Calvin Broadus was active in music from a young age, singing in his church choir. Outside of church, Broadus often found himself in trouble, both in school and with the law for selling/doing drugs. He later attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School, where he began participating in schoolyard freestyle MCing competitions.
Success with Death Row
As a member of the Crips, Snoop Dogg was in and out of jail for the three years after he graduated from high school. Pushed by older inmates to make something of himself, he began making homemade rap tapes with his cousin Nate Dogg, and best friend Warren G (stepbrother of Dr. Dre of N.W.A.). Originally, Nate's cousin Lil' 1/2 Dead was also part of the group, called 213, named after the Long Beach area code. This was largely in homage to Richie Rich's group 415, named for the (then) area code of Oakland, California. Dr. Dre began collaborating with the young rapper, first on the theme song of the film Deep Cover, and then on Dr. Dre's debut solo album The Chronic with the other members of his former starting group, Tha Dogg Pound.
Snoop Dogg's contribution to The Chronic was considerable: the rapper's rhymes were as present as Dre's. The huge success of Snoop's debut Doggystyle is largely due to this intense exposure.
While recording his own debut album Doggystyle with Dre in August of 1993, Snoop Dogg was arrested in the shooting death of Phillip Woldermarian, a member of a rival gang who was later revealed to have had a secret obsession with Snoop. He was eventually acquitted on both self defense grounds and because he allegedly drove the car while his bodyguard McKinley Lee fired the fatal shots (Lee was also acquitted on self defense grounds). Snoop remained entangled in the legal battles around the case for three years.
The Doggystyle album was released in November of 1993 on Death Row Records, and became the first debut album ever to enter the charts at number one, helping to fuel the ascendance of West Coast "G Funk" rap. The singles "What's My Name" and "Gin and Juice" went to the top ten, and the album remained in the charts for several months, even as controversy raged over the murder trial and his allegedly violent and sexist lyrics. Gangsta rap became the center of arguments for censorship and labeling, with Snoop often used as an example of violent and misogynistic musicians.
A short film about the trial called Murder Was the Case, and an accompanying soundtrack, were released in 1994. It is said, to Snoop's distress, that a lot of the hype surrounding his debut was generated by his well-publicized trial. Others argue that the Death Row crew knew that any publicity is good publicity, as this film was directed by Dr. Dre himself.
However, by the time Snoop's second album Tha Doggfather was released in November of 1996, both the furor and the popularity of gangsta rap had begun to fade, dragged down by the death of Snoop's friend Tupac Shakur and the racketeering indictment of Death Row co-founder Suge Knight. Dr. Dre had left Death Row earlier that year, and so Snoop co-produced the album himself with Daz Dillinger and DJ Pooh. The album sold two million copies.
Snoop Dogg has since drawn back a bit from hardcore gangsta rap, performing with the hard rock Lollapalooza tour in 1997, and making several film appearances, in addition to producing and directing music videos for himself and other artists. He released an autobiography in 2001. During this period he also released two albums on Master P's No Limit label, including Da Game Is to Be Sold Not to Be Told and No Limit Top Dogg. His last album on No Limit was 2000's Tha Last Meal. It featured a more laid-back style with a heavier emphasis on his 'pimp' lifestyle as opposed to his gangbanging lyrics on previous albums.
Snoop produced a pornographic film called Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle with Hustler magazine in 2001, where he combines hip hop music with x-rated material. From then on, many films of the genre followed, and finally ended up with founding the Snoopadelic Films company in 2005, Snoop's own movie production company debuting with Boss'n Up, a film inspired by R&G starring Lil Jon and Trina. 
In 2002, he announced that he was giving up drinking and drugs. Later that year he released the album Paid tha Cost to Be da Bo$$, which featured the hit singles and videos "From Da Chuuuch to Da Palace" and "Beautiful," featuring guest vocals by the Neptunes' Pharrell Williams.
On May 21 2004, Snoop Dogg filed for divorce from his wife Shante Broadus, citing irreconcilable differences and seeking joint custody of their three children, Corde, Cordell, and Cori. They have since reconciled. Later that year, he recollaborated with his old friends Nate Dogg and Warren G, as part of the rap group 213 (who had previously released an album about a decade before), and they released a new album called The Hard Way, which featured the single "Groupie Luv", and reached #4 in the US Billboard 200 album charts.
