Rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg (born Calvin Broadus in 1972) grew up in a broken home in a poor section of Long Beach, Calif. Nicknamed "Snoop Dogg" as a toddler because of a resemblance to Snoopy from the Peanuts, Snoop began rapping as a teenager, often with his friend Warren Griffin, later known as Warren G. Despite doing well in school and excelling at football, Snoop ended up joining the Crips street gang and leading a life of crime. Shortly after high school he was arrested and jailed for dealing cocaine; he spent the next few years in and out of prison for various petty crimes.
Deciding to leave the streets and pursue a career in music, Snoop Dogg sent a demo tape to his old friend Warren G., who passed it on to his brother, N.W.A.'s Dr. Dre. Dre saw promise in Snoop and invited him to appear as a guest rapper on his 1992 solo album The Chronic. The album soon went double-platinum, and the single "Ain't Nuthin But A 'G' Thang," which featured Snoop's rhymes, shot to No. 1 in the charts.
While recording his debut album in 1993, Snoop was arrested in connection with the shooting of a rival gang member, 20-year-old Philip Woldermariam, by Snoop's bodyguard, McKinley Lee. The much-anticipated album, Doggystyle, was released in November, and became the first-ever debut album to enter the charts at No. 1; it eventually sold over five million copies and spawned several hit singles.
Using the controversy surrounding his arrest to his advantage, Snoop released the single "Murder Was the Case," in 1995. Most of the rest of the year was spent preparing for his trial, which concluded in February 1996 with both Snoop and his bodyguard being acquitted of all charges.
In late 1996 Snoop Dogg released his second album, Tha Doggfather. The album contained the same uncompromising rap style as Doggystyle, yet only sold half as well, possibly due to the backlash against gangsta rap following the shooting of fellow rapper Tupac Shakur (which happened only weeks before Tha Doggfather was released).
In June of 1997 Snoop Dogg married his long-time girlfriend Shantay Taylor, who is the mother of his two children. Also that summer Snoop was a featured performer on the annual Lollapalooza tour.
Snoop dropped the "Doggy" from his name and jumped to Master P's No Limit label to record Da Game is to Be Sold, Not to be Told in the summer of 1998.