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Fred Hammond says Snoop Dogg's turn into gospel music is "a soul searching event for him"

Earl Gibson III/Getty ImagesGospel music superstar Fred Hammond surprised the Essence Fest crowd last week when he came out during Snoop Dogg's performance set on Friday.

Hammond tells ABC Radio his appearance -- which was easily the highlight of that night -- had been in the works for a while.

"It started with the record," Hammond says, referring to his song on Snoop's Bible of Love album called "Call Him." "He called and said, 'Man you know I'd like for you to be on my record. I'm doing a gospel album.'"

According to the Grammy-Award winner, their first interaction-- which happened about eight years ago at the BET Awards -- eventually led them to work on something more official.

"He wanted to get me at the Super Bowl-- [but I] couldn't make it," Hammond remembers. "He said, 'Would you come on out at Essence?' I said, 'I'll make time to be there.'"

And of course, Hammond kept his word-- stunning the sold out crowd. Now, having a closer relationship to the rapper, the singer says Snoop is actually the real deal.

"It is not just about music with him," Hammond reveals. "It is really a soul searching event for him...He's in the middle of it trying to figure it out, but he's heading in the right direction."

In addition to working together, the two are also good friends. Hammond recalls some words of wisdom he offered the Californian gangster rapper.

"I said, 'Snoop don't let people keep you where they met you. You keep doing what you've got to do and and deal with the journey,'" Hammond says. "'It's really not about always the destination -- it's about the journey.' A lot of people are confused, but...I told him, 'Forget that, you just keep doing you.'" 

Snoop's Bible of Love is available now.

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