Knight, wearing a large cross and orange jail attire, showed no emotion as loved ones of the deceased victim addressed the court and described 55-year-old Terry Carter as a deeply devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend.
Knight, the 53-year-old co-founder of Death Row Records, struck a surprise plea deal with prosecutors Sept. 20, just days before he was set to face trial for murder and attempted murder. Once dubbed "the most feared man in hip-hop," Knight instead agreed to a prison sentence of nearly 30 years.
Probation is not on the table for Knight, who will have to serve at least 23 years of his 28-year sentence.
The sentence marks a low point in a precipitous fall for the onetime music impresario, who reached the peak of his career in the mid-1990s. At the time, he was releasing platinum-selling records from Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur.
Knight was part of an acrimonious, public feud between East Coast and West Coast rappers. Shakur was a passenger in Knight's BMW sedan when he was killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996.
Knight had felony convictions for armed robbery and assault. He lost control of the legendary Death Row label after it was forced into bankruptcy.
He got into an altercation with longtime rival Cle "Bone" Sloan in January 2015. Sloan was a consultant on the N.W.A. biopic film "Straight Outta Compton."
In an incident captured on dramatic surveillance video, Knight backed his truck into Sloan, who was injured, then drove it forward and struck Carter, who later died from his injuries. Defense attorneys claimed it was an act of self-defense because Knight thought one of the men had a gun.
Voluntary manslaughter would normally bring a sentence of 11 years in prison, but Knight's conviction along with his previous felonies triggers California's three strikes law. That doubles the manslaughter sentence and adds an extra six years.
The agreement also clears Knight in two other cases, both from 2014. He was accused of stealing a camera from a woman and of sending threatening text messages to "Straight Outta Compton" director F. Gary Gray.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.