In the winter of 1996, Snoop Dogg was looked upon as the last man standing on a sinking ship. He may have beat the Murder Case that would have sent him to prison for 25 years but things would get worst before they would get better for Snoop after leaving Death Row. With Knight Incarceration, Pac’s death and Dre’s early departure. It seemed to have sent Snoop as a depression as the once live dogg that beasted through songs such as Da Shiznit and Pump Pump sounded like a wimpering dog throughout Tha Doggfather album.
The Doggfather album which despite its 2 million sells failed to expectations critically and was labeled as a sophomore jinx. It lacked the magic Dr Dre touch and it showed in Snoop’s delivery. Snoop tried to soldier out his contract with Death Row but he started seeing the shady business practices taking place with Death Row telling other artists to not collab with Snoop and the fact that they didn’t release his Doggumentry EP in 1997 proved that It was the final straw that broke Snoop’s back.
Snoop was fed up with the direction Death Row was going and clearly seen that the company was heading on a downward spiral. Snoop aired out the label and his frustrations with the label on the March 1998 Source issue where he claims that Suge cheated him out of his royalties and would instead give them cars, houses, and jewelry for compisation. He also claimed that the label blocked him from collaborating with Dr Dre(The Zoom record which he would be replaced by LL Cool J). He would start firing diss records at Suge Knight and his label on the underground track titled “Fuck Death Row”. Snoop was actually the first one to fire the shots at the label:
After a year of grueling negotiations and trying to get out of a enslaving contract. Snoop Dogg would surprise the Industry by signing with Master P and No Limit Records during the early summer of 1998. Master P had a lot of muscle and was able to get Snoop off Death Row, Snoop in order to gain his freedom had to change his moniker from “Snoop Doggy Dogg” to “Snoop Dogg” and leave the catalogue that he recorded under that name with Death Row. The move to No Limit was Master P’s biggest asset and it gave Snoop the creative freedom that he desired.
But the move to No Limit came with consequences. Snoop was already bankrupt due to the legal battle. Him surrendering his catalog to the label meaning that he wouldn’t see none of the profits off his biggest hits such as Gin and Juice, Whats My Name, Murder Was the Case and 2 of Amerikas Most Wanted proved to be an even bigger blow..He was forced to sell his California mansion in order to cover the debt that he left behind in trying to leave Death Row. Snoop like Dre had to sacrifice alot but they felt it was worth it at the end.
Master P bought him a home out in New Orleans where he stayed for a year and recorded his debut album for the label titled The Game to be Told not Sold for the label. It was also the fact that Suge was still bitter about Snoop leaving and felt betrayed so there were hits put out on Snoop’s life if he came back to California. Suge would go as far as to put directions to Snoop and Dre’s houses on their Death Row Uncut DVD so people could find them and cause harm to him.
Snoop’s debut on No Limit was seen to critics as a disappointment as he practically abandoned the whole West Coast sound that made him famous(Simlar to Dre and his Aftermath debut) but he sounded more alive than before on the new songs despite at many times the Beats by the Pound Production team didn’t supply good enough beats for Snoop’s sound. There were songs such as Still a G Thang, Hooked, Hoez Money, and Clout and Snitches on Master P’s Last Don album where he and Master P took shots at Suge Knight
Snoop would return to his home in 1999 to record No Limit Topp Dogg and it marked as a true comeback for the Dogg. Snoop went back and recruited DJ Quik, JellyRoll, Meech Wells, and reunited with Dr Dre for three of the albums best cuts(Buck Em, Bitch Please, and Just Dippin) He went back into his old flow reminisce of Doggystyle on Snooperfella, Bussn Rocks, 20 Minutes, and G Bedtime Stories. This was the album that Snoop needed to rejuvenate his ailing career and he would go on to release more stellar albums such as The Last Meal, Tha Eastsidaz debut, along with reuniting with Dre for his classic sophomore Chronic 2001 album. Snoop was even involved with the biggest rap tour of all time featuring Dr Dre, Eminem, Ice Cube, and many others.
Despite finally finding his niche back musically, His bitter feud with Suge Knight had gotten uglier. The two as previously mentioned in the Knight article would go back and forth talking for years verbally in magazines, interviews, songs and in cases with their camps physically. Death Row released a compilation album titled Too Gangsta for Radio taking aim at Snoop, Dre, Eminem, and anybody thats affiliated or likes them. Snoop responded back sarcastically with “I want to Congratulate Mr Knight for selling 14,000 records their first week”
The problems between the two further escalated when Suge leaked Snoop Dogg’s Last Meal album on to the internet before its release and promoted his own personal Snoop Doggy Dogg album titled “Dead Man Walking” which has Snoop Dogg laid in the casket on the back cover and with him in a red jump suit in the front cover. Snoop fired back shots at his former label on not only Pimp SlappD but also many other songs that were featured on his Welcome 2 the Church Mixtape series.
Snoop despite his on going feud with Knight didn’t let it distract him from becoming a major player in the hip hop game and recognized as one of the most respected of this generation. Albums such as R&G, Blue Carpet Treatment, and Ego Trippin further solidified Snoop’s position in the game as a hit maker and a respected artist of his genre. Snoop Dogg has not only crossed over into middle mainstream America on the music scene but also in the entertainment world as well despite dropping a dud with Malice and Wonderland. He’s probably one of the most beloved rappers in the game today.
Snoop was currently working on his highly anticipated Doggystyle II album(which shows he may have heard people call Malice in Wonderland wack) along with being the boss of Priority Records and trying to make the West Coast rap scene a focus point in the game.
He’s also smoked some of the best trees in Jamaica and transformed his whole musical direction and name from Snoop Dogg to Snoop Lion. He became a Rastafari and wants to market his music to younger audiences. The results have been met with many long time fans of his scratching their heads, But Snoop has clearly grown up and been happier after Death Row