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Behind the Mic: Snoop Dogg's confessional classic 'Murder was the Case'

@jackwhatley89

Most songs from the catalogue of Snoop Dogg have an unmistakable vibe. Tracing his legacy from his beginnings on the West Coast scene all the way up to his globe-conquering efforts with Pharrell, as soon as the G-funk needle drops on a Snoop track, it’s easy to tell that the Doggfather’s pawprints are all over it. However, one track acts as perhaps his most brutally honest, ‘Murder was the Case’.

There are few characters in the world of hip hop as smooth and smokey as Snoop Dogg. Ageing like a fine cognac, the rapper has become one of the idols of hip hop, breaching the mainstream, turning his hand to countless styles and all while maintaining perhaps the most unique flow in the rap game. But, if you think that Snoop is anything other than a straight-up gangbanger at heart, you are dead wrong.

Calvin Broadus Jr., AKA Snoop Dogg, Snoop Lion, The Doggfather and countless other aliases, broke on to the hip hop scene in 1992 and quickly became one of the most famous men in hip hop. Initially breaking out as one of Dr Dre’s prodigies, the rapper soon found his niche, and while making cameos a searing part of his progression, he also delivered some of his own classic anthems. One song captured this moment in time perfectly.

‘Murder was the Case’, featuring on his debut album Doggystyle, accurately reflects the moment of transition for Snoop. The period in his life when he grew up beyond the gangsters and became a superstar. Some rappers merely reflect their surroundings, not so for Snoop. Born in the projects and no stranger to police custody one of Snoop’s finest efforts was a semi-autobiographical retelling of a murder charge he faced. ‘Murder was the Case’ is a defining moment in Snoop’s journey to the top.

Before hitting the top, though, Snoop had to hit rock bottom. He was involved in the case surrounding the murder of a gang member name Philip Woldemariam. The rapper was driving his Jeep alongside his bodyguard McKinley Lee when they decided to confront Woldemariam while he was eating Mexican food outside. Lee rose up out of his seat as they approached and shot the gang member and killed him. Not directly involved in the murder and later cleared of wrongdoing after Death Row posted his initial bail, Snoop used his experiences to put himself in the place of the victim on ‘Murder Was The Case’.

Already showing himself to be capable of becoming a bonafide hip hop superstar, Snoop and Dr Dre deliver a quintessential gangster rap tune with this number. The song speaks of Snoop’s ultimate sliding doors moments when a judge offered him the chance to either find a new, more righteous path or continue down the road of drugs, death and prison. Facing some of the most severe charges, Snoop chose the rap game as his ultimate saviour and expressed it within this classic song.