A few years ago -- hell, a few months ago -- and interview like this might not have been possible. Afterall, it wasn't too long ago that Snoop Dogg and Suge Knight still had beef stemming from Knight's time in prison shortly after Tupac was murdered. Earlier this year, the two made amends, and though they may never reconcile what happened, the two game-changers finally have some peace. 

Nov. 23rd marked the 20-year anniversary of Snoop Dogg's legendary debut album, Doggystyle, and Rolling Stone caught up with Suge to get his thoughts and memories of how it went down. Here are some highlights:

 

What do you remember most about what went into making Doggystyle?

We were able to make sure [Snoop] didn't go to prison to make the album. We only had one song done, and then after that it was the [Philip Woldemariam] murder case and the trial. When we got ready to start the trial, $5 million had to be paid to a legal team. And at the time Snoop never sold no records. Jimmy [Iovine], Interscope, those guys were saying they're not going to participate in trying to help keep him out of prison, because they didn't think they were capable of doing it. Because of the simple fact that it was a murder case. If he would have got found guilty, he'd have died in prison. He'd have been there the rest of his life. 

One of the things about Doggystyle and The Chronic too, is that these albums incorporated music it sounded like you guys grew up listening to with your parents.

At that time, any time you got in my car, it was always old shit in my CD changer. Tupac would hop in my whips to go grab a broad or something. We'd be at the studio and he'd go grab the keys, hop in that mothafucka and drive and call back and be like "Hey, I'm in your car but why you don't got no good music?" It would be Al Green, Sam Cooke, Donny Hathaway. I'd give shit to everybody [and] because everybody heard it so much, everybody took took a liking to it, and adopted it. My family, that's all we grew up on was those oldies. So it wasn't nothing for people on the West Coast to take ideas or concepts from those old records and make them into hits. Even Snoop, his folks are from Mississippi also. People from the South, they was buying 45s and 33s, they was playing those albums… that was a big influence on every record on Death Row.

The album was highly anticipated. Was that something you could feel when you went in to make the record?

Shit, yeah, definitely. One thing about Snoop at those times, you could call him and say, "Let's go here, let's go there," and he's gonna show up ready to go. He was hungry, ready to eat, ready to work. More importantly, it was that I believed in him as an artist. The first day before Doggystyle was shipped or anything, I had 800 trucks, 18-wheelers… filled with nothing but posters, snipes and all kinds of stuff.

What do you remember about Doggystyle's production?

[It] was was pretty much luck. Everybody thought [Dr. Dre] would be doing the records, but Daz pretty much did the whole album. And at the end of the day, once Daz finished it, everybody wanted Andre to get the credit. Next thing I know Daz is having a meeting with Andre and them and came back and said, "It's okay, give me a few bucks and I'll sign anything over that says produced by Andre instead of me." "Ain't No Fun"… one of the homies from The Swans [ed note: the Mad Swan Bloods, or MSB, are a Los Angeles subset of The Bloods street gang] named Pooh, all them dudes already had a record done. And they came and played it for us in the studio. They played us the demo. Everybody looked at it like it was alright. And then after they left, shit, everybody was chopping that same beat.

Doggystyle came out a year after the L.A. riots. Death Row was a black-owned business. What kind of statement did that make?

Death Row wasn't only a black-owned record label, Death Row was pretty much the only American-owned record label. Everything else was either Sony or some other thing. It became the blueprint for any label that's out, including the majors. I was the first person doing 360 degree deals with all the artists; the majors would tell the artists, "It's the worst piece of shit deal in the world, don't go for it." And now they're doing it. 

Any last thoughts on Doggystyle?

Snoop is an artist that is a great artist. So it's good to give him his props about how great Doggystyle was. What made Doggystyle historic is the work on it. If you look at the album cover, everybody sued us and said it was degrading women. But even the guys who did the artwork, who wrote songs, who participated in videos, they were guys who were either wearing red or wearing blue. . . and it was a situation where they all got along. We'd go places and you might see twenty blue rags and twenty red rags. And that was never before seen. 

CATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE