Was Snoop's Transition Like?
When you started working with Death Row the label was
Death Row wasn't formed, we was building it. I was part
of the building process. I'm one of the originators,
that's why I couldn't say nothing bad about it. I was
upset in the past, but I learned to forgive and forget.
It's just like a marriage or a brother. Death Row was
like a big brother to me. We went through a whole lot.
We learned together, we loved together, we lived together.
How did you come to work with Death Row in the first
I was in a group called 213 with me, Warren G and Nate
Dogg. Warren G and Dr. Dre are brothers by marriage.
Eventually when we made enough tapes Dre got ahold of
one of 'em and liked it, moved forward with it. I started
writing for Dre. We made songs together. Death Row became
a label, blew up, we became partners and teammates and
we took it to the top and did all we could do. The fun
was there while it lasted.
At that time was Dr. Dre with Ruthless Records?
He was leaving Ruthless at the time. He knew he was
gonna leave, but he didn't know how he was gonna leave.
I was just in the cut just basically writing and tryin
to get in where I fit in.
When you met Dre you just clicked with him? That Chronic
album is a classic.
I was a fan of his. For me to be able to rap for him
and write for him was like a dream come true. It was
like me given an opportunity that a million other kids
woulda loved to have, and I took full advantage of it.
I thank god for givin me the ability and the understanding
to write songs that people could feel and understand--for
me to give up a piece of me and for Dre to be willing
to work with me.
How much input did Suge Night have in making the music?
Suge wasn't really involved in the music. He was more
or less 100% of the business and none of the music.
He let us do whatever we wanted to do creatively. If
he had an idea of something he'd throw it out there,
if we used it we used it. But for the most part he was
about the business.
After The Chronic came out, your solo album, Doggy Style,
came out and your whole direction was different. Was
that your decision or Death Row's decision?
It was me, it was all me. And The Chronic was basically
my idea and Dre takin them and bringin them to life.
Doggy Style was me, it was a persona of Snoop Dogg,
I was lettin the whole world know what I stood for and
what I was about. Dre basically lead and directed that
and I just did what I do best--I come up with fly songs,
hooks and concepts.
By the time you did Doggfather Dre had left Death Row?
Dre had left Death Row, Tupac was dead and Suge was
in jail. My back was against the wall, my head was distraught,
but I still managed to put together a quality album
and deal with some things and did a couple of tours
and traveled and did a couple of movies and just kept
my head up through all the negativity and tragedy that
was goin on at that time.
Why did Dre leave Death Row?
I never knew. We had fun while it lasted. While we was
all together it was no such thing as ever breakin up,
when everybody was at the table we never would leave.
When one leg left it made the table kinda hard to stand
When Dre left did you ever think you might want to go
I was kinda torn in between. I loved Dre and I was like,
why don't Death Row love Dre now? They was all mad at
him and shit and they was callin him a fag and shit.
I didn't like that, I still loved Dre, how was I supposed
to just hate a muthafucka that I'd grown to love and
had helped me and put me in the game......that was it
right there, it fucked me up. It's as if you a kid and
your mom and dad get a divorce and you gotta pick and
choose which one. Your mama ain't likin your father
no more, your pops ain't likin you mama and they both
talkin shit. You gotta be there in the middle--I love
both of them. I was in the middle.
When Death Row was at its peak everybody was praising
Death Row and Suge Night. After Suge Night went to jail
everybody's acting like he's a punk. People have forgotten
what Suge did for the music industry.
Suge did a lot for the music industry. Death Row put
West Coast on the map, The Chronic was the album that
did it. We put Gangsta Rap on a worldwide scale. If
it wasn't for Suge Night in this industry it wouldn't
be no Snoop Dogg, it wouldn't be no Chronic, cause he
was the business behind this. Without the business the
music wouldn't be respected. That's how society is though.
It's made to bring you up and bring you down. That's
why you gotta be able to weather the storm to keep you
head up and come up. I been down. My second album a
lotta people had negative things to say about The Doggfather.
"It ain't hard", "It was tight", it wasn't this, it
wasn't that. It only sold 2 million copies in America.
It didn't do what we thought it was gonna do, it wasn't
what we expected. At the time I was goin through a lot
and that's the way I felt. The 2 million people that
bought it, I love you and appreciate you. For all you
6 million muthafuckas that's on my dick again, now you
love me again--fuck y'all cause y'all wasn't real when
the shit was tough.
Did you make a decision not to come too street or Gangsta
on that album?
It was a decision I made cause I had just won a murder
case for one. I didn't wanna be glorifying or glamorizing
Gangsta life, like I just killed somebody and got away
with it and fuck everybody. I didn't wanna be glamorizing
it cause I felt remorseful to the situation. I felt
like takin a different approach, an educational approach--bein
like a big brother and tryin to give the people some
messages and something to grow on and something to live
for. Through all of that, a lotta people died and a
lotta negativity occurred but I'm still here, the last
man standing. That album meant something. It was done
for a reason, it was done from the heart.
When did you really decide to leave Death Row?
Probably when I seen that the business wasn't there
no more. When I seen that Suge couldn't run the company
from jail, and whoever he was tryin to get to run the
company while he was in jail couldn't run it. I needed
to get with somebody who knew how to handle me and who
could promote me and fully do it. Now if Suge was on
the streets it wouldn't have been no reason for me to
leave. It woulda been straight, everything woulda been
happening. He woulda been out here workin it and promotin
it. But it's hard for a man incarcerated to promote.
His main thing was promoting.
After Suge left who was running the label?
Don't know. Nobody told me nothing. Just left it blind.
I didn't see no more paychecks or nothing. He was in
jail so who do I get in contact with? I didn't wanna
be stressin him out with shit, cause I know he's stressin.
