West Coast rap legend Snoop Dogg has come a long way since being discovered by Dr. Dre in early 1990. As impressive as he was when guesting on Dre’s The Chronic in 1992, few could have guessed he’d go on to global fame, tens of millions of record sales, and a career in movies and TV. And that’s only part of the story, from battles with the law to reinvention as a reggae artist. Snoop’s story isn’t finished yet, and who knows what this Long Beach native will do next?
He was born Cordozar Calvin Broadus Jr. in Long Beach, California, on October 20, 1971. His “Snoop Dogg” nickname came from his mother because she thought he looked like Snoopy from the Peanuts cartoon. He played piano and sang at his local Baptist church, before starting rap in sixth grade. After graduating high school, Snoop was arrested several times for drug possession and spent time in prison. He was also associated with the Rollin’ 20 Crips Gang. He started making music as a way out of his troubles and recorded early demos with his cousin Nate Dogg and friend Warren G as 213. A track on one of these came to the attention of Dr. Dre who invited Snoop — then rapping under the name Snoop Doggy Dogg — to audition. From there they collaborated on a song called “Deep Cover” for the soundtrack of the film for the same name; and Snoop became the key rapper on Dre’s hugely successful first solo album, The Chronic, in 1992.
Snoop’s first album, the Dre-produced Doggystyle (1993), climbed its way to the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s hip-hop and Top 200 charts, based in part on the success of the singles “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” and “Gin and Juice.” It built on the G-Funk template that The Chronic had established, as Cypress Hill’s B-Real later reminisced: “I think Dr. Dre gave Snoop a sound that would resonate in the minds of hip-hop fans for generations. It made Snoop an icon.”
Next came a short film called Murder Was the Case, the soundtrack of which went double platinum. Snoop’s next album, Tha Doggfather (1996), also reached the top of the charts, despite the absence of Dre, who had left Death Row over a contract dispute. While it didn’t do as well either in sales or with reviewers, it still showed that Snoop was a major-league artist. Snoop then left Death Row himself, falling out with label mogul Suge Knight and moving to Master P’s No Limit Records. He scored the top spot on the hip-hop charts with his next two albums: Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told (1998) and No Limit Top Dogg (1999). His last album for No Limit, The Last Meal, came in 2000 and sold over 2 million copies. By now his sound had become less “gangsta rap” and somewhat smoother.
• As a child, he played piano and sang in a church choir.
• Got his nickname Snoop Dogg from his mother because she thought he looked like Snoopy from Peanuts.
• Began making homemade tapes with friend Warren G, who gave the tapes to his stepbrother Dr. Dre.
• A big break came when he collaborated with Dr. Dre on the theme song for the movie Deep Cover and on Dre’s 1992 album, The Chronic.
• Became an overnight sensation with the release of his 1993 debut album Doggystyle.
• In 2005, founded the Snoop Youth Football League for disadvantaged kids in South L.A. and coached one of its teams, the Pomona Steelers.
• Starred in the reality series Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood in 2007.
• Is a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the University of Southern California Trojans.
1 “That’s why I’m so successful because peace is my main thing, it’s not about money. It’s about making sure everybody is having a good time and loving and living and enjoying life.” – Snoop Dogg
2 “Sometimes a loss is the best thing that can happen. It teaches you what you should have done next time.” – Snoop Dogg
3 “You might not have a car or a big gold chain, stay true to yourself and things will change.” – Snoop Dogg
4 “Push yourself, when you get smart up top (in your head), your skills will fall right into place.” – Snoop Dogg
5 “Women are in a position now to voice their opinion… women are getting empowered. The more power they get, the more voice they get to shift certain things around. Now I have a daughter, I understand. When I didn’t have a daughter, I didn’t understand.” – Snoop Dogg
6 “I’m just doing what I do best and that’s what makes good music, and that’s how you can relate to people.” – Snoop Dogg
7 “I am a sore loser. I’ve always been like that ever since I started playin’ sports and just life in general. I hate to lose and I play to win.” – Snoop Dogg
8 “Sometimes if you’re lucky, someone comes into your life who’ll take up a place in your heart that no one else can fill, someone who’s tighter than a twin, more with you than your own shadow, who gets deeper under your skin than your own blood and bones.” – Snoop Dogg
9 “Be your own leader, be your own self, step out of my shadows and be your own person.” – Snoop Dogg
10 “If it’s flipping hamburgers at McDonald’s, be the best hamburger flipper in the world. Whatever it is you do you have to master your craft.” – Snoop Dogg