Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told is the third studio album by American rapper Snoop Dogg; it was released by No Limit Records on August 4, 1998 in the United States. It is his first album following his departure from Death Row Records in early 1998. It is the first Snoop Dogg album to have notable affiliates such as Dr. Dre, Nate Dogg, Warren G, and others absent. It was also his first album to be released under a slight change to his stage name “Snoop Dogg” for contractual reasons.
In September 1996, shortly before the release of Snoop’s second album Tha Doggfather, his friend and label-mate at Death Row Records, Tupac Shakur, was murdered in a drive-by shooting that many fans and other rappers believed to be a part of rising tensions between the East and West Coast hip hop scenes.
In March 1997, noted East Coast rapper The Notorious B.I.G., who was popularly known as “Biggie”, was also murdered in a drive-by shooting which was also attributed by fans to the tensions between the coastal hip hop scenes.
Snoop Dogg began to fear for his own safety due to the murders of Tupac and Biggie and also because Death Row Records was acknowledged by its artists in retrospect to be an unprofessional place during this time, with label founder Suge Knight incarcerated and many people with criminal pasts associated with the label.
In 1997, No Limit rapper Mystikal invited Snoop to be on his record Unpredictable on a song called “Gangstas” with label head Master P.
Snoop developed a good relationship with the No Limit rappers and after another guest appearance on No Limit artist Silkk the Shocker’s LP, Snoop was reported to have been signed to No Limit by Master P in March 1998.Snoop said at the time that: “Snoop Dogg is universal so he can fit into any camp-especially a camp that knows how to handmake shit[;] [a]nd, No Limit hand makes material. They make material fittin’ to the artist and they know what type of shit Snoop Dogg is supposed to be on. That’s why it’s so tight.” [sic]
The lead single “Still a G Thang” was released on July 3, 1998, it was produced by Meech Wells. It is the sequel to the 1992 hit single “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang”, which appears on Dr. Dre’s debut solo album, The Chronic (1992). The song debuted at number 26 on the US Billboard Hot 100, marking first Hot 100 entry as lead artist by Snoop since “Gin and Juice, in 1994. The song peaked at number 19 on the chart.
The second single “Woof” featuring Mystikal and Fiend peaked at number 62 on Billboard Hot 100.
Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told debuted at number-one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 520,000 copies in its first week. It serves as Snoop Dogg’s third consecutive number-one album in the United States. In its second week, the album remained at top on the Billboard 200, selling 246,000 copies. The album spent five consecutive weeks on the top-ten of the Billboard 200. On November 18,1998, the album had sold 1.7 million copies in the United States, ranking as the 39th best-selling album of the year.
As of March 2008, the album sales 2.1 million copies in the United States, marking the Second best-selling album by Snoop Dogg’s in the country, behind only Doggystyle (1993) and over 3.0 million sold worldwide