Snoop, There It Is
One writer argues that it’s still a Doggy Dogg World
Whenever Michael Jackson is charged with touching little boys in their private areas, I’m reminded of that fly white suit and baby tiger from Thriller. I close my eyes and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” starts playing on repeat, and it’s then when I can overlook the King of Pop’s Peter Pan infatuation.
No, it’s not right, but Thriller is the shit in a way that few records are. Although he has never been accused of inviting prepubescent boys into his bedroom, I get a similar feeling when talking about Snoop Dogg.
My nerdy Snoop fandom stems from an unhealthy love of his 1993 debut, Doggystyle. In fact, I doubt there’s any 29-year-old glasses-wearing white guy who can recite that record as well as I can. And I don’t mean just the hits; I’m talking the entire goddamn thing. Yeah, “Gin and Juice,” “Murder Was the Case” and “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” are bona-fide hip-hop classics, but for me, the record really gets going in the final four tracks: “Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None),” “Doggy Dogg World,” “Gz and Hustlas” and “Pump Pump.” You should see the looks I get when my drunk ass gets on the mic at karaoke and rips whatever Doggystyle tracks the jock might have. And do not get me started on what I look like when I’m 30 minutes deep on the treadmill bobbing my head to Dr. Dre’s sick beats on “Tha Shiznit.”
Unfortunately for Mr. Dogg, there’s only one way to go when your debut record is absolutely flawless. Tha Doggfather—the Dre-less follow-up to Doggystyle—has its moments and is a solid listen when not compared to the greatest hip-hop record of all time. But from there, Snoop’s discography gets sketchy. I might not love everything Snoop does, but I’ll check something out before passing any judgment. More times than not, there’s at least a handful of tracks that send me into a beeline for my lighter and dancing shoes, and there’s no higher compliment I can pay to a musician than that.
Friends ask what I make of his reality show, Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood. They want me to say it’s a hunk of shit, but I won’t do that. For starters, all reality shows by definition are hunks of shit, so we can’t fault him there. Secondly, thanks to Snoop, I can spot stoners when I see them. Like gay people with gaydar, I’ve got weedar, and if this program weren’t on the E! channel, I suspect we’d see a bit more of what goes in that secret shed of his. Maybe it’s the “he did Doggystyle so he can do no wrong” mentality, but I enjoy the program enough to say I don’t feel like I wasted a half-hour when it’s over.
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My memory’s not what it was before I started listening to Snoop, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him live three times. The first was at a Power 106 Cinco de Mayo show at the Shrine Auditorium in 1997. My friend and I, the only white kids in the 6,000-plus venue, got close enough to see the crinkled lines on the stern faces of the ready-to-kick-some-ass security onstage. The second was in Anaheim for 2000’s “Up In Smoke Tour,” when the white teenager behind me kept yelling, “You go nigga” at every performer, completely clueless to the fact that: a) we were in the nosebleeds, and b) he was white.
The third was at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in June. Snoop opened for 311, and the show was banging. The D-o-double-g hit the stage, and the smokes came out before you could say “puff-puff-pass.” With a drummer, percussionist, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist, DJ, tha Dogg Pound (Daz and Kurupt) and Soopafly behind him, tha Doggfather launched into an hourlong set made up of Doggystyle cuts, a mishmash of singles such as “Sexual Eruption” and “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” and verses he did on other artists’ records.
Midset, Snoop took a moment of silence for a small chronic break, and for the remainder of the show, there was no war in Iraq, no struggling economy and no annoying presidential election. In its place was a silky-smooth flow and people—white, black, Asian, Hispanic, maybe some Eskimos—waving their hands in the air like they just didn’t care. Because for a few short minutes, they didn’t.
Snoop Dogg performs with Warren G and the Twins at the Glass House, 200 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 865-3802; www.theglasshouse.com. Fri., 7 p.m. $50. All ages.