He is being held without bail and is expected to be arraigned on Tuesday.
Knight, 49, faces up to life in prison if convicted in the fatal hit-and-run.
He is accused of running over two men and killing one following an argument. The man who died has been identified as Terry Carter, 55. The second man's name is Cle Sloan, 51.
Knight, who was out on bail in a separate robbery case, is charged with with one count of murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of hit-and-run with an allegation that he committed a serious and violent felony while out on bail, the district attorney's office said in a statement.
He has prior convictions, "making this a third strike case," it said.
Knight turned himself in to Los Angeles Sheriff's Department investigators early Friday.
CNN affiliate KCAL-TV
and the Los Angeles Times quoted his attorney, James Blatt, as saying Knight feared for his life and was trying to flee when the incident happened.
"We feel strongly Mr. Knight did not do anything wrong in this matter. He was attacked by a number of individuals; that has already been corroborated by certain witnesses. He left the scene because he was in fear for his safety and life," he said.
Knight founded the wildly successful Death Row Records in 1991, signing artists such as Snoop Doggy Dogg (since then known as Snoop Dogg and Snoop Lion) and Tupac Shakur.
Knight was driving the car in which Shakur was a passenger when the rapper was shot to death in Las Vegas in 1996.
Shortly afterward, Knight spent several years in prison for violating parole on assault and weapons convictions. That prison time -- along with Shakur's death, feuds between Knight and a number of rappers and desertions by Dr. Dre, Snoop and others -- contributed to the label's bankruptcy in 2006.
In August, Knight and two other people were shot while inside a celebrity-filled Sunset Strip party hosted by singer Chris Brown on the eve of the MTV Video Music Awards.