During the 1980s, West Coast hip-hop really came into its own, and with acts such as Ice-T and NWA popularising what is now known as ‘Gangsta Rap’, LA rap music appeared to be at its peak. However, with the formation of Death Row Records in the early 1990s, when Snoop Dogg emerged on the scene, it’s fair to say that California hip-hop reached dizzying heights.
Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre have a partnership that spans over three decades, and ever since they met in 1992, the two have become friends and legends in their own rights. However, not all know how they first met, and in a 2022 appearance on the Checc’n-In podcast with Big U, Snoop (real name Calvin Broadus) revealed that upon meeting Dre for the first time, he was slightly fearful. Snoop Dogg first started rapping in the early 1990s—by this time, Dr Dre was an LA icon and local hero. Having made a name for himself as a member of the World Class Wreckin’ Cru and hit rap group NWA, locally, the producer (real name Andre Young) was a legend. As such, he was held in high regard.
In 1992, Young teamed up with Suge Knight and The DOC to create Death Row Records, and it was around this time that the producer was first made aware of Snoop Dogg. Warren G (Dre’s cousin) lived in Long Beach and was good friends with Snoop as they had grown up in the same area. Keen to show his cousin Broadus’s talent, the rapper (real name Warren Griffin) presented him with Snoop’s demo. The recording was a freestyle over En Vogue’s song ‘Hold On.’ Blown away, Dre reached out to, and before long, Broadus became his prodigy child.
When the adolescent Snoop first performed in front of Dre, he lacked the confidence and spirit he’s known for today. Explaining his first encounter with Young, Snoop told Big U, “[Dr Dre] came over one Thanksgiving and Warren G had me nervous because he was telling Dre’ Snoopy can rap,'” Snoop remembered. “And I was like, ‘Man, shut the f*ck up, I ain’t ready yet!” Keen to see his abilities, Dre played the instrumental for ‘Eazy-Duz-It’ by Eazy-E.
Recalling the situation, Snoop continued, “So Dre takes us to the back room and he starts playing that ‘He once was a thug from around the way,’ before it had even come out,” Snoop recalled. “He turned to me and was like ‘You rap?’ And I’m like, ‘Nah, I don’t rap!’ That was my moment and I froze up on cuz. I wasn’t ready.” However, he did end up freestyling for Dr Dre and it’s fair to say he was impressed. Due to his abundant potential, young signed Broadus to the freshly formed Death Row Records and Snoop Dogg went on to become a hit-making rapper on his own.
Dre introduced Snoop to the world as his protégé on the legendary track ‘Deep Cover’ in 1992, and since then, the two have gone on to make iconic and legendary music together but also with other artists. Even into the 2010s, Snoop and Dre continued to work together, and only last year the two teamed up for an unforgettable ode to hip-hop at the Super Bowl LVI halftime show. It’s difficult to imagine that, at one point in time, Snoop Dogg was scared of Dr Dre but, thankfully he overcame it. You can watch Snoop’s full interview with BIG U in the video below.