Suge Knight, a prominent figure in the rap industry, recently shared an intriguing backstory about former NFL superstar Deion Sanders’ foray into the world of rap during a phone conversation with Nick Cannon. Knight disclosed that he had invested a substantial sum of his own money, amounting to over half a million dollars, into Deion Sanders’ rap aspirations when he was signed to Death Row Records.
“When Prime wanted to be a rapper … I spent over half a million dollars of my own money,” Suge told Cannon. “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.”
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.”
According to Suge Knight, although Deion Sanders was technically signed with Death Row, he managed to collaborate with Interscope to circumvent any potential conflicts with Nike and Death Row. Knight emphasized this point by noting that the checks for Sanders’ breakout hit, “Must Be the Money,” were directed his way.
However, Forbes reported that Sanders released his album “Prime Time” under MC Hammer’s Bust It imprint through Capitol Records, clarifying the album’s distribution.
Deion Sanders initially inked a deal with Nike in 1992, but their relationship eventually soured. In a 2017 interview with Complex, Sanders expressed dissatisfaction with what he believed to be inadequate compensation for his involvement in the creation of the original Diamond Turf shoe.
“Prime Time,” his debut album, was released on December 26, 1994. In 2005, he followed it up with “The Encore Remix,” featuring remixes of all the tracks from “Prime Time.”
During this time, Sanders simultaneously pursued a successful career in the NFL, spanning from 1985 to 2005, ultimately retiring as an NFL Hall of Famer while also spending nine years in Major League Baseball (MLB).
He currently serves as the head football coach at the University of Colorado Boulder, following a three-year tenure as the head coach at Jackson State.