Like an ancient bottle of bourbon or a good abstract painting, the modern Snoop Lion (née Dogg) contains multitudes. But it wasn’t always that way.

In 1994, Snoop was a simpler creature: a gangster with a knack for showbiz. But then a crew of Bloods crashed the set of the "Gin and Juice" video, and two years later Tupac was shot dead in Vegas — he was playing video games with Warren G when he got the news. "I’m through with that game," he thought, hanging up the Genesis controller, washing blunt smoke down with Olde English from a Swarovski-encrusted chalice, "but I ain’t never done with that chedda."

In 1997 Snoop was the sole rap act on the Lollapalooza roster, cementing himself in the hearts and minds of notoriously white alternative rock fans. He began a transformation into a cartoonish impression of his former self: his growing audience didn’t want a Crip like the ones you see on Cops. They just wanted more Snoop, whatever that was, and he was happy to oblige.