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Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
2/11/2004 6:00:57 AM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Snoop Dogg.

 Snoop Dogg wants a lot more.

"I ain't getting what I want," he says from his home atop a hilly gated subdivision in the Los Angeles suburbs. "I'm smiling. But I'm not happy."

Snoop Dogg should have little to growl about. He has high-profile roles in spring's big-screen treatment of the TV cop show Starsky & Hutch and in Soul Plane,a summer comedy. Beautiful, a collaborative effort from his CD Paid Tha Cost To Be Da Bo$$, was nominated for two Grammys.

There are potential ventures into video games, restaurants, animated cartoons and a new licensed apparel deal. Concert tours, an album with collaborators Warren G and Nate Dogg, and a new solo effort out in November also are on tap.

Given a problematic past and unsavory image, it's remarkable that anyone would consider the beanpole-thin, West Coast gansta rapper as a Main Street pitchman or budding Hollywood star.

As a teenage Crips gang member in Long Beach, Snoop, aka Calvin Broadus, pocketed up to $1,000 a day selling crack cocaine. He was convicted on felony drug charges and served eight months in prison. Wowed by his rap style, fellow inmates urged him to pursue a recording career. Soon after his release, he faced murder charges for the death of a 20-year-old rival gang member in 1993. He was acquitted.

Notoriety from the case helped fuel sales of his 1993 debut album, Doggystyle, which remains his best seller. His misogynistic lyrics, gin 'n' juice-quaffing rep and open use of marijuana helped propel all six solo records to platinum sales.

Snoop's party image made him a hip-hop icon and led to gigs hosting soft-porn videos Girls Gone Wild, Doggy Style and Snoop Dogg's Doggy Style —among the adult film industry's top sellers in 2001. But his lifestyle, including ties to rap mogul Suge Knight and the late Tupac Shakur, crimped his crossover appeal.

"It's been a slow grind," says Brent Smith, his longtime talent agent at William Morris. "It was difficult to get anyone to believe he could be associated with a product. Lots of times, it was an instant 'no.' Even in music, it used to be hard to package him with artists on tour."

MGM executives initially balked when director Jessy Terrero approached them about casting Snoop in the lead role of pilot Captain Mack in Soul Plane. "They said they couldn't see him in a comedy," Terrero says. "I think they were scared he was going to come to the set with 50 gangbangers."

And last month, NCAA President Myles Brand complained that Nokia's Sugar Bowl spots, which featured Snoop as Sherlock Holmes, a cop and a football player searching for a stolen game trophy, were inappropriate for a prime-time college football audience.

"You can rip apart anyone's life and see skeletons in the closet," Schiller says. "But we're a forgiving nation. There's a love affair for people who figure out their life."

Snoop understands the fear and loathing. But, he says, at 32, he has changed. "The big people on top can't stand to see the good things I'm doing," he says. "They can't get that I had a murder case against me. That I dealt drugs and smoked pot. I don't hide that s — - —. But I'm not that person anymore."

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