S6 E14 | Snoop Dogg
On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN sat down with Snoop Dogg to discuss his acquiring of Death Row Records, endorsements, diving into the NFT space, his career and several other topics.
Often mentioned in the conversation of musicians who helped paved the way for hip hop in the West Coast, Snoop Dogg — formally known as Snoop Doggy Dogg — entered the industry by way of former N.W.A member and legendary producer Dr. Dre, appearing on his cult classic album The Chronic in 1992. With much anticipation around Snoop’s debut offering, the Long Beach native released his album Doggystyle in 1993 under Death Row Records — which was run by Dre and Suge Knight at the time. Upon release, the 19-track project sold over 800,000 copies in its first week and rapidly peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 list. Songs like “Gin & Juice,” “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None),” “Murder Was The Case,” and “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” collectively propelled the album into commercial success, as it became four times RIAA-certified platinum within a year of its release.
Continuing his rise to superstardom, Snoop Dogg followed up with his sophomore effort Tha Doggfather, released after Dr. Dre’s departure from Death Row and months after Snoop was acquitted of murder. Selling over two million copies upon its release, the album boasted features from Charlie Wilson, Too $hort, Kurupt, Warren G and the late Tupac. Tha Doggfather peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard charts and was RIAA-certified double platinum the following year. However, it also served as Snoop’s last album under Death Row Records for quite a while. He released a plethora of mixtapes, compilation projects and albums over the course of the next several years, including the highly praised No Limit Top Dogg, The Last Meal and R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece.
The California native has not only left a permanent mark on music culture, but also pivoted into film, TV, the cannabis industry, merchandising, food and much more. This year, Snoop Dogg continues to expand his formidable portfolio, releasing his nineteenth studio album B.O.D.R. back in February following his recent acquisition of Death Row Records. It marks his third studio album released under the label and features Nate Dogg, DaBaby, Wiz Khalifa, recent “Drink Champs” alumni The Game and more. Elsewhere, the rapper, entrepreneur and global icon is diving into the metaverse with the release of his NFT collection in collaboration with Clay Nation, comprised of iconic clay animations, land pitches and unlockable music content from the musician.
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from the Snoop Dogg “Drink Champs” interview. Take a look at those below.
1. On Dr. Dre bringing him out for Super Bowl LVI
Super Bowl LVI took place this past February in SoFi Studio in Inglewood, California with legendary hip hop producer Dre. Dre leading the halftime show. While many people were upset Dre didn’t bring out The Game and Scott Scorch, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige were all billed for the half-time performance. “Look at Dr. Dre’s mindstate. Whatever he was on, he was on. That was his show. They asked him to perform,” Snoop emphasizes.
“Where are you going to satisfy everybody in 12 minutes when your catalog is 30 years long? You’re going to miss a beat. Where was Ice Cube? We have to respect Dre’s mindset,” Snoop says. “Now when the NFL calls us individually to do a show, then we can do what we want to do after we put in the work that Dre put in to get that position. We can’t knock it, we gotta applaud it because maybe that’ll open the door for me or someone else who continues the journey that Dre put down in hip hop for 30 fucking years. Three decades of fucking hit records.”
Addressing The Game’s comments that he was a “safe” artist to have perform at the Super Bowl, Snoop delves into the things he’s done to create a new image for himself. “I got football leagues, I do things for special needs kids, I do things with parents, the gun violence. The things that I’ve done to create a whole new narrative, I guess that would make him feel like I’m safe, but I’m still a nigga.” Prior to that, he explains, “A lot of times when we air out, it’s probably because we haven’t been able to communicate with our family.”
2. On showing love to New York amid the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry
The well-documented East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry saw iconic record labels Bad Boy Records and Death Row Records feuding throughout the 1990s. The feud saw both camps lose artists — Tupac Shakur was tragically shot and killed in 1996 and The Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed the following year. Snoop shares with N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN that he attempted to put an end to the rivalry, but ultimately, it led to internal issues with him and Death Row.
