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Rap Biographies: Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg
Cordazer Calvin Broadus (born October 20, 1971 in Long Beach, California) is an African-American hip hop musician and actor. His mother nicknamed him "Snoopy" as a child, and he took the stage name Snoop Doggy Dogg (later changed to Snoop Dogg) when he began recording. Although today a mainstream celebrity, he is a natural survivor of the 90's gangsta rap scene, and creator of izzle slang.

His parents split up when he was still a boy; he lived with his mother and two half-brothers, and spent his free time rapping with a friend, Warren Griffin, who would later find fame as rapper Warren G. Snoop was a good student and athlete in high school several basketball programs recruited him--but he fell in with the L.A. Crips gang and started selling drugs.

Snoop Dogg's early years were marked by frequent bouts with the law resulting in several jail terms (in and out of jail for the three years after he graduated from high school). He later created rhymes about his experiences which he committed to tape. He began making homemade rap tapes with his friend Warren G, who was a stepbrother of Dr. Dre of N.W.A.. 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. 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.

There's another version of the story with murder. It says that an argument started in front of Snoop's new home in Woodbine Park, L.A., between the rapper, two associates, and Philip Woldemariam, a 20-year-old Ethiopian immigrant who had just been released from a year in jail. Woldemariam was allegedly pursued into a nearby park and shot from a vehicle by McKinley Lee. Lee claimed self-defense, but it was widely reported that the victim's fatal wound was in his back. Snoop, who was on $10,000 bail for a gun possession charge at the time of the incident, handed himself in to police after appearing at a September 2nd MTV awards show in L.A.--his bail was set at $1 million.

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. Snoop's seductive rhyme style and charismatic on-screen persona instantly established him as one of the most distinctive voices in hip-hop. Such was the anticipation surrounding his Dre-produced solo debut Doggystyle that the record's December 1993 debut at #1 (the first such performance by a new artist) and quadruple-platinum sales were entirely predictable.

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 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 (the multi-artist soundtrack to an 18-minute film directed by Dr. Dre and based on a Doggystyle track), 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. It is obvious though that the Death Row crew knew that any publicity is good publicity as this film was directed by Dr. Dre himself.

After the release of his second album, The Doggfather, Snoop Dogg has gradually created a more widely acceptable image as an A-list show business personality. His first album for Capitol Records was entitled Paid tha Cost to Be da Bo$$ and released in late 2002. However, he was dragged into the gangsta rap spotlight a year later after a surviving a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles perpetrated by three unknown assailants.

The November of 1996 release of Snoop's second album, Tha Doggfather showed that his scrape with the law did little to tone down his gangsta cockiness on songs like "Ride 4 Me," though "Snoop Bounce" (based on Zapp's 1980 hit "More Bounce to the Ounce") did suggest a more playful side. It would seem fair to suggest that Snoop needed a bit of levity in his life at that moment; Tha Doggfather was released just three months after the death of his friend and labelmate Tupac Shakur, to whom Snoop dedicated the album.

Tha Doggfather debuted at No. 1, and Snoop's personal problems seemed to have abated, but the press and the public were more engaged by the darker stories emerging from the rap world than by the new album of its premier performer. Questions surrounding Shakur's murder cast a pall over the entire Death Row Records camp. Plans called for Snoop to take to the road in the spring of 1997, but the death in March of the Notorious B.I.G. caused him to cancel his tour out of respect, and, undoubtedly, fears for his own safety, given the murder of two peers in the span of seven months.

With the release of Tha Doggfather, Snoop's personal problems abated. Snoop began to revamp his public image, moving away from his "gangsta" roots towards a calmer lyrical aesthetic. In June of 1997, Snoop Dogg married his long-time girlfriend Shantay Taylor, who is also the mother of his three children: two boys (Corde and Cordell) and one girl (Cori). Where did the "Cor" from in all of his kids' names? From his own full name, of course: Calvin Cordozar Broadus.

In the summer of 1998, Snoop dropped the "Doggy" from his name and jumped to Master P's No Limit label to record Da Game is to Be Sold, Not to be Told. He has since drawn back a bit from hardcore gangsta rap, 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 released two albums on the No Limit Label. 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.

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.

Snoop Dogg has worked with Silkk the Shocker, C-Murder, B-Legit, Babyface, Bad Azz, Bizzy Bone, Mariah Carey, Bootsy Collins, The D.O.C., Daz Dillinger, Dr. Dre, and Nate Dogg, Neptunes among others. Snoop Dogg's sound has been heavily influenced by funk, and R&B.

On 11 April 2003, Snoop was unhurt after a drive-by shooting on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, California. He was riding in a motorcade of five vehicles with seven armed bodyguards when three men in another car fired multiple rounds from a semi-automatic handgun. One bodyguard was injured in the incident.

On 21 May 2004, Snoop Dogg filed for divorce from his wife Shante Broadus, citing irreconcilable differences. He is seeking joint custody of their three children, Corde, Cordell, and Cori. They have since reconciled. Also in 2004, he switched to the Geffen label for his latest hit, Drop It Like It's Hot and today continues his entry into the mainstream with appearances on various talk shows, TV specials, movies, and in television commercials.

Snoop Dogg is famous for using slang invented 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. Also a large number of Snoop Dogg's songs mention "the LBC." This is a reference to the city of Long Beach, the Long Beach Crips or Long Beach, California.

Snoop Dogg plans to publish his first novel in Fall 2006

On 26 April 2006, Snoop Dogg and members of his entourage were arrested at Heathrow Airport for "violent disorder and affray" - or creating a brawl or disturbance - after being turned away from British Airways' first class lounge. Snoop and his party were not allowed to enter the lounge because although some of the entourage were flying first class, other members of the party were flying economy class. After the group was escorted outside, they vandalized a duty-free shop by throwing whisky bottles. Seven police officers were injured in the fracas. After a night in the cells, Snoop Dogg and the other men were released on bail on the 27 April but he was unable to perform at the Premier Foods People's Concert in Johannesburg on the same day. As part of his bail conditions, he has to return to the police station in May. The group has been banned by British Airways for "the forseeable future."

On 11 May, when he presented himself at a London police station, he was cautioned for affray under Section 4 of the Public Order Act for use of threatening words or behaviour.

On 15 May, the Home Office decided that Snoop Dogg should be denied entry to the UK for the foreseeable future, most likely forever, due to the fracas at Heathrow, along with his previous convictions in the US for drugs and firearms offences. He has also been banned from flying with British Airways ever again.
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