Laid-back rapper Snoop Dogg followed in the footsteps of such West Coast colleagues as Ice Cube and Ice-T, and added acting to his repertoire in the late '90s.
Raised in Long Beach and nicknamed Snoop due to his resemblance to Peanuts' top canine, Snoop Dogg's troubled teen years culminated in a drug conviction after high school. After he got out of prison, Snoop Dogg turned to rap and soon captured the attention of star producer/rapper Dr. Dre. Introduced on Dr. Dre's seminal album The Chronic (1992), Snoop Dogg's smooth low-key style and lyrical authenticity turned him into one of gangster rap's stars, culminating with the release of his own top-selling, Grammy-nominated debut album Doggystyle (1993). Snoop Dogg's street cred, however, proved too negatively authentic when his involvement in a drive-by shooting led to a murder charge that same year. Battling the charge through the mid-'90s, Snoop Dogg was cleared in 1996, but his record sales waned along with gangster rap's popularity.
Still a notable music celebrity, however, Snoop Dogg branched out into acting with a cameo appearance in the stoner comedy Half Baked (1998). Staying true to his urban persona, Snoop Dogg appeared in L.A. crime drama Caught Up (1998) (as Kool Kitty Kat) and Master P's coming-of-age story Hot Boyz (1999), and co-starred with Ice-T in action movies The Wrecking Crew (1999) and Urban Menace (1999). Increasingly comfortable as an actor, Snoop Dogg subsequently took on roles in several prominent 2001 releases. Trying comedy, Snoop Dogg co-starred with Dr. Dre as friends and car wash employees in The Wash (2001). Though John Singleton's Baby Boy (2001) failed to live up to antecedent Boyz 'N the Hood (1991), Snoop Dogg was convincing as the neighborhood troublemaker. After a cameo as a drug dealer paralyzed by Denzel Washington's corrupt cop in Training Day (2001), Snoop Dogg moved to his first solo starring role in the horror movie Bones (2001). As a murdered 1970s superfly community pillar-turned-ghostly avenger, Snoop Dogg earned kudos for his assured, menacing performance.
Despite claims that his legal problems were over, Snoop Dogg was busted for marijuana possession during his Puff, Puff, Pass tour in October 2001.
2003 marked the release of Doggy Fizzle Televizzle, which featured Snoop Dogg changing his role from gangster to prankster in a series of sketch comedy bits and various on-the-street disguises. Despite its popularity, Snoop's busy schedule prevented the show for lasting more than two seasons, though it helped reestablish the market for smart, African-American satire, which had been left largely unfulfilled since the cancellation of The Chris Rock Show. Luckily, Dave Chappelle proved a more than worthy successor to Snoop Dogg in that area, leaving the rapper more than enough time to make a cameo as himself in Old School (2003), as well as continue his contributions to the infamous Girls Gone Wild series, and thoroughly overuse the never-quite-hip slang suffix "izzle." In 2004, Snoop played informant to Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson's Starsky & Hutch, as well as co-starred in director Jessy Terrero's Soul Plane.
In 2006 he appeared in and produced Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror, and lent his voice to the animated family film Arthur and the Invisibles. He became a regular at celebrity roasts starting in 2007 when he helped skewer fellow iconic rapper Flavor Flav. He continued to appear steadily in a variety of projects, usually as himself, including Bruno, The Big Bang, and the documentaries Straight Outta L.A. and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never.