“They tried to get me to not like Puffy and Biggie while we was in the middle of the Death Row and Bad Boy feud, and I made a choice that I had no issues with them. That was the Angie Martinez interview back in the days that created havoc between me and Death Row because I stood on my values,” he emphasizes. “Motherfuckers don’t understand that I had just beat a murder case. Now you want me to get in another one while I’m in New York with no guns?”
Later in the interview, Snoop discusses the 1995 Source Awards when Suge Knight gave his infamous “Come to Death Row!” speech. “All the New York niggas had got together like, ‘Fuck ya’ll!’ It was really tension like that. You feel tension when you come from that environment. You know when it can just [escalate] like that.”
3. On acquiring Death Row Records after 23 years
Back in February, Snoop Dogg announced that he owns Death Row Records — the same record label that helped launch his career during the 90s. The label was founded by Dr. Dre and Suge Knight after the disbanding of N.W.A and helmed Dre’s debut solo album The Chronic as well as Snoop Dogg’s critically acclaimed Doggystyle. According to Snoop, he initially only wanted to reacquire his masters, but after it was announced that he bought the company, Snoop went back and bought not only his masters, but every artist’s masters under the label during that time period.
“eOne shitted on me. They tried to treat me like a hoe, wanted me to come work for them. Alan Grunblatt, that bitch ass nigga. For about a year and a half .. two years, I was just trying to get my masters. All I wanted was just Doggystyle,” Snoop explains. eOne Music, now known as MNRK Music Group, purchased Death Row Records and later sold the company to Hasbro for $4 billion dollars in 2019. That prompted Snoop to meet with Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge. Snoop would become the Creative Consultant of Def Jam Recordings until it was later announced that both eOne and Death Row Records were sold again.
Snoop continues, “I get Death Row, they announce Snoop Dogg got Death Row, but niggas always got something negative to say. ‘He ain’t got the masters. He don’t own this, he don’t…’ Cool, I don’t. ‘Hey, let me holla at y’all. How much for that? I want all of them. Not just mine — all of them. Oh, it’s one more piece missing. What about the publishing? I want all of that, too.’ Now what?”
4. On plans to reimburse former Death Row artists
Pivoting from the topic of acquiring Death Row Records, the rapper and entrepreneur delves into his plan for the record label, which includes reimbursing the musicians who were formerly on its roster, hiring previously incarcerated Co-Founder Michael “Harry-O” Harris and more. As of March, Snoop removed many of the label’s albums from digital streaming platforms and announced his plans to turn Death Row into the first formal “NFT label.”
“Snatch everything Death Row off traditional: iTunes, Apple, Spotify … fuck out of here! So, take the Death Row catalog to Gala Games, the company that I fuck with in the metaverse. That’s where it lives in the metaverse, then build the Death Row app so we can be like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Now, instead of Apple, Spotify and all of these motherfuckers pimpin’, it’s a new motherfucker on the block.”
“First thing, I want to get paid all of the people that didn’t get paid. Nate Dogg, [The Lady of] Rage, RBX, Korupt. Then I want to make sure that the founder, Harry O, can get paid. Give him a position in the company to be an executive because he’s a fucking brilliant-minded businessman. Put him in position to make some things happen and get this shit from an M to a B.” Snoop Dogg expands, “Then I’ll take care of people like Warren G. I’ll go get the Warren G record from Def Jam, take it to the metaverse, make Def Jam some money and make my homie some millions. Then, I’ll take care of Snoop Dogg once I take care of everyone else.”
5. On his Hollywood Walk of Fame speech
In 2018, Snoop Dogg received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. During his ceremony speech, the rapper thanked no one other than himself, stating “Last but not least: I want to thank me. I want to thank me for believing in me, I want to thank me for doing all this hard work.” In earning the honor, Snoop joins notable names such as Tupac Shakur, DMX, Nas, Queen Latifah and more.
