Stardom is usually fleeting. You can rummage through the history books and find far more flash-in-the-pan artists rather than world renowned stars keeping their name in the conversation for multiple decades. This holds true in hip-hop, which makes the story of Snoop Dogg that much more riveting.
Born and raised in Long Beach, Calif., Snoop always had a way with words and began to rap with a childhood friend who just happened to be Warren G, the half-brother of legendary producer Dr. Dre. Catching the ear of the good doctor, Snoop got his feet wet on seminal records like "Deep Cover" and through his appearances on Dr Dre's The Chronic album as a de facto co-star, setting the stage for what would be a very successful career.
Aside from a highly publicized murder trial and label beef, Snoop is rarely in the middle of controversy and is one of the few rappers able to skirt the line that is mainstream success and remain "good in the hood" like no other rap artist in the genre's history.
And through it all, he has continuously evolved, reinvented himself and blessed us with a laundry list of timeless jams that have helped broaden hip-hop's appeal. Other veterans tend to fall off or go through dry spells musically, but the man that gave us classic albums such as Doggystyle has been one of the few wordsmiths we can depend on to come through with a timely release.
In honor of the MC's 13th studio album, BUSH, we've combed through his entire catalog to select the tracks that made you start paying attention to the Doggfather in the first place. Here are 20 Snoop Dogg Songs That Made You a Fan.
Following his departure from Death Row Records, Snoop Dogg linked up with Master P and his No Limit Records operation, joining the roster as a key free agent acquisition and adding some West Coast swagger to their bayou-flavored musical gumbo. Releasing his No Limit debut, Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told, in 1998, Snoop unleashed the album's lead single, "Still a G Thang" and proved that even though the record label had changed, his skills remained the same -- if not better.
"From tha Chuuuch to da Palace"
Cutting business ties with No Limit Records after fulfilling his contractual obligations, Snoop released his sixth studio album, Paid tha Cost to Be da Bo$$, in 2002. The album's lead single, "From tha Chuuuch to da Palace," was produced by the Neptunes and marked the beginning of what would evolve into a fruitful musical partnership that would generate multiple hits and lead to a lasting union with Pharrell.
Snoop Dogg takes it back to the days of high-top fades and Cazel classes with his 2009 single, "I Wanna Rock." Produced by Scoop DeVille, the beat features a sample of legendary Harlem rap duo Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock's timeless cut, "It Takes Two," as well as "Space Dust" by Galactic Force Band. Snoop talks his talk while hyping up the party on this effort and doesn't rest on his laurels like other artists of his ilk. Rhyming "I'm geeked up, I'm on my tip hoe / Turn it up bitch, what you here fo'? / I'm goin' all in, that's what I do / My little n----s jerkin, what's up with you? / This little rappin ass, n----s tappin' out / I'm almost 20 in, the f--- you rappin 'bout," the Cali forefather lets it be known that he's more than capable of getting busy while adding to his cache of bangers.
"Snoop Dogg (What's My Name Pt. 2)"
The Doggfather's tenure at No Limit Records ended after the release of his fifth studio album, Tha Last Meal, in 2000. The LP was also the first under his own Doggystyle Records venture, marking his shift from talented superstar to a true shot-caller. The song, produced by Timbaland, features additional vocals from Nate Dogg and Lady of Rage on the chorus. "What's My Name Pt. 2" was a reminder to fans and critics that the man born Calvin Broadus was still the Top Dogg, indeed.
"I was in love at times / I was so hurt, she made me forget my rhymes," laments rapper and producer Soopafly on Tha Last Meal cut, "Lossen' Control." Featuring Butch Cassidy and Soopafly -- who produced the beat and handles rapping and singing duties -- the track sounds like a slice of sunshine on the brightest of days. While known as a pimp by most standards, "Loosen Control" proves that sometimes the kitten can even get a mack like the Doggfather out of sorts from time to time.
