Hit rapper Snoop Dogg has been in the music industry for three decades. But long before he burst onto the scene as a rapper, the California emcee was a pianist at his local church.
Snoop Dogg played the piano and sang a choir in church as a child
Snoop Dogg grew up in Long Beach, California and was raised primarily by his mother. When he was young, he helped his family make ends meet by selling candy, delivering newspapers and packing groceries.
As a child, Snoop loved music, but had yet to discover the art of rapping. He played piano and sang in the choir at Golgotha Trinity Baptist Church in Long Beach. Besides being an active churchgoer and choir singer, Snoop was also an accomplished student athlete, playing on the football team and getting good grades in school.
Snoop Dogg started rapping after going to jail
While Snoop stayed out of trouble as a kid, things took a turn when he became a teenager. He befriended members of the Crips’ Rolling 20s ensemble and was involved in illegal activities. He went to prison for cocaine possession shortly after graduating from high school in 1989.
While in prison, he was able to reflect on what he wanted to do with his life and how his experiences up to that point had influenced his decisions. He talked about turning his lived experiences into music in a 1993 interview with The New York Times.
“I started thinking about my life,” he said. “Do I want to keep coming back to this place, or do I want to rise up and make my mom proud of me?”
” By the roadside [Jail], I listened to all the stories people were telling, wrote them down on my notepad and turned them into raps. This is the first time I’ve really started to get serious about rapping,” he continued. “Older inmates would pull me aside and say, ‘Young one, you don’t need to be inside this place. God has given you talent, and you have to use it.’”
Snoop Dogg’s career today
Snoop started running after his release from prison in 1993. That same year, he teamed up with Dr. Dre and released his debut album. doggystyleproduced entirely by the former NWA member.
Over the next two decades, Snoop cemented his place as a hip-hop great. He earned his first No. 1 hit single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2004 with the Pharrell Williams collaboration “Drop It Like It’s Hot”. He earned another No. 1 hit in 2010 with Katy Perry’s hit song “California Gurls.”
In 2022, Snoop continues to exert influence on the music industry. Snoop, Dre and fellow hip-hop legends Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and Eminem took to the stage at Super Bowl LVI’s halftime show for an ode to the genre. Snoop’s performance coincided with the release of another new album, BODRas well as his purchase of iconic rap label Death Row Records.
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