Family & Companions
With his thought-provoking rhymes that authentically described the violence of urban living delivered in his distinct smooth, slow, laid-back growl, Snoop Dogg undeniably set the bar high for rap and hip-hop artists. With the release of his debut album, "Doggystyle" (1993), Snoop Dogg redefined the sound of West Coast rap, infusing it with his own autobiographical stories and profanity- and violence-laced lyrics. The album quickly shot up to the top of the charts, thanks to the hit singles "Who I Am (What's My Name?)" and "Gin and Juice." The rapper's subsequent songs, including "Drop It Like It's Hot" (2004), kept Snoop Dogg in the forefront of hip-hop music. And in spite of his frequent and well-publicized run-ins with authorities, Snoop Dogg never lost his cool nor his consistent presence on the charts. In the 2000s, he began to shed his gangster image, adopting a kinder, gentler persona that even mainstream America could wholly embrace - and miraculously without losing his street credibility. Throughout the rest of his illustrious career, Snoop Dogg kept delivering the hard-hitting and incendiary rhymes that first catapulted him to stardom, and never wavered in his quest to stake his place as one of gangster rap music's most original artists.
Snoop Dogg was born Cordozar Calvin Broadus on Oct. 20, 1971 in Long Beach, CA. The future hip-hop star received his nickname because his parents thought he looked like the Peanuts comic character, Snoopy. His passion for music began at an early age; he started to rap in sixth grade and sang in the choir of the local Golgotha Trinity Baptist Church. Growing up poor and in an area surrounded by violence, Snoop frequently ran into trouble with the law. He later claimed that while he hung out with gang members, he never actually joined a gang. After graduating from Long Beach Polytechnic High School, Snoop spent time in prison for drug trafficking. To escape his troubled life, he started making music. In the early 1990s, through his friend and fellow rapper Warren G, Snoop met Death Row Records producer Dr. Dre. The two hit it off, and were soon collaborating on the theme song for the film "Deep Cover" (1992) and on Dr. Dre's debut album The Chronic (1992), considered by many to have redefined the sound of West Coast rap by infusing it with intense profanity, explicit lyrics, and anti-establishment sentiments.
Boosted by the exposure he received for his fresh verses on The Chronic, Snoop's debut album Doggystyle quickly soared to the No. 1 spot on Billboard's hip-hop and Top 200 charts, selling more than five million copies. Fueled by the smash hits "Who I Am (What's My Name?)" and "Gin and Juice," the album made Snoop - with his distinctively soothing and slow rap drawl, coupled with a laid-back delivery - became the most ubiquitous man in hip-hop music. His subsequent album releases, including The Doggfather (1996), also reached the top of the charts.
In the early 2000s, Snoop shed his "gangster" image and instead adopted more of a "pimp" persona, swathing himself in long mink coats and making public appearances with women on leashes, much to the chagrin of his critics. He was extremely vocal about his love for marijuana, which - much like country music icon Willie Nelson - became part of his image as well. Famous for adding "izzle" to the end of words whenever possible, Snoop collaborated with many artists from various genres, including Pharrell Williams on the smash hit single "Drop it Like it's Hot," Justin Timberlake and Charlie Wilson on "Signs" (2004), and appeared in the music video for rock band Korn's "Twisted Transistor" (2005). One of his most critically acclaimed albums was The Blue Carpet Treatment (2006), which featured tracks reminiscent of his earlier gangster raps, such as "10 Lil' Crips," "Gangbangn 101," and "Candy (Drippin' Like Water)." The album also featured the chart-topping single "That's That Shit," and the hypnotic "Imagine," a collaboration with his former mentor, Dr. Dre.
Throughout his career, Snoop found himself in the midst of legal troubles and was often used as an example of misogynistic musicians because of his profanity- and violence-laced songs. In 1993, he was convicted of cocaine possession and was arrested in connection with the murder of a rival gang member; he was later cleared of the murder charges in 1996. In 2005, Snoop Dogg was sued for an alleged sexual assault that occurred in 2003. He made headlines again in 2006 when he and his entourage were taken into custody at a London airport for getting into a fight at a terminal, and punishment, were banned entry to the United Kingdom. That same year, the rapper was arrested at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, CA for possession of marijuana and a gun in his vehicle.
