Snoop Dogg's an A-list rapper, fo' shizzle, but who's this Calvis Broadus cat?

That's the question voiced by an L.A. judge, who didn't realize she was presiding over a civil case involving the Doggfather.

In her first hearing Thursday in Snoop's lawsuit against former label Priority Records for $2 million-plus in alleged unpaid royalties, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Helen I. Bendix acknowledged that she didn't connect the rap star with the complaint because court papers list him by his birth name, Calvin Broadus.

"Now I realize who we're talking about here. I didn't recognize the nonprofessional name, so to speak," Bendix said after putting two and two together.

Guess her honor's not a big fan of "Drop It Like It's Hot."

Bendix, who described the case as "very interesting," took over after lawyers for Priority successfully petitioned in July to have Judge Robert L. Hess replaced.

Snoop sued the label last November for allegedly violating the terms of his 1998 deal by issuing a greatest-hits compilation without his consent.

Additionally, Snoop alleged the company failed to pay a $950,000 advance following 2000's triple-platinum-selling CD, The Last Meal.

In court documents, the label has argued that the emcee failed to pursue his grievances in a timely manner, and therefore, the suit should be dismissed.

During the brief proceeding, the two parties informed Bendix that they had engaged in settlement talks, but all efforts at mediation have so far failed.

Hoping to bridge the gap, the judge suggested Snoop and Priority bring their arguments before the court's evaluation service, which offers an objective analysis of both sides' strengths and weaknesses. Cases that get evaluated often end up with a settlement.

Snoop's legal eagles, Joseph Schleimer and Kenneth Freundlich, however, noted that Priority has held up turning over paperwork they requested to help prove the hip-hopster's case.

That prompted a sharp rebuke from the label's counsel, David Steinberg, who told Bendix that his client has already given Snoop some 20,000 documents and accused them of going on a fishing expedition.

"The plaintiffs are speculating that there is more information than there really is," he said.
The judge scheduled another status hearing for Oct. 23.

While the civil judge might be a bit confounded, Calvin Broadus is a familiar docket entry to some Southern California criminal jurists.

Last month, the rapper pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession of a dangerous weapon for a 2006 arrest for carrying a collapsible police baton through security at Orange County's John Wayne Airport. He was sentenced to three years' informal probation and 160 hours of community service and ordered to make a $10,000 charitable contribution.

In April, Snoop pleaded no contest to felony weapon and marijuana-possession charges in connection with two separate busts in Burbank last fall. For that, he was ordered to perform more than 800 hours of community service, 400 of those he was allowed to devote to his local Snoop Youth Football League.

Meantime, Snoop is working on his ninth studio album, Ego Trippin'. The husband and father of three is also the subject of an upcoming E! reality show that will track his exploits as rapper, entrepreneur and family man. (E! Online is a division of E! Networks.)

The veteran performer is slated to perform alongside Raekwon, Talib Kweli, Mobb Deep and others Nov. 29 at the J.A.M. Awards at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom. Cosponsored by radio station Hot 97 and the Jam Master Jay Foundation for Music, the event is, according to cohost DMC, not just for music fans but for those who want to see rappers respond to their critics with a "resounding voice of hope and inspiration."

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