prosecutor vows to keep Knight jailed

A prosecutorsays she will fight to keep former rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight in jail while he faces murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run charges for allegedly running down two men in Compton on Jan. 29.

Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Barnes said this week that she has a “very large stack of uncharged crimes” that she’ll be presenting in reference to possible bail for the embattled Knight whose bail hearing was continued  until March 20.

Knight’s original $2 million bail was revoked amid concerns that he is a potential flight risk and a three-strikes offender. The 49-year-old co-founder of Death Row Records walked into and out of court on Monday under his own power. Following a court appearance on Feb. 3, Knight was placed in an ambulance and taken to a hospital after complaining of chest pains. Knight was out on bail on another case when he allegedly ran over and killed Terry Carter, 55, and hit Cle “Bone” Sloan, 51, in a restaurant parking lot following an argument on the set of a commercial for the N.W.A. biopic “Straight Outta Compton.” Authorities said Knight and Sloan were fighting but that Carter was not involved in the fight.

Knight’s attorney, David Kenner, was expected this week to ask the judge to grant bail so Knight could be released. But on Monday, the district attorney made the announcement regarding the long list of civil complaints leveled against Knight. Sheriff’s Department officials have said Knight has had “witness intimidation” issues, citing his criminal past.

In a separate move, Kenner requested this week that Knight be allowed to see his own doctor while in custody; Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ricardo Ocampo declined the request.

“In terms of the case, Mr. Knight is optimistic,” Kenner said. “In terms of his health, not so much.” Kenner added that Knight suffers from blood clots noting “I understand that he passed out and was having some serious health problems.”

Knight’s former attorney, James E. Blatt, told authorities that Knight was assaulted and “accidentally” ran over the men while trying to flee from his alleged attackers. Carter was said to have been a long-time friend of Knight. On Feb. 7, nearly 2,000 mourners attended Carter’s funeral service at First AME Church in the West Adam neighborhood of Los Angeles.