Photos By: Ed Hannigan
View all of Ed’s Snoop Dogg photos here.
If you’re not a fan of Snoop Dogg, you truly lack any sense of taste, musical knowledge, or history. Trust me, I know these things; I’m the editor of a magazine. Personally, I’m a long-time fan of Snoop (so is my mother).
Doggystyle was the very first album (tape, actually) that I ever owned. One of the kids in my 4th grade class gave it to me after his mother caught him listening to it, and informed him that his taste in uber-classic West Coast Gangsta shit was inappropriate for a 10-year-old. But was it? At 9-and-a-half years old, I didn’t think so! I would sit in my room for hours listening to Snoop’s first solo record. I often went to bed listening to the tape. I used to fast-forward past “Lodi Dodi,” because it wasn’t a very good song, and “Serial Killer” because it scared me; after all, I was only 9. I’d even go as far as to say that Doggystyle helped shape me into the distinguished young man that I am today.
One day, like and idiot, I managed to get my copy of the tape confiscated. My mom and I had been driving home from summer camp when I suddenly asked, “Mom, what does ‘nigga’ mean?”
I had never heard that particular word before (before Doggystyle that is), and was genuinely confused about its meaning. A look of absolute disgust and horror overtook my mother’s face as she slammed on the breaks and yelled, “Where did you learn that word?!?! At Camp?!?!”
“No,” I replied, “I heard Snoop say it… numerous times.”
“Snoopy? The Peanuts character? That doesn’t make any sense!”
“No! Snoop Dogg!”
“Who’s Snoop Dogg?”
“The best rapper ever!”
When we got home, I showed her the tape. Remember the cartoon/comic strip that made up the cover art for Doggystyle? It chronicled a typical day in the life of my Uncle Snoop, that involved getting high on Hocus Pocus (stress, cess, or ‘bad weed’), brandishing several handguns at neighbors (everyone in the comic was depicted as half dog, half man, mind you) and ended with Snoop getting it on with a bitch (literally, a female dog… or half woman, half dog) from the back. Well… When my mother saw all of that, she was horrified. Non-sequitur: What the fuck was up with MC Hammer’s “Pumps and a Bump?” Anyone remember that? That was WAY more horrifying!
Anyhow, she took the tape… and started listening to it herself. A few days later, we were driving in the car, and I decided to turn on the radio; Doggystyle came blaring out of the speakers. Yes… I caught my hypocritical mother listening to Snoop Dogg. She gave me an embarrassed look and said, “You were right, he is the best rapper ever.” She gave me back the tape, and the rest is history.
About Snoop’s Club Nokia appearance… Unfortunately, Ice Cube, The Game and Kanye West are in a three-way tie for my personal best rapper ever award (bumping my Uncle Snoop Dogg down to 4th place just above Dr. Dre), but Snoop is hands-down THE best celebrity and performer I’ve ever seen! Again, if you don’t agree, you have no A&R skills (smiles).
I’m was feeling a little burned out this week, so when Snoop opened with “The Shiznit” with Tha Dogg Pound’s Daz and Kurupt as hype men, I nearly shat my pants with jubilant glee. Snoop strolled onto the stage wearing what can only be described as a ‘gang-flag jump suit’ (see pics), and brought the house down for a full two hours. After “Shiznit,” he immediately ripped into “Gin and Juice,” and from there The Dogg Pound broke into “Cali Iz Active.” The rest of the set was an awesometasticgansterfied blur (is that even a word?)
Snoop, and a gang of celebrity guest stars, including Daz, Kurupt, Xzibit, Lady of Rage, RBX, Butch Cassidy, and Too Short performed an eclectic set made up of songs from Doggystyle, Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, DPG’s Cali Iz Active, R&G, Ego Trippin’, Tha Chronic 1 & 2, and various ‘guest star’ singles. Snoop skipped all the unknown stuff from his No Limit/Priority catalog, and it was the perfect set! No offense to EMI, I’m sure going forward, all of Snoop’s releases will continue to be gems. Seriously, Snoop is hot! He may have had a minor 10-year lull from 1996-2006 (excluding his 1999 performance on Chronic 2001), but nowadays, everything Snoop touches turns to gold (or platinum). Every solo album from Tha Blue Carpet Treatment until now, and any single Snoop lends guest vocals to is an instant classic – career-wise, Snoop’s on fire!
Snoop also performed two songs from the upcoming Malice In Wonderland, his first release under his new tenure with EMI/Capitol/Priority (do I have that right?). In addition to being a flagship artist, Snoop is also Priority’s creative director, and with this position may just bring back the West Coast for a third time (the second was when The Game released The Documentary).
I’m a full-fledged believer in Snoop Dogg, a hip-hop legend that’s more musically diverse than Cypress Hill, and more fun to watch than Richard Prior. My recommendation is to not only buy Malice N’ Wonderland when it comes out, but also to catch Snoop live, as he gives any live rock or rap group a run for their money. Uncle Snoopy, I give you an A+ for Thursday’s performance!
Other Highlights: Up-and-coming rapper Diamond Lane played a few songs, including the ultra-West Coast anthem, “I Wanna Get Fucked Up,” before DJ Quick took the stage. Quick hasn’t lost a step in his old age, and got the crowd riled up with his large back catalog of classic West Coast anthems.
The only West Coast celebrities that didn’t make an appearance were Cube, Dre, and The Game.
Essential Snoop Dogg Albums:
Tha Chronic (Dr. Dre)
Chronic 2001 (Dr. Dre)
Cali Iz Active (Tha Dogg Pound/DPGC)
Tha Blue Carpet Treatment
Death Row: The Lost Sessions Vol. 1
Malice N’ Wonderland