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Why Did Snoop Dogg Go to Prison?

Snoop Dogg is one of the most well-known rappers and cultural icons in the world. He first rose to fame in the early 1990s as a prominent figure in the West Coast hip hop scene. Since then, he has sold over 35 million albums worldwide and starred in numerous films and TV shows. However, early in his career, Snoop Dogg had run-ins with the law that led to time spent in prison. This article will examine Snoop Dogg’s background, the crimes that led to his incarceration, and his life after being released from prison.

Snoop Dogg’s Early Life and Career Beginnings

Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr, known professionally as Snoop Dogg, was born in Long Beach, California in 1971. Raised by his mother and step-father, Snoop Dogg began rapping as a teenager. He joined the Rollin’ 20s Crips gang as a way to gain respect and street credibility. In the early 1990s, Snoop was discovered by famous record producer Dr. Dre and featured on Dre’s debut solo album The Chronic in 1992. Snoop’s slick rhymes and smooth, laidback vocal delivery made the album a hit and quickly established him as one of rap’s most promising newcomers.

The Crimes That Led to Prison Time

However, just as his music career was taking off, Snoop Dogg became entangled with the law. In 1993, he was arrested in connection with the death of a rival gang member who was shot and killed by Snoop’s bodyguard. He was charged with murder and tried in 1996. While Snoop was acquitted of the murder charges, he was convicted of felony possession of a firearm and spent time in Wayside County Jail.

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Snoop was again arrested in 1997 for drug possession after police found marijuana and a firearm in his vehicle. He pleaded guilty to the charge, which violated the terms of his probation from the earlier trial. This time, he served three years at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison.

Snoop Dogg’s Life and Career After Prison

After being released from prison in 1999, Snoop Dogg went on to achieve even greater success in the music industry. He released his second album Tha Doggfather in 1996, while incarcerated, which debuted at number one on the charts. This was followed by many more popular albums over the ensuing decades.

Beyond music, Snoop expanded his career into acting, starring in films such as Starsky & Hutch, Training Day, and Pitch Perfect 2. He also became well-known outside of entertainment circles for his enthusiasm for cannabis, even getting involved in business ventures in the legal marijuana industry.

Despite his convictions in the 1990s, Snoop has managed to mostly steer clear of further legal troubles. His time in prison served as a wake-up call. In more recent years, he has taken steps to clean up his image, publicly reaching out to at-risk youth and advocating against gun violence.

While he was involved in serious criminal activities early in his career, Snoop Dogg has managed to rehabilitate his image and become a successful American icon. His brushes with the law only sidetracked him briefly before he refocused his talents on entertainment and business ventures.

Key Factors That Led to Snoop Dogg’s Incarceration

There are a few key factors that led to Snoop Dogg serving time in prison during the height of his career:

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Gang affiliations and violent rivalry

As mentioned, Snoop Dogg was an active member of the Crips gang in his youth. The rivalry between the Crips and Bloods sometimes turned deadly, resulting in the murder case Snoop was charged in. Gang violence was a major issue in 1990s Los Angeles hip hop scene.

Gun possession

On two separate occasions in the 1990s, Snoop Dogg was found to be carrying firearms illegally. Felons are prohibited from possessing firearms, so this violated his parole and led to further imprisonment.

Marijuana use

Snoop is well known for his heavy marijuana consumption, even throughout his early music career. But drug charges also violated his parole after the murder trial and compounded his legal troubles.

High profile as a rapper

As a famous rapper, Snoop Dogg drew more media attention and legal scrutiny than the average defendant. Prosecutors likely saw him as an example to make of the violence plaguing hip hop at the time.

Impact on Snoop Dogg’s Career and Life

Spending time locked up had significant impacts on both Snoop Dogg’s career as an entertainer and his personal life. Some of the major effects of his incarceration include:

  • Lost time when his career was on the rise – Being imprisoned meant Snoop could not record music or perform at the peak of his fame. This stalled the momentum he had built up.
  • Forced maturity and change in mindset – Prison served as a wake up call, inspiring Snoop to get serious about his career and make changes to his life. He had to grow up quickly.
  • More street credibility – For rappers, having a criminal background can sometimes bolster street credibility. Snoop’s time behind bars gave him added respect.
  • Financial hit – Being unable to work for several years set back Snoop Dogg’s earning potential significantly.
  • Appreciation for freedom – After being confined for so long, Snoop came to cherish his freedom and never take opportunities for granted.
  • Shift to business ventures – Following prison, Snoop diversified his work, getting into side businesses and brand partnerships. This helped establish long-term stability.
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While certainly a difficult period in his life, Snoop Dogg’s time in prison ultimately matured him and changed his approach to life and work for the better once released.


In summary, Snoop Dogg served multiple year-long sentences in the mid 1990s due to convictions related to gang violence, gun possession, and drug charges. His affiliations with the Crips gang lifestyle initially led him down the wrong path after finding success in rap music. Prison time was a sobering reality check for Snoop. However, he managed to learn from the experience.

After being released, he went on to achieve even greater fame and fortune while keeping his nose clean legally. Overcoming these early legal troubles only makes Snoop Dogg’s decades-long career at the top of the rap game even more impressive. While sidetracked temporarily, prison ultimately did not defeat Snoop Dogg or prevent him from becoming a cultural icon.

Prison Inside Team

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Welcome to ‘Prison Inside,’ a blog dedicated to shedding light on the often hidden and misunderstood world within correctional facilities. Through firsthand accounts, personal narratives, and insightful reflections, we delve into the lives of those who find themselves behind bars, offering a unique perspective on the challenges, triumphs, and transformations that unfold within the confines of these walls.

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