From The Archvies: Snoop Dogg, “The Coolest” [Originally Published April 2008]

Snoop

With today being 4-20, XXL decided to look back to out April 2008 story with the biggest smoke of them all, Snoop Dogg.

It’s two days before Christmas, and Snoop Dogg is the em- bodiment of holiday cheer. Or, judging from the three blunt roaches nestling in the ashtray on his coffee table, some sort of other cheer. Whatever the reason, Cordozar Calvin Broadus Jr., 36, is in a very good mood. Sports might have something to do with it, too. His beloved Pittsburgh Steelers just clinched the AFC North, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the New York Knicks this morning and, most importantly, yesterday his youngest son Cordell’s football team won the Southern California state championship.

On this typically sunny Sunday afternoon (remember, it never rains here), Snoop is holed up in a Hollywood apartment dubbed the Doggy Den. He’s loafing around, watching football in a soccer jersey, sweatpants, fleece slippers and white socks. His cornrows are tied tight, with a slight flicker of gray in one. He’s even skinnier than he appears on TV—he’s built like a praying mantis.

The decor of the Doggy Den seems to have been chosen by its owner. The walls are covered with a doz- en self-portraits (gangster Snoop, pimp Snoop, friendly Snoop…), the only other one a memorial painting of Tupac Shakur. A big bowl of candy takes up a large portion of the coffee table’s surface, next to a tall stack of coffee-table books. An MTV Video Music Award sits neglected on a corner shelf. The trophy itself is almost an afterthought in a career that spans more than 15 years and includes eight solo albums (represent- ing more than 16 million in sales), dozens of movie and TV roles (including his new reality show, “Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood”) and countless endorsement deals (care for a Snoop De Grill, anyone?). He is certainly the only former crack-dealing Long Beach Crip to ever co- star in a commercial with Lee Iacocca and make repeated appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

Such mainstream success, however, hasn’t turned Snoop into a Boy Scout. In fall 2006, he was arrested three times in three months: at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana for weapons possession (a collaps- ible baton), at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank for marijuana and weap- ons possession and on the way home from performing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for marijuana, cocaine and weapons possession. A few months before that he was barred from flying British Airways after a melee at London’s Heathrow Airport, and he was later forced to scrap a U.K. tour with Puff Daddy after being denied a British visa. He was sub- sequently banned from Australia after “failing a character test.”

Despite the legal problems, though, Snoop is still one of hip-hop’s great hitmakers. Think “Beautiful,” “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” “Signs,” “That’s That Shit.” And that’s just culling from the last five years (thus, post–Death Row, post–No Limit). His latest: “Sensual Seduction.” The catch: Not only does Snoop sing the bulk of the tune, he does so through a vocoder, the same robotic voice manipulator used by Roger Troutman, Peter Frampton and, more recently, T-Pain. “Seduction” is the lead single from Snoop’s new Geffen Records album, Ego Trippin’, which, judging from the guest list (R. Kelly, Janet Jackson and Ne-Yo), is decidedly more rhythm than gangster.

Today, before going to pick up his kids, Snoop will light up a blunt and watch the Patriots beat the Dolphins. While doing so, he’ll can- didly discuss his new musical direction, his TV show and his lega- cy as an MC. He’ll open up about his relationship with Tupac and Death Row founder Suge Knight. He’ll talk about his legal troubles and about straddling the line between the streets and the mainstream. One subject he won’t expand on, though, is national politics—specifically President George W. Bush. “I can’t say nothing about him, man,”he says sternly. “I’ll be in jail tomorrow if I say something bad about him. My gig is not politics.”
What Snoop’s gig is, of course, is celebrating the finer things in life: women, weed, football and music. So he does identify with a cer- tain saxophone-blowing, blue-dress-staining former commander in chief. “My favorite is Bill Clinton,” he says. “He was the best. When he was president, shit was live. Even when Jimmy Carter was president, shit was live. Carter and Clinton. Two C’s. My guys.”

Snoop then takes an impressively protracted toke. He holds it in. Holds it. And finally blows a thick billow of smoke out of his mouth and nose. Leaving little doubt that he inhaled.