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Snoop has been accused on occasion of creative embellishment in terms of his ties to L.A. gangs, most notably by Eazy-E and his Gang Friends (or something like that) during his early days with Death Row Records. While this may have been largely a result of getting lumped together with Dr. Dre, whose street cred was a bit questionable, the accusations didn"t stick when it came to Snoop. He was a member of the infamous Rolling 20s Crips as a teenager, and in fact it was the older gangsters that encouraged him to take up rapping after a stint in jail for cocaine possession in 1990.
Snoop was close friends with Stanley "Tookie" Williams, the co-founder of the Crips, and was even one of the last people to speak to the notorious gangster on the phone before his 2005 execution. He makes no secret of his gang past, his many trips to the county lockup, or his post-fame early 2000s stint as an actual pimp. That he remains a beloved public figure in spite of all this is a testament to just how lovable this man really is.
While most prominent members of the Crips have never contested Snoop"s ties to their illustrious organization, that doesn"t mean they"re all too happy with him. Around 2015, a scary gentleman by the name of Big Flossy began calling out Snoop on social media, and his grievances were many. A second-generation Rolling 20, Flossy took issue with Snoop neglecting to significantly give back to the Long Beach community — later clarifying that a promised injection of cash to build a youth center never materialized — and failing to use his platform to broker peace between the Rolling 20s and Insane Crips, mortal enemies who both look up to him.
Rumors even circulated around this same time that Snoop"s "hood card" had been pulled — that he"d been kicked out of the neighborhood by order of the very set he used to claim. Snoop took to YouTube to angrily deny this, as well as Flossy"s accusations, pointing out the many things he"s done to help disadvantaged youth and proclaiming himself "King of Long Beach." These are basically his only two points that are printable. If any further proof of Snoop"s credentials as a Crip are needed, the blue streak he curses in the video should suffice.
Snoop is a talented rapper, oozes charisma, and obviously has an aversion to taking any crap whatsoever, so it"s hardly surprising that he achieved a ridiculous level of fame. Apparently, though, there is a genetic predisposition for paparazzi and adoring fans in Snoop"s family, and not all of the talent is musical.
First cousin Mercedes Kaestner-Varnado, professionally known as Sasha Banks, is a three-time WWE Women"s Champion. She and Snoop have bonded over their shared love of pro wrestling, and she has said that huge chunks of her "Legit Boss" stage persona came about just from spending time around him. His other cousins include Kardashian sex tape star Ray J, R&B singer Brandy, and the late rapper Nate Dogg, who of course shared the Dogg family name.
Snoop has been involved in youth football for years and years, getting into coaching for his son Cordell"s middle school team and now running a statewide league in California. Some of his players have gone on to success in the NFL, and Cordell himself seemed set for pro stardom after being recruited by the UCLA Bruins — that is, until he abruptly quit to pursue a career as a filmmaker.
After an outstanding high school career, the four-star wide receiver prospect waffled on whether he would play for a couple of seasons before permanently hanging up his jersey for film school in 2016. He explained that he had only ever seen football as a hobby and a way to become closer with Big Snoop and had made his decision after hearing his Dad say that he "loved Cordell the person, not Cordell the football player," which is just heartwarming as all get-out. While pursuing his degree, the young Dogg went ahead and started his own production company, the appropriately named Film School Productions, which will presumably rebrand itself as Makin" Movies Now Productions after graduation.
In case it"s not yet becoming obvious, Snoop is quite a family guy. No, not that kind, Snoop Dogg is good at rapping. As a world-famous rapper who, again, literally became an actual pimp at the height of his fame, one could be forgiven for assuming that he has — how can we put this delicately — had carnal relations with truckloads of buxom women. While this may or may not be accurate, there has been one constant female presence in Snoop"s life — his wife Shante Broadus, whom he met when both were in high school.
Admittedly, it has been a bit of an up-and-down relationship. The pair became an on-again-off-again couple when Snoop was totally unknown and remained that way throughout his insane early "90s fame explosion. Snoop credits Tupac with counseling him to stay in the relationship. They finally married in 1997, but Snoop filed for divorce in 2004, which may have been related to all of the pimping. However, the couple renewed their vows in 2008, and it"s been reasonably smooth sailing since. Shante is the mother of all three of the little Doggs — Cordell has an older brother named Corde and a little sister named Cori — and if you think they"re an adorable couple now, wait til you see the prom photos Snoop shared to his Instagram on their 19th anniversary. Snoop has had this lovable badass thing down for a really long time.
