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Few stars have arrived on the rap scene with the amount of fanfare that Snoop Dogg received at the beginning of his career. After stealing the show on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, and setting first-week sales records with his own solo debut, Doggystyle, Snoop was undoubtedly the biggest young star in hip hop with an engaging personality to match.
However, in addition to his success, Snoop’s life was filled with an equal amount of drama, most noticeably his looming murder trial after being accused of gunning down Philip Woldemariam just months prior to Doggystyle’s release. The juxtaposition of the affable, calm and collected stoner and the murderous gang banger living the reality of his raps was an intriguing one, which Death Row Records would capitalize on the following year with the release of Murder Was the Case.
Inspired by a song from Doggystyle based in part on his legal battles, the short-film — which was accompanied by a soundtrack showcasing Death Row’s stable of talent — was released on October 18, 1994. With a cast that included Charlie Murphy, Miya McGhee, Freez Luv, Sam Snead, Ricky Harris, John Witherspoon, Gregory Scott Cummins and Snoop himself, the movie was well-received and helped open the door for other rap-inspired shorts.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of its release, REVOLT looks back at five outrageous moments from Murder Was the Case that made it a classic.
1. The Lover’s Quarrel
After heading home to enjoy a night with the fellas, JC (played by Charlie Murphy) accidentally overhears his girlfriend on the phone slandering him, while professing her affections for Snoop. As a result, JC’s anger nearly escalates to fatal attraction when he brandishes a firearm. But, he’s ultimately ushered out by his crew, who proceed to clown him for being on the wrong end of cuckoldry.
2. The Shootout
The drama gets thick when JC and company track down Snoop, who’s spotted lounging in the parking lot of a convenience store with reinforcement of his own. Non-pleasantries are exchanged, shots ring out and despite their valiant attempts, Snoop and his affiliates are gunned down in a scene reminiscent of a vintage gangster flick.
3. The Smoked-Out Ambulance
In the aftermath of his showdown with JC, a bullet-riddled Snoop is hauled off in an ambulance and rushed to the hospital. However, the paramedics tasked with transporting him are more concerned with the chronic they’re partaking in rather than saving a life, which makes Snoop’s chances of survival slim. In a twisted turn of events, the paramedics are ambushed by JC and his cohorts, ultimately succumbing to a hail of gunfire. This results in an explosion tailor-made for the big screen.
4. The Eye-Witness Account
When criminal activity occurs, an eye-witness account can be pivotal to adding context to matters, and can possibly result in the prosecution and conviction of the perpetrator. On the other hand, some eye-witnesses provide more foolery than information, as is the case with OG Lil Nut, an aspiring rapper in the film who used his air-time to send an open-call out to all producers in the area. The moment is a hilarious one and bolster’s this Death Row short’s comedic factor.
5. Snoop’s Revenge
In an alternate turn of events, Snoop and his cronies get the upper-hand on JC and his henchmen, but are apprehended by law enforcement before getting the opportunity to fire the fatal blow. Sent on a one-way trip to the penitentiary, Snoop encounters his foe in the belly of the beast, where he goes full savage and settles the score once and for all in a climax for the ages.
For old time’s sake, check out the Murder Was the Case short film below!