London bridges

I was up at the crack of dawn this morning listening to Snoop Dogg. (Tha Blue Carpet Treatment in the bee’s knees, according to moi.) These days, the only time I have to myself is in the early mornings. Your girl is busy, busy, busy. Anyway, today I used my little window of time to lounge, drink java, and mull over the latest developments with the Doggfather. It pained me to read earlier this week that Snoop is in trouble with authorities. Again. This time he’s been denied entrance to the UK over a brawl at Heathrow airport in London last year that left Snoop and five members of his entourage arrested, and seven security guards with minor injuries. The One Love Peace anti-violence tour with Diddy—a beautiful idea in theory—has been derailed by past violence. Sometimes my head hurts from it all, you know? Ay dios mio.

Like most other awake and breathing female hip-hop heads, I have mixed feelings about Snoop. On the one hand, it’s tough to deny his appeal. Dude has the smoothest flow evar, a lot of his tracks are hot, and his live shows can be crazy. Plus, there’s the nostalgia factor. He’s been around forever, and so much of his music is interwoven with memories of pivotal times in my life. I love New York more than any city in the world, but I’m a West Coast girl, and I grew up on windswept beaches with Snoop’s tracks banging out car stereos.

Still, I am a female and naturally I feel ambivalent about cosigning Snoop. And as far as I’m concerned, he can keep his pimped out, leading-women-around-on-leashes, Girls Gone Wild bullshit shtick. I’ve been at shows where he opened with messed up, lewd video promos for GGW, and I’ve seen the half-naked, insanely inebriated fourteen year-old girls loose their brains on the floor—simulating the two ever-popular drunk white chick dances: the pseudo stripper pole dance (minus the pole), and the fake lesbian liaison. Clearly a disturbing phenomenon.

And yet, I’ve never been able to bring myself to write Snoop off. I flew to L.A. to interview him a couple of years ago, and I expected to dislike him. But I found him genuine and disarmingly polite and respectful. And just plain old nice. Plus, there’s nothing I love more than seeing someone who has really gone through it come out the other side and become a giant success, and obtain all the riches the world has to offer, and turn around and give something back to the community—which he does.

But then this past year, it seemed like every time I logged on, he’d gone and got himself in more trouble. I interviewed him again this January—amidst controversy over a string of arrests and charges that his latest album glorified gang life—but all he really had to say about any of that was: “I’m at peace right now. I feel good about everything.” And then he talked about his youth football league.

I felt torn writing the story. I’ve felt that way with hip-hop so much this past year, and I don’t think I’m alone in that feeling. You adore the music, you want to defend it, to champion it, to celebrate it. You know it’s stereotyped in the press. You know rappers grew up constantly harassed by police, and are now tracked by hip-hop cops. But still. It gets a little tough to defend all the ignorance, all the blatant self-destructiveness—particularly when, as a female, so much of the music perpetually throws nastiness your way. You want to keep loving hip-hop, but sometimes it gets exhausting.

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As an aside, I thought you all would want to know that thick is the new thin. Did I mention that I adore Jennifer Hudson?

  • ROXONE

    “It pained me to read earlier this week that Snoop is in trouble with authorities”

    Wow, i certainly hope you don’t happen to somehow read anything about all these people dying in Iraq. You may be ‘deeply pained.’

    “You know rappers grew up constantly harassed by police,”

    You know, there are plenty of communities that could really use a caring social worker. Too bad the online hip-hop community is not one of them.

  • G Off

    Tara, Do you think that the hip hop press does a good job of telling the truth in situations like your interview of Snoop where you obviously felt that he wasn’t facing the truth, or do you think you are forced to find something positive so you aren’t tearing down the culture (or called a hater)?

  • 1st Down

    ^ co-sign w/ Rox on the social worker comment.

    And who the hell sits around their apartment mulling “deep thoughts” about Snoop dog of all people anyway? He uses the pimp image and disrespects women because it sells, bottom line. Snoop doesn’t give a shit about any of his fans, female or otherwise, so long as his paper is comming in he’ll disrespect women on wax until he turns blue in the face.

