If Snoop Dogg were a baseball player, he'd have a genuine dilemma on his hands trying to decide which hat to wear into the hall of fame. After launching his career with Dr. Dre and Death Row Records, Snoop has barnstormed from one home to another, crafting his own inimitable legend along the way.
Now Snoop has a new place to hang his hat for his upcoming solo album: the Neptunes' label, Star Trak. Snoop has signed a deal with the hitmaking producers' imprint, according to the team's Chad Hugo. "We're trying to bring him back to Chronic-era Snoop," Hugo said, referring to the 1992 Dr. Dre album on which Snoop made his debut.
In the recent record-business reshuffling, Star Trak left its original home, Arista, for industry powerhouse Interscope/Geffen/A&M Records, which already houses artists like Eminem, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent (see "House That Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo Built To Undergo Big Overhaul"). Snoop’s new deal is a joint venture between Geffen, Star Trak and Snoop’s own Doggystyle imprint.
Snoop's yet-untitled next album is due by the end of the year. It will be one of the first two albums the Neptunes release through their new Star Trak partnership. The other is the major-label debut from Houston rapper Slim Thug.
Snoop left Death Row Records in 1997, at the end of a turbulent run for the label that saw the defection of co-founder Dr. Dre, the death of Tupac and the indictment of owner Suge Knight on federal racketeering charges. In 1998, Snoop latched onto Master P's No Limit Records for his next two albums. Two years later he inked directly with Priority Records, the onetime home of gangsta-rap progenitors N.W.A — the group with which Dre made his name. While on Priority, Snoop scored a hit with his most recent Neptunes collaboration, "Beautiful," which offers a softer and less contrived image for the hip-hop icon.
Confused? Here's a brief history of Snoop's tour of duty:
Label: Death Row
Albums: Doggystyle (1993), Tha Doggfather (1996)
Snoop as: Young, gifted and laid-back. Snoop liked girls, homies and house parties.
Era: No Limit Soldier
Label: No Limit
Albums: Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told (1998), No Limit Top Dogg (1999)
Snoop as: Gangsta. Tried out the role of smooth-talkin' hustler while getting down with Master P's camp.
Era: Da Pimp
Album: Tha Last Meal (2000), Paid Tha Cost to Be Da Bo$$ (2002)
Snoop as: Ballerific pimp who loved his women and his power.