Music legend Dionne Warwick left a group of rappers ‘scared’ and the reason why is heroic

Dionne Warwick is *not* the one to mess with, not even if you were famed rap stars

Dionne Warwick 'out-gangstered' the rappers in the 90s
(Image credit: Andrew Chin/Getty Images)

Snoop Dogg. Tupac. Suge Knight. Some of the most celebrated and outrageous rappers of their day. But all of them were, in Snoop’s words, “out gangstered” by none other than Dionne Warwick.

An undisputed icon with a career spanning decades, Dionne Warwick is still finding ways to impress us all 60 years on.

The soul and pop legend signed her first recording contract in 1962 and went on to sell over 100 million records worldwide. She has won six Grammys and has been inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grammy Hall of Fame, and R&B Music Hall of Fame.

Some of her most famous hits include Alfie, I Say a Little Prayer for You and Walk On By.

Dionne Warwick took the rappers to task over their misogynistic language

(Image credit: Derek Preston/Paul Popper/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

But it’s the reveal of a previously unknown encounter with some of the biggest rap stars of the day that has fans crowning her an utter queen lately.

On New Year’s Day, CNN aired her documentary film, Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over. A testament to her enduring career and pioneering ways, one particular anecdote stands out for her sheer bravery and forward thinking.

It was the 1990s. Groups like Death Row Records dominate the culture. Rap has created global stars out of figures including Snoop Dogg and Tupac – but Dionne wasn’t impressed with their language.

Specifically their language towards – and about – women.

Unperturbed by their reputations (this was when popular rappers would get into highly publicized conflicts) or their skyrocketing levels of fame, Dionne ordered a group of prominent rappers to be at her home.

Not only did she order them to come to her, she specified that they be there no later than 7am – and the best part is Snoop Dogg admitting they were so in awe of the legend they were waiting in her driveway by 6:52am.

In the documentary, Snoop reveals how she managed to get so many rap stars to follow her requests, saying, “We’re powerful right now, but she’s been powerful forever. Thirty-some years in the game, in the big home with a lot of money and success.”

Speaking about her issues with the lyrics, Dionne says in the doc, “These kids are expressing themselves, which they’re entitled to do. However, there’s a way to do it.”

Snoop Dogg and Tupac were left shook by Dionne Warwick

(Image credit: Ke.Mazur/WireImage)

Confronting the group of rappers, she said, “You guys are all going to grow up. You’re going have families. You’re going to have children. You’re going to have little girls, and one day that little girl is going to look at you and say, ‘Daddy, did you really say that? Is that really you?’ What are you going to say?’

Snoop then says that during the meeting Dionne told the rappers to call her a “bitch” to her face, pointing out that this is how they refer to women in their songs.

Talk about a power move. And it worked.

Snoop Dogg tells the documentary that he appreciated the singer’s advice, explaining, “She was checking me at a time when I thought we couldn’t be checked.”

“We were the most gangsta as you could be, but that day at Dionne Warwick’s house, I believe we got out-gangstered that day.”

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.