FEATURE: Snoop Dogg: Staying Power
With a catalog longer than Scotty Pippen’s arms, saying that Snoop Dogg is an OG is an understatement. The West Coast mainstay has both grown with the game as well as helped it evolve. Having weathered the storm of a fickle industry that crucifies an artist and then praises him the next, the D-O double G has managed to stay relevant by having his hands in a laundry list of things over the years from sketch comedy shows to his own clothing line while consistently putting out hits. Now an elder statesman in hip-hop, Snoop is taking deliberate steps to take his career to the next plateau. XXLMag.com caught up with the Doggfather to talk about doing away with major labels for his latest project, why Hollywood still isn’t showing him love and his plans on becoming the next Arsenio Hall of late night. Listen up, nephew.
XXL: You’ve always been able to reinvent yourself and move with the times. Your next album, Malice In Wonderland, will be released through MTV, which is a bold move. How did that come about?
Snoop: Just watching the industry and being a part of it for the last 10 years and seeing the strengths of it, the wrongs and the rights and just wanting to attack it and put something different in the game. Do it from a different aspect. Everybody in the music industry tries to get notoriety and tries to get their videos played and what network they always want it on, MTV. What’s the way to get your record talked about? MTV. What’s the way to get seen and heard? MTV. So I was trying to figure out how I could cut the middle man out and deal with them personally and not have a record label dictate to me what they thought but me dictate to the industry on what I think. And now this is going to be the brand new way of doing business. But if it don’t go my way, it’s no way.
XXL: With that being said, what are the pluses and minuses of doing it through MTV as opposed to a traditional label?
Snoop: Well the negative is, I don’t know yet [laughs]. But the plus is, it’s a different relationship. These are people who are enthused and down with Snoop Dogg and are in love with the fact of doing business with Snoop Dogg. Anytime that you step into another realm, it tends to come with more respect. Record labels tend to be like, and I’m gonna say this and mean it, ‘Fuck Snoop Dogg. There’ll be another you tomorrow.’ There has always been artists that come and go but MTV feels like I can possibly take their network to the next level. And it can take my career to the next level because I have different ideas that can help out their network with different avenues of visibility that’s gonna help me get off what I’m trying to get off. So it’s a great teamwork thing that we bout to put down for y'all.
XXL: You’re a veteran in the game but your music still sounds young and you still take chances. You’ve got the money, the fame and everything so what pushes you these days to still make music?
Snoop: This is my natural calling. Music is my first love and I have kids now and I deal with a lot of kids. When you got kids and you walk by their bedroom and hear them playing music and you’re a musician and they’re not playing your shit, it’s kind of nerve racking [laughs]. But at the same time it makes me more aware of what’s hot and what’s not. I like to either get with the times or either create a brand new time. And I’m not one to follow so if my kids are playing what’s hot, I try to figure out what it is about that that’s hot and try to stay in their wavelength to where they won’t feel like their dad is dated. You know, it’s hard trying to impress your kids but when I get them liking my shit it’s like everybody’s gonna like it. That’s like my advantage over everybody else, I deal with a lot of kids. And a lot of artists don’t deal with kids so they don’t know that the basic fan is the kids. So they busy trying to make a record for the ladies and the adults but they not knowing that if you get the kids, you get everybody.
XXL: Speaking of kids, I know you got your show Snoop Dogg’s Fatherhood and now you’re doing Dogg After Dark. What is it about TV that makes you keep going back to the small screen?
Snoop: It’s because the big screen doesn’t respect me yet. The big screen would rather use me in a $100 million movie and give me $500 dollars and I’m playing a role that could steal the whole movie but… I don’t understand the big screen world right now so I’m gonna go where they love me at. The small screen loves me. Let’s me have my room, my comfort zone and it’s a chance for me to just do me with no restrictions, you know what I’m saying ? When I’m doing the family show, I’m having a great time. When I’m doing Dogg After Dark, I’m having a great time. Just trying to show Hollywood what they get when they get Snoop Dogg so hopefully I will be getting those big screen opportunities and looks down the road by showing that I can handle it now.
XXL: I’ve seen some people on Dogg After Dark that you might not have expected to see on the show, like Paris Hilton. Do you hand pick the guests yourself…
Snoop: I’ve always said it like this, Puff Daddy has always been the king of throwing parties, but Snoop Dogg has always been the life of the party. I wanted to do a show where I could bring that out and at the same time deal with people that people don’t think I have relationships with. I’m well received by all walks and genres of entertainment. So most of the people you see on the show, 99% of them are my friends. So when the call goes out that Snoop wants you on the show, it’s not like the network wants you on, its like ‘oh, that’s my boy. Let me see what he wants to do.’ So it's cool, it’s comfortable. It's not like doing a talk show and you go on and a motherfucker asks you questions to trap you or get you in trouble. It’s all about love and happiness and pretty girls and chicken wings and barbecue and a good motherfucking time.
XXL: So with you being an artist and other artist relating to you, is this something you wanna do long term because they relate to you better?
Snoop: I feel like I’m the best thing for TV right now when it comes to late night. Remember when Arsenio Hall came out and fucked everybody up cause he had the hottest shit on TV? White, black, no matter who you was, he was just the shit because he knew how to hold a conversation and knew how to make the guests feel comfortable. He had the greatest to the smallest to the legends to the unheard of. That to me is where I’m going. I’m taking it to a place where Arsenio couldn’t take it.
XXL: Ok. Lastly, I know you got a clothing line, a line of headphones and a few other things in the works. What else do you have going on fam?
Snoop: Yea, I got my football league, Snoop Football League that’s been going on for four years where I take care of 3,500 kids in the inner city and give them a chance to play football and cheerlead and just do something positive with themselves. My clothing line is called Rich and Infamous that I been promoting and pushing for the past year. It’s not about having to spend a lot of money to look good, it’s about looking good for only a little bit of money. That’s how I do. Plus I got Landy alcohol, which is the XO company that I’m coming out with. That’s going to be the finest, most excellent alcohol that you’ve ever wanted to taste. Say goodbye to Hennessy and all them other drinks, it’s all about Landy. – Anthony Roberts