Snoop Dogg’s 1993 Murder Trial Is Getting a True Crime Miniseries.
This year, 50 Cent found another television hit, thanks to BMF. Last month, Starz ordered a companion documentary series with 50 serving yet again as producer, as well as the second season of BMF. In that scripted series for Starz, there is a dramatic re-telling of one of the most powerful street organizations of recent years. Notably, Demetrius Flenory, Jr. portrays his real-life father, known to many as Big Meech, who co-founded the Black Mafia Family with brother Terry. Taking place in Y2K-era Detroit, Michigan, the series averages 6.5 million streams per episode per Deadline.
While the BMF story has some intersections with Rap music, 50 Cent is now creating something even closer to the realm of Hip-Hop. Variety reports that Fif is developing A Moment In Time: Murder Was The Case for Starz. This series deals with Snoop Dogg and an August 1993 shooting that left one man, 20-year-old Philip Woldermariam, dead. Snoop and his bodyguard, McKinley “Malik” Lee, were on trial for the murder, which allegedly started over a gang-related dispute. Lee admitted that he pulled the trigger in self-defense after Woldermariam reportedly lifted his shirt to reveal a handgun when approaching the rapper’s black Jeep Cherokee. Prosecutors in that trial attempted to use Snoop’s violent lyrics against him in seeking a high-profile conviction. In February of 1996, Snoop and Lee were eventually acquitted for the murder and assault, with famed O.J. Simpson lawyer Johnnie Cochran and Death Row counsel David Kenner as part of his defense team.
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Months after Woldermariam’s death, Snoop included “Murder Was The Case” on his debut album, Doggystyle. The controversially-titled song lyrics were based on the speaker making a deal, presumably with the devil, to live. Prosecutors precisely honed in on that Dr. Dre-produced song in the trial. However, Snoop has corrected that notion after it became a “We took that song and made it a whole soundtrack, and it blew up, and we did a whole movie off of it—the first time ever,” Snoop told Ananda Lewis for Teen Summit several years after it released. The song expanded to a musical mini-movie, written and directed by Dr. Dre, starring Snoop, Dre, Charlie Murphy, Ricky Harris, and included a Tupac Shakur cameo in the F. Gary Gray-directed “Natural Born Killaz” music video segment. “At the time when I wrote that song, it just came to me. It was more or less of a lesson in that song. ‘If you were in that situation, Snoop, and you got shot, and you were put in a coma, and God blessed you to get out of the coma, are you gonna do the right things or the wrong things?’ I was telling myself that I was gonna do the wrong things through this song, knowing in my heart that the right thing would be what I would do in real life.”
A Moment In Time: Murder Was The Case will be a production of G-Unit Film & Television as well as Snoop’s Snoopadelic Films. The Long Beach, California legend and his wife, Shante Broadus, join 50 as executive producers. Season 1 of A Moment In Time addresses the violent beef between 50 Cent and The Game that lasted between the mid-2000s until the former business partners made peace in 2016.
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“Murder Was The Case is an incredible story,” 50 Cent said to Variety. “Snoop [Dogg] had the biggest album in the country and was fighting for his freedom in the courtroom,” said 50 Cent. “I am excited to finally tell the story of Murder Was The Case,” added Snoop. “This was a pivotal moment in my life and career and I’ve deliberately waited until I found the right partner to bring this to the screen.”
Previously, McKinley Lee wrote about his experiences on trial in a 1997 text, Chosen By Fate: My Life Inside Death Row Records.
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Snoop and 50 Cent have made music hits together before. Among multiple collaborations, they linked for 2003’s gold-certified “P.I.M.P. (Remix),” which also included G-Unit members Lloyd Banks and Young Buck. They reunited alongside Charlie Wilson and Moneybagg Yo this year for “Wish Me Luck.”