Chi Modu: "I first shot Snoop for a Rap Pages cover about a year or so earlier. [Editor-In-Chief] Sheena Lester called me and said, “Hey do you want to shoot Snoop? I can’t pay you anything, but if you can get out here you can do it.” So I was like, all right—I got a buddy pass.
"I had like 60 or 80 bucks in my pocket, a friend of mine had a room at the Mondrian. And he actually had a clothing line. I was like, all right, I’m gonna stay on your couch. I have to do this magazine cover shoot and you can come with me, and we’ll put something from your line on him.
As you know from his song “Deep Cover,” 187 is police code for homicide. So Snoop and them knew about this sign and wanted to find it and take a photo. They told me about it and I was like “Let’s go!”
"So basically we went out there, hung out with Snoop, shot that cover. And Snoop said, when it’s time to do my album I want you to come out. So when Doggystyle is being cracked up, I get a call like “Yo Snoop wants you to do his album. So you need to fly out—let us know the details."
"So he kept his word. I’m a New York/New Jersey guy but I got a lot of love from Death Row camp. I shot Dogg Pound, Snoop, Nate. I actually got along with them for some reason.
"As you know from his song “Deep Cover,” 187 is police code for homicide. So Snoop and them knew about this sign and wanted to find it and take a photo. They told me about it and I was like “Let’s go!” And we caught that late afternoon California sun on his face.
"During that shoot we had a little gang member off to the side, fully armed and loaded, just standing guard. Because back then everywhere you went there were guns. Snoop always had two .380s everywhere he went. When I see him today, it’s remarkable. I knew he had it in him, so I’m not surprised by it. But that was the life and the world he was in.
"All the guns never fazed me as a photographer—but I think maybe I’m just kind of stupid that way. Because it probably should have. Like, there’s a picture of Snoop pointing his gun at my camera. Whenever there’s a gun on my set I’ll take it, open it, clear it, look down the barrel, and then hand it back. You know? So it’s like I know enough about weapons to do that.
"And it’s funny, whenever I do that, they’ll be like, “Okay you know what you’re doing.” And I’m like, Yeah—I’m not gonna have you pointing a gun in my direction not knowing it’s cleared. So that kind of breaks the ice."