  • FLIP

    If you are black, thick been the old thin, but thanks for trying…

  • thoreauly77

    i understand exactly how you feel about snoop, and i can relate.i don’t think it’s as simple as “defend(ing) all the ignorance”. in fact, g off has an excellent point: when someone critiques the culture, they are labeled a hater. what about the artist being a fool? this is just a discussion after all, right? so let’s discuss honestly. admitting that snoop is a blatant misogynist on wax does not make you a hater and doesn’t make you love hip-hop any less. he’s the one that makes the music. once we hear it, it’s ours to discuss and critique/praise/throw out the car window.

  • wax

    have you read that book “female chauvinist pigs”?

  • dubzzzzz

    Damn..rading one of Tara’s posts is like watching “The Notebook”

  • EReal

    Maybe Snoop dosent feel most of his fans are female, because they’re not. Most of the people who buy his records are male, so he’s catering to that. The hiphop cops are on their job and fuckin with all the rappers lately. Look at Busta’s situation.

    This post struck me as odd Tara-Squad..

    1 hunned.

  • http://www.myspace.com/illeaglethemc Ill Eagle

    “I’ve seen the half-naked, insanely inebriated fourteen year-old girls loose their brains on the floor—simulating the two ever-popular drunk white chick dances: the pseudo stripper pole dance (minus the pole), and the fake lesbian liaison.”
    HAHAHAHAHA
    Made me think of all the techno clubs I’ve been to. Never heard the dances described so accurately. But I agree and as an artist, I try to make it a point to not disrespect women. Its a mentality thats been ingrained into males in our society, and its hard for alot of them to break it…..

  • http://www.sungmusic.blogspot.com sooch

    hip-hop creates stereotypes. a whole new world of stereotypes. and it’s mad, mad pervasive.

  • Dr Flav

    Women and ladies/bitches and hoes. There is a difference, Tara probably didnt come off as the latter, “so raise up off Snoop N U TEEZ, cause you get none of these.”

  • http://www.myspace.com/theebonystones Walter Patrick

    Off the subject but on the subject, I’ve been noticing that a lot of these young dudes have absolutely no idea how to address women at all. They trying to holla at women on the street in the same manner that some cat would write about em in a rap lyric and it just don’t shine.

    I know some of you cats is saying that “women listen to it and they be in the videos…”. Let me tell y’all something about women listening and women in videos seeing as they I have had the hilarious experience of being part of the casting crew for a garbage a** video for a garbage a** song.

    Every one is convinced in this day and age that they all have the potential to be celebrities and that any jump-off is a jump-off. Everybody! Don’t believe me? Peep the folks at wwww.exploretalent.com and see how many you feel have a future on the flickering screen video or otherwise. So what does this have to do with this article?

    The thing is that most of the casting I did for a video (where my mans was talking about giving girls “golden showers” no lie…) came off this site and almost EVERY SINGLE WOMAN had no problem with appearing in a video with the main subject was WATERSPORTS!!!

    I asked several of them why they were with it and the always came down to the idea that appearing in the video does not define who they are, songs about bitches and hoes are NEVER about them and what they hear in the songs is not to different from what they hear in the street anyway.

    My advice to some of you young dudes is to keep your thug swagger and get your gentleman game up. You win on mad levels that you cannot believe. Trust me when I tell you despite what you heard, real women like to be addressed in a respectful fashion especially if you have some swagger about you.

  • Bang

    Snoop stays out of prison. Snoop told everyone that Suge was after him. Snoop runs with cops

    Snoop talks a lot, Tara, he ain’t going to stay in any jail

  • http://www.akirathedon.com AK DONOVAN

    Man, there are some ignorant people up in here.

    Love to you Tara.

    @!

  • che

    man i had tickets for the show in manchester and this really pissed me off.

  • Randy Watson

    feel for you Che. Was planning on going to that too, but being brokeassed kinda got in the way.

  • Texas

    “ROXONE”

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah :-o hahahahaahaha

    dats tru

  • EReal

    HEY TARA SQUAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Do a post on Swollen Members already with your canadian self. Sheesh.

  • Hannah Smith

    Er, he wasn’t denied access because of the brawl – step your fact check game up, Tara-Lara!

  • Rizzop

    “particularly when, as a female, so much of the music perpetually throws nastiness your way.”

    Thats not true….there are women, and there are bitches and hoes….there is a difference. He aint never nasty to the real women.