Blunts aren’t the only thing Snoop Dogg is sparking these days. Lately, the rapper has been blazing headlines across the Atlantic; his recent entourage melee got him banned from flying British Airways indefinitely and he was picked up yesterday outside the airport in Burbank for allegedly having weed and a gun. Meanwhile, charges stemming from his alleged attempt at hiding a 21-inch collapsible baton in his laptop case at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City are still up in the air. So what’s really up with the West Coast legend, besides the media pot shots? (No pun intended) With his upcoming album, The Blue Carpet Treatment, scheduled for a November 21 release, Snoop Dogg discusses stepping up his lyrical game, uniting the West Coast and convincing his fans that he is really a gangster with a heart of gold.
Snoop Dogg feat. The Game “Gang Bangin’ 101″
Which number album is this for you?
Shit, I ain’t even been counting. I don’t know. I think it’s over six, under ten. The concept of this record is guerilla. It’s mean and it’s back to the streets again, so I gotta make sure that everything is in that same avenue. And what don’t make this record will be in my movie A Woman’s Touch. I wanted to do something where the women can get a piece of me, giving them something they can feel proud of and cool with watching and seeing and talking about, because I’ve always been so hard on women since I came in the game.
Some of your tracks showcase a more lyrical style than we’ve heard before. Were you consciously trying to address concerns that you weren’t getting particularly lyrical in the past?
Realistically, I had a talk with my oldest son, and one day we was talking about who his favorite rapper was, and he named off Cassidy. And I was askin’ him, “Why you think Cassidy is dope?” And he was like, “’Cause, he got flow.” And I was like, “What about me?” And he was like, “You cool, you make cool songs, but you don’t be, like, flowin’ like no MC.” So that was basically for my baby boy to show him that I could do the damn thing too.
Tell us how the idea behind “Vato” came up.
That concept is just, you know, me keeping it gangsta and doing some gangsta shit. And one of my ese buddies just so happened to see it, and he went back and told all of the ese homies what he seen. And it’s just, you know, me bringing the Brown together, because, you know, the Black and the Brown, we really don’t see eye-to-eye, in the penitentiary and in the streets. It’s a form of me showing that we can get along and we can see eye-to-eye, if we just put the best foot forward. You can’t have the West Coast without Mexicans, ‘cause Mexicans make up 60% of the West Coast. And they our brothers, and they Brown, and they our peoples. Muthafuckas got us brainwashed right now, thinking we supposed to be squabblin’, but we supposed to be ridin’ and rippin’ and robbin’. But it’ll be all good once I finish doing what I’m doing, ‘cause I’m a politician on a mission.
Tell us about “Gang Bangin’ 101” with The Game, because people not from California might not really understand the gang culture.
I just wanted to make a record with him that would be the biggest, most talked-about record that we could come up with. He played something for me to get on his record and I was like, Damn, I gotta make something for my record with me and him on it that symbolizes something, since I have yet to do a song with him on my record or his record. I just wanted to touch bases on some real shit, considering that he’s a Blood and everybody know that. And everybody know that I’m King Crip’n under Tookie Williams, so it was only right for us to put a song together. I chose to call it “Gang Bangin’ 101” so you can get an introduction on how real this shit is on the West and how two real niggas is coming together to unite and try to just put our positive calls out there. Show ’em that gang bangin’ ain’t all violent all the time, and that we can come together and make money and make music and do other things besides kill each other and bang on each other.
What about this producer, Niggaracci, that hooked this track up?
Oh, that’s my alter ego. I like to put it in third-party-pimpin’. A lot of times, people don’t understand how talented we are. And if we always put our name on shit, you get brainwashed to feel like, “He didn’t really do that.” So, I just came up with a name between Liberace and a real nigga. That’s me, Niggaracci, I’m just a producer extraordinaire that’s on the low key, that really ain’t out for the fame. Basically, when I make a track under Niggaracci, it’s because it’s for one of my real niggas. Niggaracci beats cost $300 a beat.
That’s the ‘hood price?
That’s the going rate, but after this interview come out, I might have to add a couple more 0s.
Another track “Candy” is produced by Rick Rock and features E-40. Did you reach out to them cats because of the popularity of the hyphy movement up north?
I been working with Rick Rock, he been doing tracks for me ever since the Eastsidaz first record. I been fuckin’ with the Bay before the hyphy movement. So I’m glad that it’s actually getting looked at for what it is, as far as not just being a town that don’t know how to put music together. Now people respecting them for having the movement and making good music, and being able to stand the test of time. ‘Cause all you thought of was just Too $hort back in the day. They don’t know nothing about the 415, 40 Fonzarelli and The Click, and Brotha Lynch Hung, and all the brothers that put it down for the Bay Area, the whole entire Bay. The Rappin’ 4-Tays and the Askari X, Mac Mall, Mac Dre. Niggas don’t know about that because they thinking E-40’s brand new, because he got a hot song out. They not knowing that E-40 is a legendary MC in the game, right up under Too $hort in terms of putting out the game and hit record after hit record, seven independent records. A lot of time, the game be fucked up because they only get what they get. Now they finally paying attention to California in general, Northern California, Southern California, San Diego, the whole nine. So it’s cool that we all coming together. I’m putting together a tour for the beginning of next year, which is my tour I did last year with Game called “How The West Was Won” tour, we doin’ it again this year. It’ll be me, Too $hort, E-40, Ice Cube, Dogg Pound and B-Real. We takin’ up January/February.
People give LA flack for taking hip-hop from political to gangster. Now, after almost 15 years, gangster rappers such as yourself and Ice Cube are coming out with albums that directly address political issues and government issues. Why is this the right time to do what you’re doing?
Because now is the time. I got power, I got the ball in my hand. West Coast gangstas that had the power before me abused it. They took advantage of it and they scared people. They created violence and they created havoc. I just wanted to do it differently. I don’t do it like they do it. My gangsta is being peaceful and getting rid of the violence, because everybody can start it. It’s those that can end it that get more respect from me. I love the peacemakers in the war; the ones who was strong enough to get a war kicked off, but was smart enough to end the war. Because when we go to war, we lose lives, whether it’s a street war or an oil war, lives are lost because everybody has the same mentality in a war, “Fuck you” and “I’m all out with it.” I know the LA mentality is like that, and I know that we just one conversation away from being peace. So I decided to step up and say I’ma be the first one to do it, because I been surrounded with so much negativity, mashin’ niggas and fuckin’ niggas up, why don’t I take a step back and say it’s cool to be peace? Once I do it, my following is so strong, people will follow. Now you got the OGs that been doing it before me, like Ice Cube and others, that’s following right on suit. It’s looking like a real movement out here because nobody’s trippin’ on the West Coast. We don’t have beef with each other no more. So if you plan on coming to the West Coast, you better get your mind and your body right, because we ain’t trippin’ on nobody that’s from the West. It’s just, you get your shit together before you come out here, thinkin’ you gon’ do videos, fuck our bitches, swim in our beaches, and play in our sand. It’s not gon’ happen anymore. We want ours back with interest.