In spite of the controversy surrounding his music and his personal life, Snoop Dogg's career never lagged and he successfully transitioned from being a tough gangster into a mainstream artist even your mother could love. He branched out as an actor, with featured roles in films like "Half Baked" (1998), "Training Day" (2001) as a wheelchair-bound drug dealer, and in the remake of the popular TV series of the same name "Starsky & Hutch" (2004), as a drug dealer-turned-informant Huggy Bear. In 2007, Snoop Dogg showed mainstream America his gentler side on "Snoop Dogg's Father Hood" (E!, 2007-09), an entertaining reality series wherein cameras captured the quick-witted rapper in his best attempts to become a "soccer dad." On the series, the rapper did some light housekeeping, tried yoga, and attempted to eat healthier, all in an effort to appease his wife.
The acting bug had obviously bit, leading to more appearances by the eternally laid-back rap star, including a head-scratching guest appearance as himself on the daytime soap opera "One Life to Live" (ABC, 1968- ) - he had been a fan of the soap since childhood - and a cameo in Sacha Baron Cohen's mockumentary comedy film "Brüno" (2009). In 2009, Snoop Dogg released his 10th studio album, Malice N Wonderland, featuring the single "Gangsta Luv," and the following year, he collaborated with pop star Katy Perry on her chart-topping ode to summer, "California Gurls." He went on to record his eleventh album, Doggumentary (2011), which debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200. Looking to break away from his old persona, Snoop Dogg converted to Rastafarianism and adopted a new stage name, Snoop Lion, which was given to him by reggae star Bunny Wailer. With a new reggae-inspired album in the works, he released his first single, "La La La," under his new pseudonym, but angered many Rastafarians - particularly Wailer himself - for claiming to be the reincarnation of the legendary Bob Marley. Of course, with his new style came the opportunity to promote smoking marijuana, which became an even bigger part of his image than it was previously - as if that were even possible.
By Candy Cuenco
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With Dr. Dre, recorded theme to feature film "Deep Cover"
Hit top of the charts as co-rapper on Dr. Dre comeback track "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang"; featured on Dr. Dre's album <i>The Chronic</i> as much as Dre himself; billed as Snoop Doggy Dogg
Released debut album <i>Doggystyle</i>
With Dr. Dre, starred in short film "Murder Was the Case" based on lyrics to his inspiring song
Featured in hip-hop concert documentary "The Show"
Played Scavenger Smoke in marijuana-fueled comedy "Half Baked"
Switched from Death Row to No Limit Records; dropped 'Doggy' from stage name and performed as Snoop Dogg
In amicable split with No Limit, switched to his own label Dogghouse
Guest starred on NBC sitcom "Just Shoot Me"
Executive produced and appeared in comedy "The Wash," directed by DJ Pooh
Released "Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle," a controversial video pairing his hip-hop stylings with hardcore pornography
Starred in hip-hop horror feature "Bones"
Played menacing parolee Rodney in John Singleton's "Baby Boy"
Appeared alongside Denzel Washington and mentor Dr. Dre in police action feature "Training Day"
Played informant Huggy Bear in big screen remake of 1970s cop series "Starsky & Hutch"
Starred in "Soul Plane," a comedy about black-owned airline's maiden flight
Cast as a writer in drama "The Tenants"
Lent voice to Max character in "Arthur and the Minimoys," a live-action/computer-animated fantasy based on popular French children's book by filmmaker Luc Besson (who also directed)
Produced and starred in "Hood of Horror," an animated anthology of three short tales; film debuted at 2006 Cannes Film Festival
Released ninth studio album <i>Ego Trippin</i>, featuring "Sexual Eruption"
Recorded featured rap vocals for Katy Perry's hit "California Gurls"
Collaborated with Wiz Khalifa on soundtrack album <i>Mac & Devin Go to High School</i>
Converted to Rastafarianism and changed pseudonym to Snoop Lion; announced plans to record reggae album
Began co-hosting "Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party" with Martha Stewart after a memorable collaboration on her cooking series "Martha"
Appeared on "Trailer Park Boys"
Voiced himself on an episode of "The Simpsons"