Snoop Shows Why He’s The Boss Dogg on This 20-Minute 1996 Freestyle (Audio)
1996 was a tumultuous year for the artist known as Snoop Doggy Dogg. The Long Beach, California Rap superstar was acquitted for a murder trial that had started shortly after his skyrocketing fame. In the exhalation of that, he was soon faced with the murder of close friend and collaborator Tupac Shakur. That very same year, Snoop’s mentor, Dr. Dre exited Death Row Records abruptly, and the label’s CEO, Suge Knight, would finish out 1996 incarcerated—and would not come out until the new millennium.
A lot was on the shoulders of Snoop. In November of that year, S-N-O-O-P would release his sophomore LP, Tha Doggfather. The album contained no Dre (largely replaced by King T/Ice Cube producer, and Friday co-writer DJ Pooh). Save for an outro, the album had no ‘Pac. So it was Snoop’s ultimate test—after a challenging year. He rose to the occasion, scoring a #1 and going double-platinum with a cast that included Tha Dogg Pound, The LBC Crew, and Too Short—as well as “Uncle” Charlie Wilson.
Appearing on Tim Westwood’s London, England radio show, Snoop showed that he was at ease. The 213 co-founder got into a freestyle groove over Westside Connection and Grover Washington, Jr. instrumentals. In a spell that lasts approximately 20 minutes, the MC went to work—with a lot of off-the-top freestyle rhymes, turning the verses into structured records. Elsewhere in the mix, he spits classic early ’90s verses over beats, including some of his own. Not much is written about Snoop’s last days at Death Row, before joining the No Limit tank, but this moment shows that even facing worlds of adversity, the Dogg could still wag his tail on the mic.