Knight, co-founder of the label Death Row Records, entered the no contest plea - the equivalent under California law of a guilty plea - before he was due to face trial for murder. The plea came days before jury selection was set to begin for the case.
The former rap mogul has pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter.
He had been charged with murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run after fleeing the scene following a fight outside a burger stand in the Compton area of LA in January 2015. He spoke only to answer a series of questions from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen.
Knight has always been known as much for his run-ins with the law and brushes with violence and as for his career as a rap music executive who promoted the likes of Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur in the 1990s.
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While his label was initially very successful, his fortunes began to slide in 1996 when rapper Tupac Shakur was shot and killed in the passenger seat of Knight's vehicle.
Knight will be formally sentenced on October 4.
In 1997, rival rapper Biggie Smalls was shot and Knight was sued for wrongful death. Both rap murders remain unsolved. After being granted early release in 2001, he was sent back to prison in 2003 after assaulting a parking attendant.
Surveillance video showed the Death Row Records CEO hitting the two victims with his vehicle; nonetheless, he initially insisted that he hit them out of self defense and was just attempting to escape from Carter and Sloan. Knight was indicted for making criminal threats in August 2014.