How Snoop Dogg went from a choirboy to gangster rapper
(Credits: Alamy)


How Snoop Dogg went from a choirboy to gangster rapper

West Coast rapper Snoop Dogg has been in the music business for over three decades and is still thriving as an entrepreneur and businessman. However, long before the artist (real name Calvin Broadus) burst onto the scene as a rapper, the self-proclaimed gangster was a pianist and choir boy at his local church.

Snoop Dogg grew up in Long Beach, a large town on the fringes of Los Angeles and was raised primarily by his mother. When he was a youngster, he helped his mum financially by selling sweets and delivering newspaper. However, as a child, Snoop also had a passion for music but hadn’t yet discovered hip-hop.

Before he stumbled upon rap music, Broadus played the piano and sang in the choir at his local church, the Golgotha Trinity Baptist Church. As well as being a pianist and choirboy, Snoop was also an accomplished student-athlete. Snoop Dogg played American football at a high-level and, after he gained fame, even started an American football league.

While Snoop was never in serious trouble as a kid, things changed when he became a teenager. As an impressionable adolescent, Broadus started to mingle with members of the ‘Rolling 20s’ Crips of Long Beach. At first, an innocent onlooker, a young Snoop, would slowly get ushered into the gang and was soon partaking in illegal activities.

In 1989 shortly after graduating from school, Broadus went to prison for possession of a Class A narcotic. However, while the rapper was locked up, he wrote about his experiences. When he was released, Snoop was encouraged by his friend Warren G to put his experience into music. Speaking to the New York Times in 1993, Broadus explained his mid-incarceration epiphany.

“I started thinking about my life,” he said. “Do I want to keep coming back to this place, or do I want to elevate myself and make my mother proud of me?” As soon as he was released Snoop went on to have an illustrious career. Released in 1993, that same year, he teamed up with Dr Dre and released his debut album Doggystyle through Death Row records and before he knew it was flung into fame.

Featuring on 1992’s ‘Nuthin But A G Thang’, which he recorded from jail. 2022 marked snoop’s 30-year anniversary in hip-hop, and Snoop continues to exercise influence over the music industry. Snoop not only has stakes in several highly profitable companies but, as of last year, now owns Death Row Records and plans on bringing the record label back as a subscription-only service that will provide music, merchandise, events as well as endeavours involving the metaverse.

You can hear more about Snoop’s Death Row aspirations in the video below.