He got 9 years.
Once you made the decision to leave I first heard that
you were going to do it independently.
I was gonna do it independently, but then I started
hollerin at muthafuckas like P and muthafuckin record
labels. I seen that I can't do it by myself. I'm a smart
playa, I'm not gonna try to carry the load when I know
I can't. I coulda put it out myself and probably made
2 or 3 million dollars. Goin with No Limit, I got a
career, I got a future.
How did it all come together with P?
We was always friends and he's the best business man
in the music business, I'm the best artists in the music
business. It's a dream come true, it's a match-up, it's
like heaven sent.
Was it difficult for you to get out of your contract
with Death Row?
Everybody just had respect for each other. Just respect
and business. Business is respect, respect is business.
Suge paved the way for No Limit Records. Death Row paved
the way for No Limit Records. It's only fitting for
me to get from that label to this label. It was handled
in a business fashion, from one business man to the
Since Suge went to jail have you talked to him?
When you did that interview in The Source I think you
were really angry at that time.
I was and I didn't have no outlet, no way to make people
understand what I was goin through. And I couldn't communicate
with Suge--I couldn't visit him and he wasn't callin
me. It was like miscommunication. His wife was suing
me. It made me feel fucked up about the whole situation.
It just had me puzzled. But through all things, thick
and thin, I know what type of person he is and he know
what type of person I am. We know it ain't nothing but
love. I just gotta move forward. If I was in his position
he'd continue to push forward and keep Death Row movin
along and continue to find new artists and new talent.
Same way I gotta go find a new label to promote this
talent of mine.
You and Tupac were pretty tight?
I knew him real well, especially before he got on Death
Row. We were real good partners. I was part of the reason
for him gettin on Death Row. He was goin through a lotta
things--gettin shot at, shootin at police, a lotta shit
was goin on around him--and I always had love for him
cause he was a cool cat that I had met on the personal
tip. All that other shit didn't mean nothing to me,
cause I know what we go through as rappers. When he
was faced with his last adversity, as far as bein locked
up in the pen in New York, and we was hearin all kinda
shit about him in there, I hollered at Suge--let's get
this nigga out and put him down with us. He already
on Interscope, they don't give a fuck about him, we
might as well put him with us. Suge pulled the strings
and got him out and we laced that album, All Eyes On
Me. That's why it turned out to be a classic album like
that. As the first year grew, the family grew, his relationship
with Suge got close and it distanced him away from everybody
else. We never had a relationship with Suge like that,
Suge was always like a big brother and a big business.
We didn't really personalize with him too much, it was
always on a cool page, but Pac was like every day kickin
it with him, chillin with him, rollin with him.
What kinda relationship did Dr. Dre have with Suge?
Dr. Dre was more like solo. He liked to have parties
and kick it. He wasn't really with all that gang bangin
and shit. Suge and me, we got a lotta homeboys that
gang bang. They get out the pen, they still affiliated
with gangs and we affiliate ourselves with it because
that's our nature. Dre's through with that shit, he
ain't with that shit. He likes to make music, be the
family man and do what he gotta do. He got burned out
on that shit cause he did all that shit when he was
Would you say that Tupac changed as a person after he
came to Death Row?
I think so, but I think he had to.
There was pressure?
You grow with time. You get older and wiser. As time
goes on a lotta people get smarter and a lotta people
get dumber, but you gotta make change, you gotta make
development. That was like me and my Doggfather album,
it was about change and development. A lotta muthafuckas
still don't understand it, but I had to change and develop.
Same with Tupac with the All Eyes On Me album, that
was a change and development album for him. But he went
right back to Tupac on Makavelli. He didn't bullshit,
he went right back to his shit.
Did you feel disappointed with the response you got
from the Doggfather?
Hell no. When I put out an album I feel confident about
it. It sold 2 million records and about 2 million overseas.
How could I complain? A lotta muthafuckas never sell
2 million records in their whole career. I did that
on my second album and put another album out a year
To me, you and Dre were key people in taking Death Row,
and even West Coast Rap, to that level. Dr. Dre had
the beats but you came with the voice and that style.
It's hard to follow up an album like The Chronic or
How can you top what can't be topped? That shit is history.
It can't be topped. I'm not even trying to, I'm moving
The buzz is back on about Snoop now that you're with
No Limit. What is the deal you set up with Master P?
I said, I wanna do a one album deal with you. Put out
one album on No Limit. P was like, cool I'm with you.
As he seen that I was still tryin to get a real deal
with other labels he was like, give me the opportunity
that you givin these other muthafuckas. I gave it to
him and he gave me the best shot. He couldn't be beat.
For how many albums do you plan on releasing on No Limit?
How did it feel to work with Beats By The Pound, because
they have a Southern flavor?
Beats By The Pound is the shit. They a bunch of talent.
They make music for Snoop Dogg, they make music for
all their artists. They don't just produce Southern
shit, they produce shit to fit the artist. That's why
if you look on the charts right now there's 10 albums
from No Limit Records on the top ten. You don't get
there by having sloppy shit. What No Limit is doin has
never been done before.
You feel good about the move to sign with No Limit?
I wouldn't have did it if I didn't feel it was the right
decision. I stayed low key for a minute. I coulda signed
anywhere in the world, but I chose to sign with No Limit
Records and Master P. That let you know something. Either
No Limit Records and Master P is a bunch of bullshit
muthafuckas that's gonna fuck me over or Master P and
No Limit Records is the best muthafuckin business and
the best record label in the whole world that made the
best rapper in the whole world wanna be a part of that
family. Nine times outta ten it could only be one way,
and that's the No Limit way.