Snoop"s stage name has gone through a few permutations over time. He famously, albeit briefly, changed it to Snoop Lion for a brief foray into reggae, and longtime fans remember that his moniker used to have an extra Doggy during the years that he seemed to have trouble remembering it himself. But for all the Doggs of Rap, which needs to be a supergroup right now, Snoop stood out for having a singularly silly stage name that only a mother could love, because she gave it to him.
To be fair, he certainly looks a lot more like a Snoop Dogg than a Calvin, and the similarity to Charlie Brown"s pal was even more oddly pronounced in his youth. But since his Mom was obviously such a big fan of the funny papers, it"s just a good thing he wasn"t a chubby kid. We"re not sure if the world ever would have been ready for Garf Katty Katt.
Many of Snoop"s younger fans may not directly recall the time he was embroiled in a two-year murder trial, but this was actually a thing that happened. In 1993, Snoop and bodyguard McKinley Lee got into a verbal altercation with Philip Woldemariam outside Snoop"s apartment building. Woldemariam left in a car, Snoop and Lee followed, and in an ensuing confrontation, Lee shot Woldemariam to death.
Snoop responded to his arrest and public spectacle of a trial in the way you might expect: by rapping about it, releasing the appropriately titled single "Murder Was the Case" in 1994. His performance of the song at the MTV Video Music Awards that year — in which he famously and bluntly proclaimed his innocence — has been called the most powerful of his career, and will be called that again, because it was freaking incredible. The jury found that Lee had acted in self-defense, largely based on the testimony of a passenger in Woldemariam"s car who claimed that Woldemariam was pulling a pistol when Lee fired the fatal shot. The takeaway from all this: many gangster rappers may be, shall we say, inauthentic with their lyrics — but if Snoop releases a single about being Batman, you"d better believe he"s prowling the rooftops in a cape and cowl.
He may be world-famous now, but it can be comforting to know that Snoop was once an unknown rapper making demo tapes to other peoples" beats, just like you. (We assume that you are a rapper, and currently make demo tapes in this fashion, although nobody has actually made tapes for over a decade.) He would pass these tapes along to his cousin Daz, who in turn would play them for his buddy Dr. Dre, who was uninterested at first.
One freestyle, recorded to the instrumental for En Vogue"s hit single "Hold On," was finally enough to get Dre"s attention, and he set up a meeting shortly before he began work on his masterpiece, The Chronic. Snoop became the album"s breakout star, helping propel it to ridiculous sales — but since this wasn"t by design, he ended up getting paid no more for his contributions than any of the other sixteen or so MCs involved. Dre would quickly remedy this situation by producing Snoop"s solo debut Doggystyle in 1993, which sold over ten million copies and made Snoop a very rich Dogg for the first time in his life. It was the fastest-selling album in rap history, until the Dre-produced The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem smashed that record in 2000. We"re starting to think this Dre fellow just might have a pretty good eye for talent.
In case you are unaware, Marion "Suge" Knight — the founder of Death Row Records — is a very, very scary human being. During his time atop rap"s biggest label, he strong-armed competitors with brute force and intimidation, tried his hardest to throw gasoline on the simmering East Coast vs. West Coast feud, and was generally perceived within the industry as the boogeyman — Snoop"s words, not ours.
While Snoop claims that the biggest point of contention was Suge"s desire for all-out war with the entire East Coast, it probably also didn"t help that Suge has a long-standing and well-documented association with the Mob Piru Bloods, who really don"t like Crips very much. Whatever the case, the two have had very few kind words to say about each other since Snoop bolted from Death Row after the 1996 murder of friend and labelmate Tupac Shakur. Today, of course, Snoop is still Snoop, while Suge has lost his entire fortune, is in the middle of a years-long murder trial of his own, and might have a brain tumor. We"re not saying the theories about Knight"s involvement in Shakur"s murder are true, or that he maybe put hits out on both Dr. Dre and Eminem at various points, and we"re also not sure if we believe in karma — but we"ll bet Snoop does.
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In 2014, the D-O-double-G was a guest at the White House for the Kennedy Center Honors. In an episode of his online show that aired shortly afterwards, he talked about the experience with Jimmy Kimmel, who of course wasted no time in asking the question on everybody"s minds: "Have you ever smoked at the White House?"
To Kimmel"s disbelief, Snoop Dogg promptly (well, after hitting a blunt) answered, "in the bathroom." He went on to clarify that the Secret Service agents accompanying him that day had asked if he needed to go #1 or #2, a hilarious image in itself, and that he had responded it was the latter and that he usually has "a cigarette or... light
something to get the aroma right." They replied that he could light a piece of napkin, which Snoop immediately interpreted to mean, "Sure, smoke a big ol" blunt in there."
If this seems like a tall tale, just remember who we"re talking about here. If we"ve learned anything, it"s that the more crazyass one of Snoop"s stories is, the more likely it is to be true.