Snoop Dogg speaks on the trials and tribulations of his career on the 2004 R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta) The Masterpiece cut, "Ups & Downs." Containing an interpolation of the Bee Gees' 1979 hit, "Love You Inside Out," the track -- produced by Warryn Campbell -- features pounding drums and claps, which the Doggfather glides over. The final single released from the album, this song showcases Snoop as a wise elder statesmen rather than the young, brash gang-banger we were introduced to way back when.
The rhymer lets the perm flourish and gets loose on the uptempo selection "Signs," off R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta) The Masterpiece. Scrolling through his star-filled Rolodex and reaching out to Justin Timberlake and Charlie Wilson to help him get the party rocking -- they both oblige and turn in stellar vocal performances -- Snoop pulls a trick out of his hat yet again. He gets his two-step on over production courtesy of the Neptunes and crafts an infectious number tailor-made for the dance floor.
Tha Last Meal may have been a No Limit Records production, but Snoop was sure to make room for a Death Row reunion on the hard-body selection, "Lay Low." He called in Dr. Dre to lend his production prowess, Nate Dogg to bless the hook and Tha Eastsidaz and Butch Cassidy for added lyrical muscle. Snoop adds another classic to the stash and keeps it gangster on this menacing number.
Dr. Dre utilizes a sample of Bernard Wright's 1981 track, "Haboglabotribin'" for the Doggystyle standout, "Gz and Hustlas." After a short intro courtesy of a pint-sized Lil Bow Wow, Snoop drops three superb verses full of slick talk and runs roughshod all over the track with clever couplets like "So sit back relax new jacks get smacked / It's Snoop Doggy Dogg, I'm at the top of the stack / I don't lack for a second, and I'm still checkin' / The dopest motherf---er that ya hearin' on the record." He reasserts why he was touted as rap's hottest prospect at the time.
"Can I get my frills?" That's the question that Snoop Dogg and Pharrell keep getting hit with on "Let's Get Blown," the second single released from the rapper's 2004 album, R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece. Produced by the Neptunes and featuring additional vocals from Keyshia Cole, the song includes an interpolation lifted from funk band Slave's 1980 hit, "Watching You," and is carried by groovy keys and jittery drums that draw you in and leave you in a daze. Perfect for a day party or strictly listening purposes, "Lets Get Blown" is a stone cold groove and gets our nod of approval.
"Tha Shiznit" finds a young Snoop going for broke and flexing his lyrical ability and grisly flow. "Poppin, stoppin, hoppin' like a rabbit / When I take the Nina Ross ya know I gotta have it / I lay back in the cut, retain myself / Think about the s--- and I'm think it well," he opens the track, sounding completely in tune with the Dr. Dre-produced beat. Snoop gives a tutorial on executing verbal slaughter with the ease of a skilled marksman.
While initially getting his start in the game under the guidance of Dr. Dre, Snoop experienced the most success for more than a decade while working with Pharrell Williams and the Neptunes. The most memorable of their collaborations to date is the 2003 smash single, "Beautiful." Featuring Skateboard P, who had begun his transition into being a solo artist in his own right, the song showcases Snoop's more tender side as he whispers saccharine musings into the ears of women worldwide. The second single released from Paid tha Cost to Be Da Bo$$, the song was a change of pace from what fans expected from Snoop, but a welcome one nonetheless and played a major part in the extended relevance of him throughout much of the 2000s.
After being absent from Da Game Is to Be Told, Not to Be Sold, Dr. Dre links back with his protege for the No Limit Top Dogg cut, "Bitch Please." The track features Xzibit, who delivers solid bars over the head-nodding beat. "You ain't trying to hot box with me, I swig hard liquor / Going down by the second round, all hail the underground / How that sound? Xzibit backing down from a conflict / F--- the nonsense! Terrorist, hidden bomb s---," he rhymes, making the most out of his air-time. Snoop also shows and proves, taunting loose women and describing the kind of women he fancies. "A cute lil' bitch with a whole lotta heart / S--- gets thick when the light gets dark / She say she got a lick for me / Worth about 200 Gs and 30 ki's," he serves, bringing to mind the days when he was arguably hip-hop's most chauvinistic artist in the game.
