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From Barnes & NobleStraight Dope from Snoop Dogg
In his own words, raw and up-front, Snoop describes his ascent to the pinnacle of musical success and the O.G. legacy that nearly earned him a murder rap. Just as Snoop lives large, his world is populated by larger-than-life characters and talents: Dr. Dre; Suge Knight; Master P; and Tupac Shakur, Snoop's musical soul mate and one true friend, whose loss cuts deep. The observations are sharp. The language is blistering. The story is real.
Rapper Snoop Dogg has been doing a lot of soul-searching lately, as indicated in his new autobiography, Tha Doggfather. Co-penned with writer Davin Seay, the 229-page cruise through Snoop's ghetto-fabulous life is shot up with a pocketful of maxims. For Snoop, each life experience documented yielded not only a great lot of wisdom but also a knowledge of the world and himself. And for the sake of brevity, Snoop chose a set of his life's moments that left the strongest impressions on him, leaving out, we imagine, countless others. But what results is a smooth ride, minus a lot of fluff and circumstance.
Snoop tells us his upbringing was typical of many black boys growing up in Long Beach, California. His dad deserted the family while he was very young, and his mother and a host of transient boyfriends fathered him through adolescence. Although there's no early indication of Snoop's lyrical prowess -- he never seemed to pick up a book -- his father and mother bequeathed him a love of soul music.
His experiences with black adult males was as alien to him as his experiences with whites. Prior to entering high school, Snoop and his friends spent a summer selling candy in the affluent white suburbs, and it is there that Snoop develops his first taste of race distinctions. "White people have what you might call an attitude of entitlement. They expect things to come their way, go their way, and get out of their way. White people have got nothing if they don't have self-esteem," Snoop writes.
How does Snoop further perceive his experiences as a black boy selling candy in a white neighborhood? "You might say that job I had selling candy was like a training program to get me ready for the next step up the ladder of financial success," he writes. Which was, of course, drug dealing. "It's no wonder pimps and hustlers and gangstas are the heroes of the 'hood. They're the ones that got their props the old-fashioned way -- they took them." Snoop's corner drug-dealing days land him two trips to jail, and a boot out of his mother's house.
There are virtually no school memories -- though he does tell us in detail of how he lost his virginity. We learn that he did hold down a job at a supermarket and went around with a few friends rapping, but basically, Snoop did very little through high school except get high, sell drugs, hang around, and join gangs. Interestingly, he is quick to dispel the myth of gangs, saying anyone could've joined.
The biggest irony of Snoop's story is that aside from a few jam sessions with Warren G, there is no indication that Snoop would be the musical star that he is. But he admits, he never had the self-confidence to pursue music, let alone the desire -- until a fateful gig in a hotel room during his crack-selling heyday in September 1988. "Rapping did something for me that nothing else ever had -- it was like I'd had an itch way down deep on the inside someplace that I'd never been able to scratch. For the first time in my life I knew exactly where I was going."
His career, it seems, steamrolls ahead following that historic party gig where he first rapped for an audience. Warren G hooks him up with cousin Dr. Dre, and the rest is history. And, of course, Snoop manages better than two of his closest associates at the time, Tupac Shakur, who was later killed, and Suge Knight, who is now in prison.
At 28, Snoop Dogg has a wealth of wisdom. But as anyone who knows Snoop's music will attest, he is not known for his lyrics; it's his laconic flow that made his first record, 1993's "Doggstyle," the first rap album to enter the charts at No. 1. Which is what makes Tha Doggfather so special. Here the self-effacing, reserved man gives everything he was unable to turn into a rhyme. These are words to live by -- and survive by.