In 2004, Snoop signed to the Star Trak record label, headed by the Neptunes, who produced several tracks for his 2004 release R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta) The Masterpiece. "Drop It Like It's Hot" (featuring Pharrell), the first single released from the album, was a hit and became his first single to reach number one. His third release was "Signs", featuring Justin Timberlake & Charlie Wilson, which did not do as well.
Snoop Dogg recently announced to British Radio that his next album, The Blue Carpet Treatment, will feature production by long-time partner Dr. Dre, dispelling rumors of a rift between the two in recent times. In addition, Snoop will be featured on Dre's proclaimed (and much delayed) masterpiece Detox.
- Snoop Dogg is famous for using slang invented by Frankie Smith and The Gap Band in the early eighties, and popularized in part by fellow rapper E-40, much of which is simply derived by adding an "izz" or "-izzle" sound to the word. Some examples:
- "Fo' Shizzle" = for sure, the real thing
- "Nizzle" = nigga, perhaps an attempt at making it more palatable by altering it
- "Mr. Swayne Dizzle" = Himself (His parody character of Sway (reporter on MTV) appeared in Doggy Fizzle Televizzle)
- "Death Rizzow" = Death Row ("Gz And Hustlas" off "Doggystyle")
- "Nate Dizzle" = Nate Dogg ("Ditty Dum Ditty Doo" off Nate Dogg's "Music And Me")
- A large number of Snoop Dogg's songs mention "the LBC." This is a reference to the city of Long Beach, California, or to the Long Beach Crips. He and a group of associates from Long Beach's East Side formed the group Tha Eastsidaz, releasing both an album and a direct-to-video film under the name in 2000.
- Snoop Dogg has his own show on XM Satellite Radio called "Welcome to Da Chuuch with Big Snoop Dogg." On December 8, 2005, he was named Executive Producer for XM's classic hip-hop channel, The Rhyme, and will provide the creative direction for the channel and assist in the development of new exclusive programming for The Rhyme as well as other channels. Also in that month, Snoop appeared in a comical TV commercial for XM with fellow XM celebrity DJ's Ellen DeGeneres and David Bowie which finds the rapper attempting to find one of his misplaced vanity necklaces; the punchline of the commercial reveals that Bowie had been wearing the jewelry, unbeknownst to Snoop.
- Snoop Dogg is the most "well-connected" rapper of all time based on a study of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology M.I.T.. This is counted from the album sales and the collaborations made so far. He collaborated with Pharrell Williams, Ludacris, Charlie Wilson, Nelly, 50 Cent, Lil Jon, Trina, Lloyd Banks, Warren G, Nate Dogg, Soopafly, Master P, and others.
Discography and filmography
For a full listing of music and film projects, see Snoop Dogg discography and filmography.
- 1993: Doggystyle (Death Row/Interscope) #1 US (3 weeks), #38 UK
- 1996: Tha Doggfather (Death Row) #1 US (1 week), #15 UK
- 1998: Da Game Is to Be Sold Not to Be Told (No Limit/Priority) #1 US (2 weeks), #28 UK
- 1999: No Limit Top Dogg (No Limit/Priority) #2 US
- 2000: Dead Man Walkin' (Death Row) #24 US
- 2000: Tha Last Meal (No Limit/Priority) #4 US
- 2002: Snoop Dogg Presents...Doggy Style Allstars, Welcome to tha House Vol. 1 (Doggystyle)
- 2002: Paid tha Cost to Be da Bo$$ (Doggystyle/Priority/Capitol) #12 US
- 2004: R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta) The Masterpiece (Doggystyle/Star Trak/Geffen) #6 US, #12 UK
- 2005: Welcome to tha Chuuch - Da Album (Doggystyle/Koch)
- I Got the Hook Up (1998)
- Half Baked (1998)
- Hot Boyz (1999)
- Urban Menace (1999)
- The Eastsidaz (2000) (also executive producer)
- Crime Partners 2000 (2001)
- Baby Boy (2001)
- Training Day (2001)
- Bones (2001)
- The Wash (2001)
- Pauly Shore Is Dead (2003)
- Starsky & Hutch (2004)
- Soul Plane (2004)
- Hood of Horror (2006) (currently in post-production) (also executive producer)
- Boss'n Up (2005)
- Coach Snoop (2006) (currently announced start of production)
- Official Snoop Dogg website
- Official Doggystyle Records website
- Snoop Dog Translator (translates sites into Snoop Dogg slang)
- Lyrics Translated by Snoop Doggar:سنوب دوق