He was frequently in trouble with drugs and the law as a young man, in and out of jail for the three years after he graduated from high school. He began making homemade rap tapes with his friend Warren G, who was a stepbrother of Dr. Dre of N.W.A.. Dr. Dre began collaborating with the young rapper, first on the theme song of the film Deep Cover, and then on Dr. Dre's debut solo album The Chronic.
While recording his own debut album Doggystyle with Dre in August of 1993, Dogg was arrested in the shooting death of Phillip Woldermarian, a member of a rival gang who was later revealed to have had a secret obsession with Snoop (see stalking); he was eventually acquitted on both self defense grounds and because he allegedly drove the car while his bodyguard McKinley Lee fired the fatal shots (Lee was also acquitted on self defense grounds). Snoop remained entangled in the legal battles around the case for three years.
The Doggystyle album was released in November of 1993 on Death Row Records, and became the first debut album ever to enter the charts at number one, helping to fuel the ascendance of West Coast "G Funk" rap. The singles "What's My Name" and "Gin and Juice" went to the top ten, and the album remained in the charts for several months, even as controversy raged over the murder trial and his violent and sexist lyrics. Gangsta rap became the center of arguments for censorship and labeling, with Dogg often used as an example of violent and misogynistic musicians.
A short film about the trial called Murder Was The Case, and an accompanying soundtrack, were released in 1994.
However, by the time Dogg's second album The Doggfather was released in November of 1996, both the furor and the popularity of gangsta rap had begun to fade, dragged down by the death of Dogg's friend Tupac Shakur and the racketeering indictment of Death Row co-founder Suge Knight.
He has since drawn back a bit from hardcore gangsta rap, performing with the hard rock Lollapalooza tour in 1997, and making several film appearances, in addition to producing and directing music videos for himself and other artists. He released an autobiography in 2001.
In 2002, he announced that he was giving up drinking and drugs. Later that year he released the album Paid Tha Cost to Be Da Bo$$, which featured the hit singles and videos "From Da Chuuuch to Da Palace" and "Beautiful," featuring guest vocals by the Neptunes' Pharrell Williams.
On 11 April 2003, Dogg was unhurt after a drive-by shooting on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, California. He was riding in a motorcade of five vehicles with eight armed bodyguards when three men in another car fired multiple rounds from a semi-automatic handgun. One bodyguard was injured in the incident.
On 21 May 2004, Snoop Dogg filed for divorce from his wife Shante Broadus, citing irreconcilable differences. He is seeking joint custody of their three children, Corde, Cordell, and Cori.
Snoop Dogg is famous for using slang invented by fellow rapper E-40, much of which is simply derived by adding an "izz" or "izzle" sound to the word. Some examples:
- Fo' Shizzle = for sure, the real thing
- Chuuuch = absolutely, emphatically, proper
- Nizzle = nigga, perhaps an attempt at making it more palatable by altering it
- Mr. Dizzle = Himself (He would on his MTV show)