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.
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?