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Who Took the Angst Out of Gangster? 

Snoop Dogg is in hizouse

In case you were planning on skipping tonight's Puff, Puff, Pass Tour at the City Auditorium, let me remind you that Snoop (D.O. double G) is the King. Forget about Elvis.

With a laundry list of albums, movies rolling out faster than you can say beeyotch, his newly formed Doggy Style Records label, a hip-hop porno out on Hustler Video, a new line of clothing, plans for a Snoop theme park (with 40 oz. bumper cars! Scratch our plans to go to Graceland and Dollywood, honey), and rumors of a new limited line of Cadillacs with hydraulics called (what else?) "Snoop Deville," yes, Snoop is The King.

What's next, a series of self-help books? Gin and Juice for the Soul, or The Road Less Pimped?

By way of a bit of luck, and a mountain of talent, one of Snoop's early homemade tapes made its way into the hands of N.W.A.'s inimitable bucket seat beat maker, Dr. Dre. Dre immediately took Snoop under his wing and brought him on board as a lyricist and protg rhyme slinger for Death Row Records' multiplatinum The Chronic in 1992. Snoop's rubber-jawed style gave Dre's contagious beats a fresh, lackadaisical flavor. Snoop took the angst out of gangster rap, and fans wanted more.

When Snoop's solo album was released in 1993, it became the first solo debut ever to premier on the charts at No. 1. The fact that he was charged with murder when his bodyguard shot and killed Phillip Woldermarian only added to his street credibility. Snoop was only 21 years old. Doggystyle quickly sold over 8 million copies worldwide.

After slower sales on his second album, The Doggfather, in 1996 and increasing tensions between East and West Coast rappers, Snoop left Death Row Records, fearing for his life when label-mate Tupac Shakur was shot in Las Vegas and business mastermind Suge Knight went to jail for nine years on racketeering charges.

Joining forces then with the up-and-coming Master P and his No Limit record label, Snoop made three albums, Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not Be Told in 1998, Topp Dogg in 1999, and The Last Meal, his last for No Limit, in 2000.

Though none of his albums have sold as well as Doggystyle, Snoop's countless vocal cameo appearances on friends' records also served to build his behind-the-scenes guru status.

Recently, Snoop reunited with Dr. Dre, appearing frequently on his 1999 comeback, Dr. Dre 2001. Snoop is also slated to replace Eazy E as the fourth member of N.W.A. on a reunion album slated for release in 2002.

Snoop and his entourage made headlines last month when their tour busses were stopped in Ohio and cops got a whiff of the devil's weed. After drug-sniffing dogs turned up six sacks and some paraphernalia, Snoop took the rap, and was quickly released -- though he may face a 30-day jail sentence and $350 in fines.

It's difficult to say whether the show will indeed go on here in conservative Colorado Springs with Snoop often refusing to go on stage if he isn't allowed to smoke. At a show during the "Up In Smoke Tour" last year, authorities refused to stop Snoop's puffing for fear of riots. "N***a, this is Up In Smoke," Snoop said, "not no mothaf*****n after-school special."

Anyway, you won't want to spend too much time wondering what possessed him to come through Colorado Springs, because he probably won't be back soon. So don't sweat the $30, get your tickets, and, you know, ... puff, puff, pass.

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