What Was Snoop's Transition Like?
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When you started working with Death Row the label was already formed?

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 place?

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 up.

When Dre left did you ever think you might want to go with him?

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 next.

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 with N.W.A.

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 later.

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 Doggy Style.

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 on.

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?

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.

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