Today, Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr., better known to the world as Snoop Dogg, turns 40. He's scheduled to share his birthday in Phoenix, performing at the Arizona State Fair tonight.
Both of these things say a lot about how rap has changed since Snoop's debut record, Doggstyle, hit record stores in 1993. Not only is the "Murder Was the Case That They Gave Me" guy sitting comfortably at 40, but he's considered family-friendly enough to play the Arizona State Fair.
It's hard to imagine now, but it wasn't that long ago Snopp Dogg was suburban America's worst nightmare. Now? He's that guy from all those commercials, coaching his son's Pop Warner football team on TV. But before he was Snoop Dogg, rapper, television and movie star, he was Snoop Doggy Dogg, gangsta rapper.
In the early '90s, gangsta rap found a home within the hearts of suburban teens but also earned the ire of their parents.
So how did Snoop go from public enemy number one to the Snoop we know today? Reality TV, of course. Though the 2007 show Snoop Dogg's Father Hood wasn't Snoop Dogg's first experience with television, it was probably his boldest step into mainstream consciousness.
It makes sense. Many of Snoop's fans from the Doggy Dogg days are adults now, and Snoop is so likable that he's going to wind up with his own sitcom on NBC.
Rappers like Ice-T and Flava Flav have transformed their images thanks to reality TV, but no one has made the transition quite so lucratively as Snoop.
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There is a lyric in one of Snoop Dogg's songs that says, "Gangstas don't die, they just move to Miami." But Florida residency or not, we know they don't die -- they get to live on TV forever.
Snoop Dogg is scheduled to perform Thursday, October 20, at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.