BY RYAN RITCHIE
Last Night: Snoop Dogg at the Glass House in Pomona, Dec. 26, 2008.
Wanna know if you're old? Go see Snoop Dogg and ask yourself which category of fans you fall in to. You're either in a) the group of shaggy-haired teenagers who wouldn't mind if he played "Sensual Seduction" twice, or b) the group of 30-somethings who've been listening to tha Doggfather since his "Deep Cover" debut and want nothing more than to hear that song, a few verses from Dr. Dre's "The Chronic" and all of "Doggystyle" front to back.
I fall into the latter. Not that I mind Snoop's later work, but I can't lie and say I wasn't hoping to hear all 12 tracks from the 1993 disc. But what I--along with a slew of younger people--got was a set that catered to both types, which left everyone feeling like they heard enough hits from all eras to walk away satisfied. Or was that the incessant cloud of happy smoke hovering about since opening act the Twins took the stage? Whatever the case, heads bopped, booties shook, hands waved in the air like they just didn't care and lighters were raised. In hip-hop, that's called a success.
Standing in line, I wondered what I was doing in Pomona. The temperature read 39 degrees and there isn't much to get me out of the house when it's that cold. Plus, I had just spent two days in Las Vegas escaping Christmas (which, by the way, I did) and would have loved nothing more than a night in with my pajamas and my cats. "But it's the S-N-doubleO-P," I told myself. After not much deliberation, I decided the perfect way to end my anti-Christmas was with Long Beach's most famous emcee. I knew the right decision had been made after reading the lineup: the aforementioned Twins, the Lady of Rage (who did in fact rock rough 'n stuff with just one Afro puff), tha Dogg Pound (Daz and Kurupt), Warren G and Snoop. Approaching the front door and seeing that piece of paper with all those names on one bill made me feel like I was going through some sort of trippy acid flashback to my mid-'90s high school days, except I've never dropped acid. But it was something like that.
Like I said, I'm old and hadn't been to the Glass House in years, but I didn't remember that much police presence when I used to see indie bands. Maybe that's changed. I don't know. What I do know is the woman with the metal detector told me the person before me in line "reeked of weed." Stepping through that doorway from front room to main entrance, I was hit with such a strong stench I thought I was at a Grateful Dead show.
The Twins were solid openers, but I, like much of the crowd, didn't know their music as well as we should have. My fault. Not theirs. Rage was next. I know lots of people in hip-hop are still weary of female emcees, but the Lady of Rage is not someone I'd want to battle. Straight up, she can flow. She fought through a malfunctioning mic on the live debut of "Unfuckwitable" and did a new song about a woman finding out her man cheated. The rhymes were nice, but the twist at the end made the song and I don't want to give that part away.
Tha Dogg Pound came out for the end of Rage's time and segued into their set. This duo has always got me: Both emcees are tight as individuals and I can't see why their work together isn't more popular. But what do I know? I'm a nerdy white guy with glasses.
Warren G began his set with "This D.J." Opening with a hit is always a good idea, except when the crowd knows only one of your songs and this wasn't it. Note to Warren G: Your flow is tight, your production skills killer. That crowd didn't know your songs, but I did. You were good.
The solo snafu of Warren's set was when he told the crowd that taking a sobriety break was a good idea. I agree, but once again, I'm old. The rest of the audience gave him a weird response, kinda like, "what did this guy just tell us, pot smoking Snoop Dogg fans?" But when that hit is in your back pocket, you can win back a crowd. The opening notes of "Regulate" got things back on track.
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After the unveiling of a banner that read "Tales from the Crip," we thought we were getting Snoop. Instead, Suga Free performed for what felt like a half hour. Other than the fact that no one could hear Suga Free's voice as it came from his mouth (in its place was a pre-recorded vocal that was much too loud), the set was fun but kinda long considering we were pumped for Snoop and didn't even know Suga Free was playing.
I won't go into how much I dig Snoop. You should already know all about that. Opening with his verse from "The Next Episode," us old farts got what we wanted once "Tha Shiznit" hit. From there we got "Drop It Like It's Hot," "Gin and Juice," "Snoop's Upside Ya Head" and verses from "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang," "I Wanna Fuck You" and "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted." The latter came off the heels of a Tupac tribute which featured a few verses and choruses from the late rapper.
My two favorite non-musical aspects of Snoop's show were the guy on stage waiving a still-in-the-box Snoop Dogg doll and a jacket worn by Archbishop Don "Magic" Juan. The world's most loveable pimp was rocking a green and yellow suit with an airbrushed picture of himself on it. Do yourself a favor and Google this.
Regardless of what song he was playing, Snoop was energetic and showed he can still rock a mic like no other. But maybe next time he'll play "Gz and Hustlas."