There are very few names and voices that are as recognisable as that of laid back gangsta rapper, Snoop Dogg. One of the West Coast’s most prominent icons, Big Snoop Dogg has built a career that has lasted decades thanks to his unique flow and authentic urban perspective that has captivated audiences around the world for years. I mean, there’s a reason why your mum still tries to add -izzle at the end of every sentence in the hopes sounding cool and it’s that kind of individual flavour that you see continue to spread throughout every facet of entertainment.
More than just a successful recording artist, he’s gotten involved in movies, television (Check out Snoop & Martha’s Potluck Dinner Party) and even video games. This guy’s even a certified football coach and took up the position of head coach for his son’s youth teams and the John A. Rowland High School team (…I’m serious, there’s almost nothing this guy can’t do).
With his fifteenth studio album on the way, there’s never been a better time to look back at an artist that was never afraid to push the boundaries of the hip-hop culture while still remaining true to himself and his gangsta roots. He helped to put Death Row on the map and establish Dr Dre as the go-to producer for anything that’s got to do with the words G-Funk. There’s none like the infamous Snoop Doggy Dogg and it’s about time he comes back into the conversation. This is hip-hop of the 90s.
Cordoza Calvin Broadus, Jr. (a.k.a. Snoop Dogg) was born in Long Beach, California and adopted his alias from the nickname ‘Snoopy’, given to him as a child by his parents due to his appearance. Although his musical adventures began by singing and playing piano in church, he began rapping soon after reaching the sixth grade and finally gave in to the allure of gang life once he became a teenager. Throughout high school and for a few years after, Calvin spent time in and out of jail, no doubt thanks to the nefarious activities performed as an affiliate of the Rollin’ 20 Crips.
Despite his turbulent relationship with the law, he managed to form a group called 213 (named after the Long Beach area code) with his friend Warren G and his cousins Nate Dogg and Lil 1/2 dead. Together they recorded homemade mixtapes but it was Snoop’s freestyle over a song called Hold On by jazz super group, En Vogue that gained significant attention. It landed on a mixtape that managed to find it’s way into the hands of none other than Dr Dre, who soon invited the young artist to an audition.
After brief tutelage by former N.W.A. member, The D.O.C., Snoop made it official and signed his first record deal with the legendary Death Row Records in 1992.
In 19912, Dr Dre released the absolute classic album entitled The Chronic, which revolutionised the era of 90s West Coast rap music and introduced the world to a new sound known simply as G-Funk. Snoop Dogg featured heavily on the album, laying down a verse or rapping a great hook on nearly every track. This created the kind of launchpad that any new artist would crave and paved the way for Snoop’s debut to dominate as fans were hungry for to hear the West Coast’s new favourite son. And in 1993, they got exactly what they wanted with the release of Doggystyle.
Although shrouded in controversy, it was an outstanding success and cemented Snoop’s status as a prolific figure in hip-hop. Up until that point, gangsta rap mostly featured artists that screamed or shouted into the microphone with anger and ferocity, but Snoop unveiled a style that was softer, more laid back and as chilled as it was mean. The album even spawned a short film for the song ‘Murder Was The Case’.
Nothin’ but a G-thang…
His second album, The Doggfather was only released in 1996 and failed to live up to the success of its predecessor. It was an even softer approach to G-Funk that failed to appeal as much as Doggystyle, but Snoop stated that this was his attempt to be more positive with the music that he created and wanted to be a better example instead of just shining a light on the harsh realities of street life.
Once Death Row folded, Snoop managed to find a new home with Master P’s label, No Limits and in 1998 he released Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not To Be Told which still managed to go platinum despite receiving fairly negative responses from critics, who again claimed that Snoop had lost the same punch he delivered on previous albums.
He would return to spectacular form on his next album, No Limit Top Dogg in 1999 and in 2000, he released Tha Last Supper which solidified his place as the go-to source for the classic G-Funk sound that made the West Coast famous throughout the 90s.
Where Is He Today?
Through the first decade of the twenty-first century, Snoop Dogg would release a number of records on various labels and slowly but surely, the gangsta image that had become so familiar was replaced by the pimped out persona he has portrayed for years. Even after converting to Rastafarianism, Snoop has managed to keep audiences entertained constantly with his cannabis-soaked flow and super-chilled rhymes that give us an explicit glimpse into the life of one of hip-hop’s most influential icon.
There are few other debuts that made a greater impact than Doggystyle and it’s definitely the place to start if you want to get familiar with the Doggfather himself. Whether you’re a West Coast or an East Coast fan, it’s sure to keep your head bobbing.
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Ryan C. Voller, Recording Artist – Producer – Lead Contributor for HowToMakeHip-Hop.com
Listen To Snoop Dogg
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