People are quick to judge Snoop Dogg’s new, Rastafari-influenced music, but they’re even quicker to forget that his breakthrough record was about killing undercover cops. He rolled with the Dogg Pound, flaunted his blue flags, and once was signed to the most infamous label in music alongside fellow stars Dr. Dre and Tupac. But, in many ways, Snoop grew to become the antithesis of it all, including Pac.
Where Makaveli was the fiery, passionate personality who threw himself head first into situations, Snoop kept himself away from beef and controversy, especially after he narrowly managed an acquittal for murder in 1996. Tupac’s world was black or white, 100% with you or 100% against you, and Snoop believed in the gray area. Snoop had already walked the gangsta’s path that many accused Pac of wanting to portray. And it was clear Snoop didn’t want to retrace his steps.
Despite knowing all of this, it’s still somewhat of a surprise to me that he didn’t support his labelmate’s beef against Notorious B.I.G. In fact, as he revealed on Sway, the two emcees were friends, despite the tension surrounding them.
“From his perspective, he wasn’t tripping. He wanted the world to know, ‘I love Snoop Dogg. Snoop Dogg loves me.’ Because I had already put it on the line that I loved him. But he could never come back and say ‘I love Snoop’ because Pac was on him so tough.”
Even when Suge singled out Puffy at the Source Awards, Snoop was the one who boldly asked Madison Square Garden, “The East Coast don’t got no love for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg?” When asked how he had the cojones to make such a declaration, the Doggfather replied:
“That was a political move to show that I was not afraid, but I know where I’m at. And I respect y’all cuz y’all respect me. Y’all love me, that’s the reason why we here…Despite what this man has said, y’all love us…Puffy was the big man. He could have turned the light on. If he turned the light on, it would’ve been lights out, trust me. He [took the high road]…The bigger man is the one who apologizes, the one that says, ‘I apologize, I’m sorry.’ Even if you not wrong. You take the high road. And that’s what Puffy showed you that night. He took the high road”
And ironically enough, that same day marked a crossroads for Snoop.
“I started to see that Death Row wasn’t for me. Because when you put all our lives in jeopardy like that, you don’t care about the business. And that’s exactly what happened. All our lives were in jeopardy.”
From there, it looks like the relationships started to deteriorate and when Tupac asked Snoop where his allegiance laid, Snoop wasn’t afraid to say that Biggie was his homie. And it all went south after that.
“He sent his homeboy up to get some bud, as opposed to him coming to get it…When we got on the plane to go back on to LA the next day, Suge ain’t let none of my security ride with me. It was him, his homies, and Pac. And it was the most uncomfortable ride I ever had in my life because my nigga ain’t say nothing to me. And that’s a five hour flight on a private plane…I went in the back, put a blanket on my head, knife in my hand, fork in my hand, and just slept the rest of the way. Cuz I felt like they were gonna try to do something…He went his way, I went my way. Next time I got a call: ‘Turn on the new, turn on the news!”
The tale is another shocking revelation that will be added to the legend of Tupac and Biggie. I guess the silver lining here is that Snoop got out of the situation unscathed and matured enough to transform his street mentality to one of an elder statesman of Hip-Hop. And as long as he’s preaching the message of peace and nonviolence, one can only hope that the music’s younger generation (looking at you Chief Keef) heeds his words and is able to avoid another seminal tragedy like the ones in 1996 and 1997.