While he's toned down his interactions with the law in recent years, no rapper with such a violent and illicit past has made as much of himself as Snoop Dogg. Snoop became one of the idols of West Coast rap in the early 90s, mixing a sultry smooth voice with hard and cutthroat lyrics. Since his debut in 1993, Snoop has been steadily recording albums every couple of years and performs on tour dates that are still attended by huge crowds. His latest album, Doggumentary, is a sequel to his first album, Doggystyle, and a prime example of how Snoop hasn't forgotten his roots after all these years.
During his youth, Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr., began singing in the choir at the local baptist church, eventually starting to rap in the sixth grade. Snoop attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School and was a member of the Rollin' 20 Crips. In his free time, Snoop began recording freestyle sessions with his friend Warren G and his cousin Nate Dogg. Snoop Dogg's freestyle over En Vogue's "Hold On" was heard by Dr. Dre at a party and Snoop was invited to the studio for an audition. Snoop began his commercial career with appearances on Dr. Dre's debut solo album, The Chronic, and on the single "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang". Hype for Snoop's debut 1993 album was increased by the success of Dr. Dre's solo album and Snoop Dogg's own murder charges; Doggystyle ended up going four times platinum after just a year and sold more copies than The Chronic.
Snoog Dogg's newfound status as a rap star led to a series of tour dates and further spread the word about the LBC rapper. Snoop Dogg's follow-up album, The Doggfather, was released in 1996, shortly after Dr. Dre left Death Row Records. The album was produced largely by DJ Pooh and Daz Dillinger, and featured a slower, softer sound than Snoop's previous G-funk sound. Growing tired of Suge Knight and Death Row, Snoop opted to sign with Master P's label, No Limit Records, in 1998 and released his next three albums with the label. Snoop's music radically evolved in 2002 with Paid tha Cost to Be da Boss, which showed the dissolution of his gangsta image and sound and the birth of his pimp image and smoother sound. This era also saw Snoop Dogg playing concert dates to stadiums full of people, further cementing his status as a mainstream icon.
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