“When I’m there spitting my shit, I don’t even know what the fuck I’m talking about. I look at my mama, and I’m like ‘I need to thank me.’ Mama did her part, but I’m looking at my mama like all of the rest is on me. When you have a kid, you cut them loose and it’s all on them.” He adds, “I felt like to get where I got, I had to put in all that hard work, that dedication, the struggle, the losses. Everything that I had went through, I had to be strong enough to get back up and fight through it.”
6. On his mother passing away
In 2021, Snoop Dogg’s mother Beverly Tate passed away at the age of 70. When asked by N.O.R.E. why he continued to work despite how difficult it may be, Snoop said it’s what his mother would have wanted. “To me, her transition made me better because now she’s up top watching over me. It’s no accident that I’m having all of this right now because she’s upstairs pulling strings for me. Her work was done down here,” Snoop says. “The reason I went back to work is because she always loved me doing what I do. To make people happy, to inspire, to influence.”
7. On Warren G saving Def Jam Recordings
Long Beach rapper Warren G, recognized for his 1994 smash hit “Regulate,” has been widely credited for saving Def Jam Recordings during the 90s. He’s previously been vocal about how his debut album Regulate… G Funk Era, now RIAA-certified three-times platinum, reportedly got Def Jam out of steep debt. Despite this, Warren still has yet to recoup his masters following his departure from the label thirty years ago. “That’s that slave type shit. I’m trying to get my masters back from Def Jam,” he told HELLACLASSIC.
“You know what Warren G did for Def Jam? He saved them. He was never compensated for that,” Snoop states. “At that time, Def Jam was an East Coast-centered label, right? But a West Coast artist saved them. You would think on the save or the comeback, it’ll be like, ‘Since we ended up getting JAY-Z, DMX, Murder Inc, Rihanna, Kanye, Justin Bieber; Warren G, here goes 10 my nigga for giving us …’ Nothing. But it’s okay. I’m gonna regulate.”
8. On signing Benny the Butcher
Later in the conversation, Snoop discusses signing Benny the Butcher to Def Jam towards the tail end of 2021. The rappers previously collaborated on “Murder Music” alongside Jadakiss and Busta Rhymes on Snoop Dogg Presents Algorithm, a compilation album featuring past and present artists from the legendary record label’s roster.
Snoop recalls inviting Benny the Butcher to the studio one night, during which he helped negotiate the Buffalo rapper’s contract with Def Jam. “Matter of fact, I said, ‘What you want?’ He said what he want. I said, ‘I’ma call the boss and you gon’ tell the boss what you want, and he gone give you what you want. You gone be signed.’” Furthermore, he adds, “I felt good about that move because I like to see young people like that get what they supposed to get and maintain control. A lot of niggas would’ve had to take a different approach, where they’ll give you a whole lot of money then lock you up for a long time.”
9. On building community in Inglewood and Long Beach
Closing off the interview, Snoop Dogg talks about his efforts to revitalize Inglewood, California where the rapper also opened a clothing store. “Inglewood picked me, that’s what it is. They love me like I love them. When you come into a community, you start doing something and you start aiming towards the kids … to physically be here, to do things, to give back where I find opportunities and tying the kids and the future into the jobs. Not just looking out for the older homies, but the young ones that’s in high school,” Snoop shares. “It’s not just about us trying to come to a neighborhood and identify the gang bangers, but we trying to identify the people who want to change the community.”
Elsewhere, Snoop expands on his community efforts in his hometown of Long Beach, California. “In Long Beach, we trying to get some peace in my city. We’re doing some things in my hood where we trying to create peace and create opportunities for my little homies to stop killing each other. I’m trying to show them this metaverse NFT place so they can find ways to make [money] because normally when you tell homies to stop killing each other, they can do that — but when you leave, then it’s like the question is, ‘How do we make money?’”