Born Calvin Broadus, Snoop Dogg was nicknamed thusly due to his looks. In his hometown of Long Beach, Calif., the young man had numerous run-ins with the law, including an arrest for cocaine possession which earned him some jail time.
Music became his salvation, with home-grown demo tapes as his outlet. Snoop collaborated with Warren G, stepbrother to Dr. Dre of N.W.A. After Warren got a tape to Dre, Snoop had his first break. Dre brought Snoop along on his first solo project in 1992, a song for the movie Deep Cover.
The buzz was immediate and solid, especially after The Chronic, Dre's solo debut album, was released. It featured Snoop in equal parts to Dre. The singles "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang" and "Dre Day" became crossover hits in 1993.
Snoop was all set to make his own solo stand with Doggystyle, but got sidelined by a shooting incident. The record finally came out in late 1993 and debuted at the top of the charts. Snoop's legal woes and two Top 10 singles, "What's My Name?" and "Gin & Juice," managed to keep Doggystyle at the head of the class for a number of months. His controversial lyrics, featuring sexist, violent rhetoric, also helped keep his name out there.
When a brouhaha in England erupted over him, Snoop responded with a short film based on "Murder Was the Case," a cut from Doggystyle. The companion soundtrack came out at number one in 1994 while Doggystyle had sold more than four million units.
Most of 1995 was dedicated to the court trial. Then, in early 1996, after being exonerated, Snoop took to the studio without Dre to work on album number two. The Doggfather dropped in late 1996 and got a lukewarm critical reception. Though it sold well at the start, a lack of hit singles and the wane of gangsta rap led to a decline in its popularity.
Snoop took the cue – fueled by 2Pac's death and Suge Knight's indictment – to clean up his image and lyrical slant. A move toward a more rock-based aesthetic found Snoop on the 1997 Lollapalooza slate. The next year, Da Game Is to Be Sold Not to Be Told, was issued, followed closely by Dead Man Walkin' and Tha Last Meal.
Because Snoop the man was becoming more interesting than Snoop the artist, an autobiography was published in 2001 with a string of film projects in line behind it. More records came, too: 2002's Paid tha Cost to Be da Bo$$ and 2004's R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece. The latter project was a solid hit for Snoop.
The following year, Welcome to tha Chuuch: Da Album dropped. It was a set of songs culled from the Welcome to the Chuuch mixtape series. Various cameo appearances filled 2006, including on Ice Cube's Laugh Now, Cry Later and on Tha Dogg Pound's Cali Iz Active.
At the end of 2006, Snoop leaked his "My Peoples" freestyle to test the waters for his Latin rap-tinged new album. “Vato,” featuring Cypress Hill's B Real, was then the first track off Tha Blue Carpet Treatment.
For his 2008 project, Ego Trippin', Snoop brought in Teddy Riley and DJ Quik to produce. Then, in 2009, it was Malice N Wonderland. To keep the momentum going in 2010, Snoop issued More Malice, a CD/DVD combo featuring tracks not included on the Wonderland project as well as a short film.
Doggumentary dropped in 2011 and included contributions from Swizz Beats, DJ Khalil, Scott Storch, Kanye West, John Legend, Wiz Khalifa, and Willie Nelson. Snoop considers it to be the sequel to Doggystyle.