The West Coast rhymer takes a visit to the Dirty South for this No Limit Top Dogg track, "Down 4 My N----z," and the visit is more than worthwhile. Teaming up with his fellow No Limit soldiers C-Murder and Magic, who both annihilate the track, Snoop lays down his murderous verbal game over the KLC-produced beat. "What n----s, them n----s, yeah dawg, you with it / F--- em, let's get em, do em, I did em / We gettin' nutty in this motherf---er, I got my buddy in this motherf---er / Leave a n---- bloody in this motherf---er," he raps. Snoop shows the listeners how they get it crackin' in the California streets.
2004 was a hell of a year for Snoop Dogg. After the mass success of his previous album, Paid tha Cost to Be The Bo$$, he came back with a grand slam of a follow-up with R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece. While the album as a whole was a critical and commercial favorite, its lead single, "Drop It Like It's Hot," was kind of a big deal and one of Snoop's finer moments. He informs listeners of which side he keeps his blue bandana on and gives Pharrell some to shine to get his own bars off.
"Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)"
Snoop Dogg shed light on a different form of crew love on his 1994 single, "Ain't No Fun." Nate Dogg appears on the singing vocal tip and Dogg Pound brethren Kurupt and Daz Dillinger add to the festivities with rewind-worthy verses. Warren G -- who played a big part in the introduction of Snoop to the rap world -- makes an appearance as well, completing the cipher and resulting in one of the more memorable West Coast posse cuts to ever be recorded.
When you get the Dramatics on your rap song, you're obviously destined for greatness, just ask Snoop Dogg. He did just that on his 1994 single, "Doggy Dogg World." Produced by Dr. Dre and featuring verses from Tha Dogg Pound, as well as vocals from Nancy Fletcher, the song features samples of Richard "Dimples" Fields' "If It Ain't One Thing...It's Another" and Kool & the Gang's "Summer Madness." The third single released from Doggystyle, it may not get as much burn as other classics in Snoop's catalog, but it's definitely a timeless gem and more than worthy of its slot on this list.
"As I look up at the sky / My mind starts tripping, a tear drops my eye / My body temperature falls / I'm shaking and they breaking trying to save the Dogg / Pumping on my chest and I'm screaming / I stop breathing, damn I see demons / Dear God, I wonder can you save me / I can't die my boo boo's bout to have my baby," Snoop raps.
Those cryptic lyrics kick off his 1994 single, "Murder Was the Case," which is one of the more notorious instances of art imitating life in hip-hop history. The song was released while the rapper was on trial for murder for the killing of Philip Woldemariam in 1993. The accompanying short film and music video blurred the lines between what was entertainment and real life, giving the circumstances surrounding Snoop's legal woes. While he was eventually found not guilty in the court of law, there's not enough reasonable doubt in this world to keep us from praising this masterpiece of a record.
"Who Am I? (What's My Name?)"
The record that started the long and illustrious solo career of Snoop Doggy Dogg is undoubtedly his debut single, "Who Am I? (What's My Name?)," which was the equivalent of a nuclear bomb when it touched down in 1993. While his showing on Dr. Dre's The Chronic may have established him as the hottest newcomer in rap, "Who Am I?" solidified a then baby-faced Snoop as a bona fide superstar. A genius introductory cut if there ever was one, this song took a splash of George Clinton and Parliament, sprinkled it with a little bit of Long Beach swagger and the outcome was an addictive song that still sounds fresh more than 20 years later.
Snoop Dogg may have countless hit singles and a ton of superb album cuts to his name, but the first song that comes to many fans' minds when they think of him is 1993's "Gin and Juice." Once that Dr. Dre-produced beat drops, you can't help but rhyme right along with Snoop when he raps, "With so much drama in the LBC, it's kinda hard being Snoop D-O-GG / But I somehow, someway keep comin' up with funky ass hits like every single day." The second single released from Doggystyle, the song serves as a vintage Cali house party in audio from and is representative of the G-Funk era. From the unforgettable opening bars to the timeless music video, "Gin and Juice" is one of the greatest rap songs of all-time and a definitive selection in the storied lineage of West Coast hip-hop.